By Mark Holloway, SVP Partner
During these challenging times, it is neighbor helping neighbor that uplifts our spirits and makes Oregon communities stronger. A group of Partners from SVP Portland, working in collaboration with early childhood advocates, has done just that, helping Oregon’s struggling child care providers with the creation of the Oregon Child Care Provider Relief Guide.
The child care system has survived for decades on ultra-thin profit margins. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted both the need for childcare and the economic struggle providers are facing across the nation. The loss of revenue paired with confusion about what emergency assistance is available and how to access it threatens the child care providers’ ability to reopen their doors when families must go back to work. And without adequate child care, our businesses and economy cannot resume.
SVP Portland and our nonprofit partners have been working for years with Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson to provide Preschool for All for kids in Multnomah County. Achieving that goal means ensuring that there is sufficient funding and capacity to serve all children and families in need. The term “child care” includes preschool and prekindergarten, as well as infant and toddler care. So when new data indicated that 66% of providers won’t survive longer than a month without tuition revenue or emergency assistance, Multnomah County’s Preschool for All coalition responded.
The Relief Guide was quickly established to help business owners access the latest resources and a peer coach. Child care business owners themselves guided the design of this support with the help of a design “sprint” by The Goodness Collaborative, a local consulting group that provided more than 100 hours of pro bono support. Within one week of hearing of the need, the Relief Guide was open for business.
Through funding provided by The Kelley Family Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation, and The Ford Family Foundation, four peer coaches from around the state have been deployed to provide front-line assistance. Along with myself, a team of SVP Partners played key roles in design and coordination of the Relief Guide, creation of the website (Sandy Grubb), and design consultation (Val Ilsley and Diane McCartney).
“We are very excited that our experience in business and banking and networking allowed us to provide insights that were valuable to the designers of this critically-needed Relief Guide,” said Diane and Val in a joint statement.
Going forward, volunteers may be needed to assist child care owners with their business decisions and requests for assistance beyond what Relief Guide coaches have time and ability to manage. If you or someone you know has business expertise (e.g., financial, human resources, fund development) that can help our child care industry survive, please sign up to volunteer at orproviderrelief.org