The Buell Foundation understands that our communities are facing significant challenges associated with this uncertain and unprecedented time – the pandemic and the racial inequities across the country and in our own backyard cannot be ignored.
The stress felt by families and the economy as a whole have brought forward a keen awareness of the importance of early childhood learning and development. This sector has been fragmented and stressed in the best of times, and now we are now seeing all of the issues we’ve been battling for years magnified. As a society, we are seeing how difficult it is for families to move forward without consistent, quality child care for their children. At the Foundation, we are seeing our partners struggle with the decisions that they need to make to in order to serve children, support their workforce or maintain financial viability. It is our goal to find flexible ways to continue to support them at this critical time.
Over the past year, the Buell Foundation awarded nearly $22 million in grants to more than 360 unique Colorado nonprofit partners, awarding 65% of grants to rural or statewide partners outside of the Denver metro region. In addition to our general grantmaking cycles, our staff worked on several special projects including initiatives that provided financial support related to pandemic needs directly to 145 child care centers, totaling approximately $1 million in grants. Additionally, we provided $500,000 in support to the Governor’s COVID-19 Relief Fund and $250,000 to the Emergency Child Care Collaborative Fund.
Moving forward, the Buell Foundation will continue to be steadfast in our commitment to early childhood development and learning. We will continue to prioritize funding for those furthest from services and most in need. We believe that all children should have access to safe, quality, affordable services, and we work to help break down barriers so that the members of our Colorado community have the services that they need in order for their children and their families to thrive.
We know that great work happens in our local communities, and we acknowledge the great wisdom that exists in these diverse regions of our state. We believe that in order to serve children and families best, we need a system that works for them. One strategy that demonstrates this belief is our ongoing support of the network of early childhood councils across the state. These agencies exist to create effective and efficient early childhood systems in their own counties and to use their learning and engagement to inform changes at the state level. We recently commissioned a paper sharing the history and impact of these councils. We are proud to call early childhood councils our partners. To read this paper, please visit Boots on the Ground: Advancing the Shared Vision for Colorado’s Children.
At the Buell Foundation, our team works to support the nonprofits in Colorado doing the hard work related to early childhood education and teen pregnancy prevention. Today, more than ever, we thank all of our partners for their efforts. It is because of them that communities will be able to get through and recover from this time. The real heroes are those nonprofits.
Dan Ritchie, Board Chair
Dr. Reggie Washington, Vice-Chair / Chair Elect
Susan Steele, President and CEO