Jun 29, 2023 | Advancement , Grants , Featured

Columbia State Receives United Way Funding to Establish Charger Child Care Program

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Columbia State Community College received a Transformational Funding grant from the United Way of Greater Nashville as well as funding from United Way of Maury County to create the Charger Child Care Program.

“We are very grateful for the United Way of Greater Nashville to offer this funding, which will truly transform the lives of these students and their families,” said Patrick McElhiney, Columbia State development officer and director of grants.

The funding for the grant comes from the United Way of Greater Nashville, provided through a donation by Mackenzie Scott. UWGN is using this Transformational Funding to prioritize high quality and affordable child care, early literacy and grade-level reading and workforce development. Beneficiaries of this funding must be residents in counties included in the UWGN footprint and Columbia State’s service area, therefore Hickman County and Williamson County. However, recently the United Way of Maury County agreed to provide funding to expand the program to support student-parents residing in Maury County as well.

The grant, consisting of $150,000, will be used to launch the Charger Child Care Program. This consists of subsidies to assist Columbia State student-parents with out-of-pocket expenses for child care. In the future, the hopes are that additional funding will be secured to expand the program into other counties in Columbia State’s service area.

“Student-parents have reported that child care cost is a major barrier to their opportunity to stay enrolled in higher education,” said Dr. Christa Martin, Columbia State executive director of access and inclusion. “It is unaffordable and sometimes not available, or the agencies have long wait lists for entry. Columbia State recognized this barrier and has initiated this new program with funding from United Way of Greater Nashville to provide financial assistance to our student-parents that qualify for the program.” 

The Charger Child Care program is administered through the Office of Access and Inclusion. Because Columbia State does not have an on-campus child care facility, the program provides subsidies to minimize out-of-pocket child care expenses for student-parents. Subsidies are calculated as a percentage of the fee for which the student-parent is responsible, after all other sources of aid are applied (social services, provider-sponsored discounts, etc.), on a sliding fee scale based on income level. Subsidies are paid directly to the licensed child care center.

“United Way of Maury County is thrilled to be partnering with Columbia State to make the Charger Child Care Program a reality here in our community,” said Laura Truelove, United Way of Maury County executive director. “UWMC is proud to support this initiative and help students fulfill their dreams of furthering their education.”

Columbia State student-parents residing in Hickman, Williamson, or Maury counties with child care cost hardships are encouraged to reach out to Cheryl Secrest, Columbia State Charger Child Care program coordinator, at csecrest3@ColumbiaState.edu to discuss their needs and the application process. Potential students with child care expenses that are an obstacle to enrolling are also encouraged to contact Secrest.

For more information on the Mackenzie Scott United Way of Greater Nashville Transformational Funding, visit https://www.unitedwaygreaternashville.org/mackenzie-Scott-gift/-Scott-gift. For more information about United Way of Maury County, visit www.unitedwayofmaurycounty.com.