EARLY LEARNING

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

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Stabilize existing high quality early learning providers

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

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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

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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 January 2024

Early Childhood Connections

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

$733,300

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

$30,000

YMCA of Rapid City

Two-year support for Jump Start program

$700,000

Rural America Initiatives

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

$1,000,000

United Way of the Black Hills

Support for Black Hills Reads Program

$450,000

Black Hills Area Community Foundation

Donor-advised fund to pilot innovative child care solutions

$475,000

Early Childhood Connections

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

$200,000

Northern Hills Alliance for Children

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

$50,000

Collaborations

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

National League of Cities Learning Cohort

Rapid City was selected to participate in a national Early Learning Municipal Policy Alignment Cohort in 2019 comprised of 24 communities across the U.S. Participation has leveraged Rapid City to receive national connections to other organizations such as Home Grown, Reinvestment Fund, Low Income Investment Fund, and Stanford Graduate School of Education.

Our role: As part of the Advisory team for ELRC, Jess meets virtually with this cohort.

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South Dakota Childcare Business Collaborative

ELSD was accepted in 2023 to join a cohort of states to lead a Childcare/Business Collaborative.

Our role: Participant

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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.

Our role: JTVF participates on the statewide leadership, advocacy, and funding committees for ELSD.

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Early Learner Rapid City

Early Learner Rapid City is an effort under the ELSD umbrella with a vision that all children have access to 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 core leadership team for Early Learner Rapid City, alongside United Way of the Black Hills – Black Hills Reads Initiative, the City of Rapid City, and Early Childhood Connections.

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Learn more about the grant application process.