Community Loan Fund honored with first SHE Change Award

By News

The New Hampshire Community Loan Fund was honored in October 2017 with the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation’s first SHE Change Award for its Business of Child Care project.

The award, accompanied by a $10,000 grant, was presented at the Women’s Foundation annual luncheon Oct. 11 in Manchester.

In presenting the award, Women’s Foundation Director of Grantmaking Ellen Koenig said the Community Loan Fund clearly stood out as “an organization which supports the values of the N.H. Women’s Foundation and uses creative solutions to address complex problems facing women and girls in New Hampshire.”

The Business of Child Care project helps child care and early education directors better understand and manage their centers’ finances. The project includes business self-assessments, group and one-on-one training, and stipends.

The program was launched in 2014 with 10 child care centers in Coos County and has since been offered in Nashua and Manchester. It was developed by Julie McConnell, the Community Loan Fund’s Director of Child Care and Community Facilities Lending, and Kim Votta of Kim Votta Consulting.

McConnell, a former early education director, said the specialized training is needed because child care centers operate with scarce resources and are heavily affected by frequent changes in public policy and the economy.

“One financial crisis can force a center to close. If that happens, some working parents have no alternative but to stay home with their child,” she said. “That affects the child, the family, and the parent’s employer, not to mention the child care center staff who are now out of work.”

McConnell also observed that many directors are former teachers and manage well even though in many instances their financial training has been on-the-job and the business model has become more complex.

“They have to be amazingly creative to provide affordable, quality, early-childhood experiences, given how fragile, fragmented, and poorly funded the child care system is,” she said. “These are small-business managers on a mission!”

“We are delighted to present this project from the Community Loan Fund our first SHE Change award,” said Tanna Clews, CEO of the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation. "Investing in women’s economic strength, such as providing financially stable child care centers, is a key factor in building stronger communities, and is at the heart of our mission.”

The Community Loan Fund has offered child care facilities financing since 1995, and has loaned more than $6.5 million to preserve or create child care for more than 4,000 children.

The Business of Child Care project is partially funded by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the Norwin S. and Elizabeth N. Bean Foundation, the Couch Family Foundation, and the Byrne Foundation.

About the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation

The New Hampshire Women’s Foundation invests in opportunity and equality for women and girls in New Hampshire. We advance our work through research, advocacy, education and grant making. We believe in equal and fair pay, quality healthcare and control over one's own health choices, access to affordable childcare and family-friendly workplaces, and an environment safe from domestic abuse and discrimination. When women and girls succeed, families and communities thrive.