To ensure children thrive, we focus on improving access to high-quality early learning experiences. Though children learn in every environment, our funding primarily addresses child care access and affordability.

Our funding helps low-income families afford child care and preschool and helps child care providers support and retain high quality staff. We help support infrastructure for families, employers, and philanthropy to address the regional child care crisis.

Grantmaking Strategy


Stabilize existing high quality early learning providers

Provide funding for family access and staff retention and recruitment at Starting Strong and Jump Start Providers 


Expand access to high quality early learning programs for low-income families

Provide funding for capacity building for high quality child care providers and expand number of scholarships available to low income families


Strengthen public/private investment in high quality early learning opportunities for low-income families

Pilot innovative solutions to funding child care through the JTVF Child Care Innovation Fund

Our Stories

Jump Start Grantee
Jump Starting Quality Child Care

Jump Starting Quality Child Care

We are ready to shout it from the rooftops: the YMCA of Rapid City is our latest Early Learning grantee! This $700,000 two-year grant will support the Jump Start Program in Rapid City.About Jump Start Jump Start provides quality early-learning and affordable child...

Current Grantees

Value of early learning grants as of May 2024

Early Childhood Connections

Starting Strong Initiative, a scholarship program for preschool education for 3 and 4 year olds from low income families


friends of South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Early Learning Initiative to collaborate with stakeholders and provide educational content, resources and professional development about the importance of early learning


YMCA of Rapid City

Two-year support for Jump Start program


Rural America Initiatives

Capital campaign to expand Head Start/Early Head Start program by eight classrooms


United Way of the Black Hills

Support for Black Hills Reads Program


Black Hills Area Community Foundation

Donor-advised fund to pilot innovative child care solutions


Early Childhood Connections

One-year funding to stabilize Starting Strong child care providers in Rapid City


Northern Hills Alliance for Children

One-year operating support for quality child care in the Northern Black Hills



JTVF Child Care Innovation Fund

Housed at the Black Hills Area Community Foundation, the JTVF Child Care Innovation Fund will be used to pilot a program where local businesses, philanthropy, and employees themselves equally share the costs of child care. It’s a bold step towards addressing a growing concern in the modern workforce—child care affordability. The Tri-Share Program aims to make child care affordable and accessible for working parents, help employers retain and attract employees, and support child care providers’ sustainability.

Our role: Founder

Early Learner Rapid City

Early Learner Rapid City is an effort under the ELSD umbrella with a vision that all children have access to high quality early learning experiences and environments to create a solid foundation for lifelong success. Early Learner communities, such as Rapid City, engage their community stakeholders to improve early learning in their community. Rapid City is using the Early Learning Community Action Guide from the National League of Cities which helps communities take action to become an Early Learning Community.

Our role: Jess from the JTVF team is on the Advisory Team.


Early Learner South Dakota

Early Learner South Dakota (ELSD) is a community-driven, grass roots effort, led by the South Dakota Association for the Education of Young Children (SDAEYC) bringing awareness and support to the importance of how access to a variety of early learning environments impacts our community’s future. ELSD advocates for child care providers and acts as their voice at the state policy and legislative levels. Additionally, ELSD provides guidance and support to communities wishing to become a designated early learning community, a community where young children are a top priority. Thirdly, ELSD acts as a connector for organizations that serve adults who affect children’s lives- parents, caregivers, and educators. 

Our role: Jess is on the statewide leadership and advocacy committees for ELSD.


South Dakota Association for the Education of Young Children

SDAEYC promotes high-quality care and early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy, and research. We advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children.

Our role: Jess from the JTVF team is the Public Policy Chair.


South Dakota Childcare Business Collaborative

South Dakota is one of 9 states invited to participate in a pilot cohort to connect the business sector with the childcare industry. The South Dakota Child Care Business Collaborative works to find solutions that address the child care crisis in South Dakota. Early Learner South Dakota acts as the facilitator in this process, provide innovative solutions to the group, and bring research from other states working on the child care crisis. 

Our role: Jess is on the Advisory Team


South Dakota Childcare Task Force

The South Dakota Childcare Task Force is made up of 24 South Dakota lawmakers, business leaders, parents and early childhood professionals. Led by South Dakota state senator Tim Reed, the group plans to tackle what government can do to better support quality access to child care across the state.

Our role: Jess is on the Task Force

Learn more about the grant application process.