September 02, 2020
Written By: Shiloh Francis
Rapid City – Elevate Rapid City in partnership with the John T. Vucurevich Foundation is making $250,000 available through a new Child Care Providers Loan Program to help those in the Rapid City area experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19. In addition to a maximum loan of $12,500, recipients will receive a $500 grant from United Way of the Black Hills to purchase personal protective equipment.
“These are difficult times for all of us,” said Tom Johnson, President and CEO for Elevate Rapid City. “Without assistance, it’s possible we could lose businesses, thousands of jobs, and prevent families and single-parent households from participating in the economic recovery while parents are forced to remain home and care for their children. We know these small loan dollars aren’t nearly enough to help everyone, but we’ve got to be creative and we’ve got to help.”
1 out of every 4 South Dakota provider was closed or partially opened for essential personnel only due to COVID-19. Furthermore, 1 out of every 3 providers was only able to serve half their total enrollment. Child care providers are at the forefront of South Dakota’s workforce and economic recovery. It affects every occupation – especially those in the region’s top industries of health care, education, and hospitality/tourism. The goal of this assistance program is to help ensure these essential businesses remain open, employees can get back to work and most importantly, that children do not fall through the cracks.
United Way of the Black Hills is providing additional assistance for these providers with grants for personal protective equipment. “Through our work with child care providers with our Black Hills Reads Initiative we’ve learned that more than 1,800 child care slots were lost at the start of the pandemic and are at risk of not coming back,” said Jamie Toennies, Executive Director. “We know this is a vital resource for our community and it is important we not only help these providers stay open, but to give them the additional support they need to ensure the children are safe and healthy under these new guidelines.”
Alan Solano, President & CEO of the John T. Vucurevich Foundation, echoed the importance of helping the area’s child care providers. “Child care providers are essential for the families of the Black Hills region. Parents should not feel they do not have the choice between a safe place for their child, or going to work to provide for them. We are happy to partner with Elevate and the United Way of the Black Hills to support these critical needs.”
Applications will be accepted by qualified child care providers that maintain a place of business in the Rapid City area to assist with working capital during the fall semester. Qualified small business applicants must be an employer business with 1 to 50 employees. For full eligibility information and the application, business owners can go to: https://elevaterapidcity.com/child care.