Mayor Mitchell Announces Construction Funds for Nonprofit Childcare Facilities

ARPA-Funded Initiative Designed to Support Working Parents, Reduce Educational Disparities 

Mayor Jon Mitchell and City officials are announcing a new funding initiative for the construction or expansion of childcare and early education facilities that are owned and operated by local nonprofit organizations.

The grant initiative will be funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). It is designed to help address educational disparities among the City’s lower-income populations and support working parents by expanding the availability of childcare and early learning opportunities.

The initiative is the City’s third announcement of investments funded by ARPA, which intends to address economic and public health impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“High-performing childcare options can free up parents to pursue work and educational opportunities, and make quality learning experiences available to their children,” Mayor Mitchell said. “By using one-time ARPA funds to help expand the capacity of established childcare providers, we will have made an investment in our City that will pay dividends for years to come.”

The City is seeking responses from qualified nonprofit organizations to apply for grant funding. To ensure quality projects are selected, funding will require a one-to-one match, with applicants paying for at least 50% of all associated costs.

The initiative is designed to kick-start projects that are “shovel-ready” – meaning fully permitted and ready to start construction in a reasonable timeframe, but have a demonstrated financial need.

“In cities like New Bedford all throughout the Commonwealth, there has been a growing and urgent need for a greater capacity of early childhood education and childcare facilities,” City Council President Ian Abreu said. “This is yet another creative way for us to showcase how we, as a City, can lead the way with innovative thinking to expand our much-needed inventory of facilities that support our children and families.”

Since ARPA represents a one-time infusion of federal funds, this grant program is steered toward one-time items, rather than the creation of new programs or the expansion of existing services. Requests for funding to cover general operating expenses are not eligible.

“The skills that our children learn in the early years of life are crucial for their social, emotional, and academic performance. Those skills hold the key to their success, and to New Bedford’s, because children who are healthy and prepared when they enter kindergarten do better in school,” City Councilor Shane Burgo said. “This next round of ARPA funding will help to strengthen families in their role as their child’s first teacher, improve the quality of early learning environments, and expand access to pre-school and childcare.”

Eligible applications include capital projects such as fixed, one-time expenses including the purchase of land or buildings, construction, and equipment.

Total project costs must be at least $500,000, meaning the minimum grant amount is $250,000.

Additional details and the Request for Response form are available on the City’s ARPA website:

— April 15, 2022