On Wednesday, Governor Reynolds announced the Child Care Challenge Grant awards, which included a $930,000 award to Sunflower Child Development Center in Decorah for the new Child Development and Discovery Center.
The center will provide childcare for 215 children from birth to 12 years of age and include indoor active learning spaces that will be available to the public. The funds will be used to construct the new child care facility in a manner that allows Sunflower to implement an innovative, economically, and environmentally sustainable childcare business model. The amount awarded to Sunflower was one of the largest awards in the state.
“Child care has been Decorah Jobs’ number 1 priority since 2019 and this award helps us get closer to our fundraising goal and our goal to meet the needs of our workforce.” stated Harlan Satrom, President of Decorah Jobs.
Decorah Jobs is a local economic development nonprofit organization, operating since the 1960’s, which has implemented tens of millions of dollars in projects including the establishment of the Freeport Industrial Park and the Decorah Business Park and facilitating redevelopment and new development projects such as the Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott, the Hy-Vee Grocery Store and Toppling Goliath Brewing Company. Decorah Jobs also provides assistance to dozens of downtown Decorah businesses.Originally launched in November at $10 million, Governor Reynolds expanded the program to accommodate the overwhelming number of quality applications and to recognize the need for additional quality child care slots for Iowa’s workforce. Working together, Iowa Workforce Development and the Iowa Department of Human Services has allocated $26.9 million in DHS federal funds, $3 million appropriated by the Iowa legislature for the Child Care Challenge Fund, and $6.7 million in federal ARPA funds to the top scoring applications. This program has created 5,191 slots across Iowa.
Stephanie Fromm, Executive Director for Winneshiek County Development and Tourism and Sunflower Vice President stated “We are very thankful for this award. I think it’s important for our community and businesses to know when the State of Iowa announces these awards, people take notice and see the project as demonstrating how much we care about our children and workforce. Just the other day, when the $500,000 CAT grant was announced, Sunflower was receiving 3-5 calls per day from people outside of our region interested in moving to Winneshiek County.”
Sunflower Child Development and Discovery Center’s goal is to close the gap on their fundraising effort.
To find out more about the project or to make a donation, visit DecorahDiscovery.org; and to find out more about the other Child Care Challenge awards go to the website: FutureReadyIowa.gov