The Vermont Community Loan Fund has loaned over $7 million to more than 100 child care programs throughout Vermont in the last 13 years.
A recent study shows a direct correlation between VCLF funding and improvements in child care quality.
Bolstered by the results of that study, VCLF is launching a new initiative. The Next Generation Fund will finance projects such as the creation of new child care centers, expanding existing centers, and making program quality improvements.
Hope Campbell is VCLF’s Director of Child Care Programs. She says the new loan fund will offer lower rates to borrowing child care providers.
"We’re hoping to get low interest money so we can actually lend out at lower rates to child care facilities throughout the state," Campbell said.
Campbell says the lower rates are important because child care facilities are market-driven businesses. However, she says, the market can’t really afford what it costs to provide the service.
She says the low-interest loans will enable a higher cash-flow, helping child care providers keep their rates down for Vermont’s working families.
Tracy Patnoe, director of Mud City Kids in Morrisville says without VCLF, she wouldn’t have been able to make the leap from providing home-based care for six children to opening a child care center.
"The Community Loan Fund made it possible for us to open the licensed center. I was a registered home provider for 7 ½ years prior to opening the center," Patnoe said.
Patnoe says her program now has 56 kids and 16 staff members. In addition to two loans, VCLT also provided Patnoe with training on how to run a business.
So far VCLF has made a $250,000 equity investment in the new fund.