City News

Mayor announces city child care and preschool grants

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced the recipients of Child Care and Preschool Stabilization and Expansion grants awarded by the City of Richmond.

The more than $619,000 in grants awarded yesterday follow previously announced grants of $500,000 to Smart Beginnings of Greater Richmond for child care and preschool expansion, and $200,000 to Family Lifeline to expand home visiting services to eligible families.

The mayor also announced a $50,000 grant to the Children’s Museum of Richmond to expand access for low-income families.  A $50,000 grant was also awarded to the Children’s Funding Project to study costs and financing strategies for universal preschool in the city. Additionally, the Mayor announced the hiring of early childhood specialist Daphne Bolotas in the city’s Office of Children and Families to support the coordination of efforts to provide universal preschool.


“High-quality, affordable and accessible child care and preschool continue to be vital to the overall health of our community and our economy,” said the mayor, who called on the Virginia General Assembly to increase investments in these areas.

“I am honored to stand alongside these heroes who have committed their professional – and often personal – lives to supporting the youngest Richmonders and their families,” the mayor said, surrounded by childcare advocates at the Children’s Museum of Richmond. “Together, we will accomplish so much for so many families across our city as we lay work together to ensure that all children across our city have the opportunity to thrive.”

The following organizations received grants:

  • FRIENDS Association for Children has been serving children in Richmond for over 150 years. Following the Civil War, FRIENDS began as an orphanage in Jackson Ward dedicated to caring for formerly enslaved Black children who had been abandoned by their former slavers. FRIENDS will receive $100,000, which they will use to increase their capacity by 50 percent – effectively returning to their pre-pandemic level of service – across their two sites in Gilpin Court and Church Hill.

  • Fulton Montessori is a grassroots organization that began serving children out of the Neighborhood Resource Center in 2018, after the NRC closed its preschool program, in order to meet the urgent need for affordable early education in the East End. Their $64,500 grant will allow them to immediately open an additional classroom as well as invest in capital improvements so that they can ultimately grow to serve 75 children total.

  • SCAN is a longtime partner of the city in its effort to support survivors of child abuse and neglect. SCAN’s Circle Preschool Program provides intensive, year-round, trauma-focused mental health treatment both for young children who have experienced trauma and their caregivers through a preschool setting at its location in Blackwell. The $20,000 grant will allow them to serve two additional students and maximize their capacity, while ensuring that every child and their family benefits from a suite of intensive wraparound services.

  • St. James’s Children’s Center has been serving Richmond families for over 30 years. For decades, they have remained committed to ensuring that all children, regardless of their families’ ability to pay, deserve access to the very best early childhood education experiences. The $50,000 grant will allow them to return to their pre-pandemic enrollment level of 75 students.

  • Woodville Day Nursery has operated in the East End for over 60 years as part of the mission of Woodville Church of the Nazarene. Woodville provides low-cost child care and camps for community members who rely on them for safe, affordable care. They have been a Head Start and Early Head Start partner for going on six years. The $10,000 grant will provide retention bonuses to 10 staff members, and they will also receive technical assistance to support their operational success.

  • The YMCA of Greater Richmond has served our region for 167 years, constantly adapting to meet community needs. The Y has been a particularly vital partner to the city over the past few years, in the effort to universalize access to elementary afterschool programs and to stand up emergency child care centers when the pandemic closed down schools. The $75,000 grant will support the YMCA to open two new preschools on the Southside, serving 100 3- and 4-year olds.

  • YWCA Richmond has been leading efforts to empower women and children in Richmond for the last 134 years. Its child care journey dates back to 1891 when they opened a nursery to care for children while their mothers worked in local factories. In 1989, the YWCA opened the first and only preschool program in the city to care for homeless children.

Today, the YWCA operates the Sprout School, which provides a mixed income, full-year, all-day early education program in two locations: their Bainbridge Street school in Blackwell and two classrooms within the Children’s Museum. The organization is receiving $300,000 both to maximize the capacity of its existing program in Blackwell and to open a brand-new school in 2nd Presbyterian Church, which was forced to close its long-running early childhood program during the pandemic. All told, YWCA will grow its capacity by almost 100 children with this grant.

To view video of today’s announcement please visit: