Kennebunk Savings is issuing a $20,000 Spotlight Fund grant to York County Community Action Corporation. The grant will support assessing and researching solutions to the childcare availability gaps in York County – with a pilot program set to launch in May 2022 to increase access to quality childcare for working families.

The bank’s Spotlight Fund is an integral part of their annual giving program. Each year, their team proactively researches and identifies a pressing issue affecting our local communities. They meet with leaders in the field to understand how a long-term investment can create opportunities that will lead to lasting, positive change.

“Adequate childcare is out of reach for many families in our communities,” said Bradford C. Paige, President and CEO of Kennebunk Savings. “This is an issue of affordability, but it’s also about making sure the workforce has the support they need. Not to mention that it’s all been exacerbated by a global pandemic. And this absence of available care creates stresses on young families at a critical stage in their children’s development.”

“Over 30 childcare programs in York County permanently closed during the pandemic,” said Barbara Crider, Executive Director at YCCAC. “High quality and affordable childcare was already in short supply.” YCCAC is well-positioned to begin filling this gap – with years of experience working with children and families and a broad range of resources and services to connect them with WIC, transportation, heating assistance, home repair and more.

Families with access to childcare can pursue education and employment opportunities, which lead to economic opportunities.  With better access to childcare, employers can count on a reliable workforce. Employers have reported that access to childcare services decreased employee absences by 20% – 30% and reduced turnover by 37% – 60%.  With the professional supervision of a daycare setting, young children can begin to develop the social skills and independence necessary to thrive in schools.

In 2021, Kennebunk Savings has committed a total investment of $150,000 in Spotlight Fund grants focused on early childhood development. Grants are targeting programs that advance the accessibility, affordability and quality of early childhood services and resources in York County, Maine and seacoast New Hampshire. The first round of grants is focused on capacity expansion and quality improvement of childcare and educational programs for pre-K kids, parents and teachers.

York County Community Action Corporation was incorporated in 1965 in response to the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. Since then, York County communities have counted on YCCAC to provide opportunity and hope to people from all circumstances, particularly in times of transition or adversity. Will Hygh, VP Commercial Credit Portfolio Manager at the Kennebunk Savings, is a member of the YCCAC Board of Directors. “The effects of poverty can have severe negative consequences on someone’s quality of life and this is especially profound in children,” Hygh said. “YCCAC tackles poverty on multiple fronts. I strongly support its mission.”