The Free Library of Philadelphia received the largest corporate grant in its history from the Vanguard Strong Start for Kids Program, the library said on Thursday.
The $3 million grant over three years aims to improve early childhood literacy and language development in low-income communities by partnering with local child care sites.
“This initiative will provide intensive professional development to child care staff, create literacy spaces in classrooms, and engage families. Neighborhood libraries will act as hubs for the participating child care sites in their communities,” the library said in a news release.
Working in needy communities, this new program will target under-resourced child care sites that have received the lower-ranked one or two Keystone STARS, a program of Pennsylvania’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning that serves as Pennsylvania’s Quality Rating and Improvement System.
The program will begin with 12 child care sites in 2018, adding sites over the course of the three-year grant to ultimately reach a total of 44 sites.
Each child care site will be matched with a neighborhood library in its community: Cecil B. Moore, Lillian Marrero, and Logan libraries in North Philadelphia; Kingsessing Library in Southwest Philadelphia; Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library; Whitman Library in South Philadelphia; and Wyoming Library in Feltonville.
The Vanguard Strong Start for Kids Program, established in 2015, provides funding and volunteer hours in Vanguard’s three domestic locations: Pennsylvania, Arizona, and North Carolina.