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Twin Cities program helps BIPOC child care providers

"I think a lot of the BIPOC community are aides, or teachers, or assistant teachers, but when it comes to the leadership there is a big difference in the numbers."

MINNEAPOLIS — For the last 16 years, Sally Boyd has helped the children who attend her Minneapolis in-home daycare grow. 

"I love teaching. I love working with the children," said Boyd, owner of Personality Childcare.

Soon it will be Boyd's turn to do the growing. She has plans to open a larger daycare center in Minneapolis in 2023, a significant investment which will allow about seven times as many children to enroll. 

"[I'd be] going from where I am with 14 children [to] hoping to be at at least about 110," she said.

She is currently accepting enrollment for those spots, which she says are greatly needed.

"There are so many day cares that are closing because of the pandemic. It is just my hope to be able to help more families," Boyd explained. 

Boyd got some help from a program by First Children's Finance called Community Conversations for Early Childhood Entrepreneurs, meant to help and encourage daycare providers of color.

"Most business owners, whether it's a center ownership or family child care, it's mostly Caucasian [owners]," said Tiffany Grant, Business Development Manager at First Children's Finance.

Grant and her colleague Trinette Potts, Business Development Specialist at First Children's Finance, came up with the idea for the program.

"It's really building community and it's finding resources to help them," Potts said.

The sessions teach whatever the providers want to learn, everything from taxes and facility design to historical trauma.

"We have a licensed therapist who does that piece," said Potts. "We thought that was really important to bring to [the program], because there's a lot of historical trauma in all of the communities."

The program is broken into separate cohorts of providers: African American, Somalian, and Hmong. A Latinx cohort will start up in March. Each session is tailored to that group's specific needs with experts from their own communities.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) does not track the race of every licensed provider in the state. Grant says First Children's Finance is working on collecting that information but anecdotally, she can attest that the majority of providers are white.

"I think a lot of the BIPOC community are aides, or teachers, or assistant teachers, but when it comes to the leadership there is a big difference in the numbers," she said. "That's one of the reasons why we started this program, because we wanted to have more providers of color in those leadership roles."

In addition to resources, the program also gives out forgivable loans to the providers. It is currently based in the Twin Cities, but First Children's Finance hopes to expand the program statewide.

"Families and children want to see leadership look like them," Grant said. "There's nothing like knowing someone understands your language or the way you see things... you feel trust. You build trust."

If you're a provider, you can find more information about the program here.

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