Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Here’s a great example of the power of collective advocacy.

Last month, more than 180 organizations and 718 individuals all signed a letter that was sent to the Massachusetts Legislature. The letter’s request: please provide an additional $70 million to fund this fiscal year’s Commonwealth Cares for Children or C3 stabilization grants.

These grants were essential for helping child care providers stay open during the pandemic, and they have become critical for supporting program quality and workforce retention.

“Now is the time,” the letter adds, “to move from a temporary stabilization program to permanent direct-to-provider operational funding and take an essential next step in our efforts to establish a sustainable business model for early education and care.” The C3 grant program can pave “a pathway from stabilization to systems growth.

“The $70 million will bridge the gap between the end of the childcare stabilization grant program and position a permanently funded operational grant program for sustained support and success into the future.”

The advocacy letter featured the logo of the Early Childhood Agenda, a new effort in Massachusetts to build collective power for transformational change. Check out highlights from the release of the Agenda at the State House earlier this year.

Now, we are happy to say that the advocacy letter was received, and its message was heard!

On February 28th, the House Ways and Means Committee released a supplemental budget proposal that would add $68 million to the C3 grants for this fiscal year.

It’s a proposal that has won the praise of many, including the Massachusetts Business Coalition for Early Childhood Education, which posted this LinkedIn comment:

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Next, the Senate will have to do its work on the supplemental budget, and the final version will have to be passed into law by the entire Legislature.

So please thank your state representatives for their action – and reach out to your state senators and ask them to support the C3 grants, too. Legislators are listening, and it’s invaluable if they get to hear from you!