Scholarships available to help cover costs of child care for NRV families

Published: Feb. 23, 2018 at 5:38 PM EST
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Families that can't afford child care in the New River Valley now have an option to help cover the costs.

The Alliance for Better Childcare Strategies received a 10 thousand dollar donation to begin the scholarship.

The non-profit agency focuses on improving quality, affordability, and child care options in the NRV and helps families who don't quite qualify for government assistance.

The scholarships will be made available starting at the beginning of the next school year.

Below is a news release from ABCs that includes more information.


Blacksburg Rotary Club Selects ABCs’ Bridging the Gap Early Education Scholarship for Major Gift to Fund Quality Childcare and Preschool for NRV Children

Christiansburg, Virginia, February 20, 2018 – Thanks to Blacksburg Rotary Club’s $10,000 donation to the Alliance for Better Childcare Strategies (ABCs) scholarship fund, local working parents will have the opportunity to access high quality full-time early education.

The Blacksburg Rotary Club gave a $10,000 contribution to ABCs’ scholarship fund for preschoolers, Bridging the Gap. This large gift will serve as seed money to incentivize employers and individuals to build this critical fund for early education. ABCs launched the Bridging the Gap scholarship fund in late 2017 to enable local 3 – 5 year olds to access quality early education and full-time childcare.

Ferne Moschella, President of the Blacksburg Rotary Club, stated: "It is a privilege for our Club to be able to support the important work of ABCs. We wish to recognize two Club members, Dick Bohlin and Doug Smartt, whose initial donations to the Blacksburg Rotary Fund at the Community Foundation of the New River Valley, made this gift possible. As Rotarians, we are dedicated to doing good in the world and in our community. Two of Rotary's stated areas of focus are maternal and child health, and basic education and literacy. What better way to achieve this than by giving the youngest members of our community, and their families, a jump start on their education and access to needed childcare?"

In Montgomery County, 36% of families with young children are economically disadvantaged and this number is even higher in other NRV regions. There is no financial tuition assistance for families earning more than 150% of the Federal Poverty Rate. ABCs has created a preschool scholarship/tuition assistance program to help working families who earn between 150% and 200% of the Federal Poverty Rate. Quality childcare is unaffordable for many of our working families. For example, a family of four earning 175% of the Federal Poverty Rate ($43,050) would have to spend 45% of their gross income to access quality care for their infant and preschooler.

This generous gift from the Blacksburg Rotary Club will help children and families to access quality childcare. This supports both our local economy and the health of our community -- benefiting employers, parents, children and our childcare infrastructure.

Just how important is a good preschool education? Findings from a continuing study of 4,000 children in Tulsa, Oklahoma show that high quality preschool has an effect that is powerful and does not fade out. Quality preschool dramatically narrows the disadvantage gap through to middle school, high school and even into college.

Quality reliable childcare is also essential for our working parents and our local economy. A Cornell University study found that the availability of high-quality childcare decreased employee absences by 20-30% and reduced turnover by 37-60%.

In a 2015 Washington Post survey, more than 75% of mothers and 50% of fathers said they had passed up work opportunities, switched jobs, or quit to take care of their children.

Employee access to high-quality affordable childcare increases the talent pool for recruitment, promotes retention and worker productivity and boosts the bottom line. Access to quality childcare also creates higher earnings for parents in the workforce, increasing spending and tax revenue that boosts the local economy. In addition, most importantly, quality early education prepares children for success in kindergarten and in life.

Linda Capone Claussen, Chair of ABCs, commended the large donation: “Our whole community WINS with this generous gift of seed money. Children, Employees, Industry and Businesses—winning. On behalf of the ABCs Board of Directors, we thank the Blacksburg Rotary Club for their support of one of our many goals---affordable better childcare for our community.

To help hard-working local families access high quality childcare for their preschoolers, please contact Bethany Mott at, call her at 540-49407175 or visit

The Alliance for Better Childcare Strategies is the result of two years of meetings and planning by local government, corporate, academic and community leaders with a goal of strengthening our local childcare and early education infrastructure. High quality and sufficient childcare and education are essential for attracting and retaining talented young families for today’s workforce – and for preparing the workforce of the future. ABCs’ mission is to create collaborations and build community partnerships to improve the availability, affordability and quality of childcare and early education in Montgomery County and now expanding into our tightly interconnected region of the New River Valley.