Wednesday, the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation (CRCF) announced 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. It is a crucial piece of how we can begin to move into the ‘new normal’ for our community.”

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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. Grants have also been distributed to the Rochester Area Community Foundation, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and the Chautauqua Community Foundation. This program is modeled after the long-standing Small Grants to Small Children developed by the Adirondack Foundation.

“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.”

The Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation is the area’s supportive, responsive and trusted community foundation. Established in 1994, CRCF is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716) 301-CRCF (2723), email foundation@cattfoundation.org, or visit online at www.cattfoundation.org. CRCF is also on Facebook (facebook.com/cattfoundation) and Twitter (@CattFoundation).

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation is a grant making organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The two areas reflect Ralph C. Wilson Jr.’s devotion to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his Buffalo Bills franchise. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson requested that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation that bears his name. The Foundation has a grant making capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s desire for the Foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable and overseen by those who knew him best.