DEPC Awarded Federal Funds
to Ensure Children a Healthy Start
The Down East Partnership for Children (DEPC) has been awarded a grant to receive federal funds through the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) to improve the health of young children so they are ready to start Kindergarten fit, healthy and ready to learn.
“We are excited this grant will allow the Partnership to expand the impact SHAPE NC has had in our community on the healthy growth and development of children before they enter Kindergarten – one of the first building blocks to that is a foundation of early learning and literacy,” said Henrietta Zalkind, DEPC Executive Director.
DEPC was selected, along with Wake County SmartStart, as a sub-grantee of a grant from SIF, a federal program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The North Carolina Partnership for Children (NCPC)/Smart Start was originally awarded a $4 million grant in 2016 in order to mobilize public and private support for Shape NC: Healthy Starts for Young Children Initiative.
SHAPE NC, an initiative of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation and NCPC created in 2010, assists communities across the state to promote healthy eating and active play among North Carolina’s youngest children, from birth through age five. The initiative works with child care programs to instill healthy behaviors early on, creating a solid foundation for a healthy life.
DEPC has been a SHAPE NC hub since 2010 funded by BCBSNC and will now receive $125,000 annually from SIF to fund project activities in child care, head start and public pre-k programs.
SIF is a powerful approach to transforming lives and communities that positions the federal funding to be a catalyst for impact – mobilizing other resources to find and grow community solutions. This federal funding requires a dollar for dollar match to support the project including community and family engagement activities, such as F.I.T., Faithful Families and outdoor learning.
Response to news of the grant:
NC Senator Angela Bryant:
“Sen. Bryant is so proud of the long term capacity of the Down East Partnership For Children to stay on the cutting edge of services and programs needed for our children and families. This Social Innovation Fund to tackle obesity is another pillar in a strong foundation for our pre- kindergarten students.”
Cindy Watkins, President of NCPC:
“These two Smart Start local partnerships are leaders in their communities in advancing high quality early care and education. I am proud that they will be expanding their work of building outdoor learning environments, promoting exercise, and encouraging children to eat more fruits and vegetables.”
Lois Nembhard, acting director of the SIF at CNCS:
“The Social Innovation Fund is an innovative program that seeks to invest in truly compelling solutions to the persistent challenges facing our communities,” said Lois Nembhard, . “Smart Start has a proven track record for deepening community impact toward improved health outcomes and decreased health disparities among young children in childcare, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand our impact in North Carolina.”
Kathy Higgins, President of the BCBSNC Foundation:
“The commitment of federal dollars re-emphasizes just how critical this work of starting during the earliest years is – to our local communities, our state and our nation. The partnership between NCPC and the BCBSNC Foundation has had a tremendous impact on the health and lives of not only our youngest children, but also their families and teachers. We are proud of the success we have seen and grateful that this work is expanding.”
In the next few months, NCPC will announce additional sub-grantees that will include other community-based organizations serving young children at the 200 percent or below federal poverty.