Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation

OLEAN — The Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation has received a $50,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation to support small home-based childcare providers through the Small Grants for Small Children program.

CRCF will work with ACCORD to distribute grants of up to $2,000 each to support up to 25 small home-based childcare providers across Cattaraugus County.

Childcare providers will have flexibility to use the funds as they best see fit to help them re-open or remain open to continue to provide high quality care to children.

“As we begin the reopening process here in Cattaraugus County, child care will be more important than ever,” said CRCF Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit. “Many people will be returning to work for the first time in months to provide for their families, and they need dependable, safe child care to make that possible.”

During the pandemic, childcare providers have been struggling to accommodate the changing needs of families and balance this with their own needs for reliable income and fears of being exposed to COVID-19. Most challenged are the small home-based childcare programs that serve between three and 12 children.

Currently, they are ineligible for many of the federal and state supports available to small businesses. This is exacerbated by the fact that most programs supporting small business do not have childcare on their radar.

The grant to CRCF is part of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s $1 million total investment to support small home-based childcare providers across Western New York.

“Childcare is essential now more than ever,” said Amber Slichta, vice president of programs at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “Small home-based childcare providers rarely qualify for support and in turn, do not view themselves as small businesses. It’s important that we continue to fill these gaps and uplift these providers, as they are often the only option for working families in rural areas and urban neighborhoods.”