Kennebunk Savings is announcing a recent $30,000 grant to Early Learning New Hampshire, along with a $20,000 donation to the Richie McFarland Children’s Center. Both are part of a slate of donations from the bank centered on strengthening area child development programs.

“As a community bank, we love to support a wide array of local nonprofits, events and initiatives,” said Liz Torrance, Social Responsibility Manager with Kennebunk Savings. “But we know we can do more, and go further with our giving. We’re working more to actively identify and seek out ways in which our support can create lasting, positive change in our communities. Investing in our children is a very literal expression of that overall effort.”

Early Learning NH’s grant supports the “Child Care Business Response Team” project—a collaboration aimed at providing more stable childcare programs statewide. The grant from the bank will specifically lead to direct assistance for 8 different childcare organizations in the area. “It’s like an SAU,” explains Jackie Cowell, Executive Director at Early Learning NH. “The Business Response Team creates one single back office for all of these organizations. We provide the workforce behind the workforce, rather than making caregivers carry that administrative load.”

“The team at Early Learning NH – they’re bridge-builders,” added Bradford C. Paige, the bank’s President and CEO. “The childcare system is struggling, which has a huge impact not only on current local business needs, but also the future of our children. We’re excited for the network of supports the Business Response Team will be putting in place and the many ways that will help local childcare organizations keep moving forward.”

The Richie McFarland Children’s Center (RMCC) recently merged with Waypoint – both organizations are providers of early intervention services for Seacoast area children with developmental delays or disabilities. The grant from Kennebunk Savings will be used to hire a social worker to assist with some cases. “The educational and therapeutic strategies shared with parents and caregivers to support their child’s development are not as successful when outside stressors on the family impact their ability to provide a safe and stable environment for which the child to learn and grow,” observes Peggy Small-Porter, RMCC’s Executive Director.

“This is one of those opportunities that quickly leads to more opportunities,” said Paige. “The conversations that RMCC begins with families will connect them to other needed services, which leads to greater knowledge of and access to those services, which leads to more and more successful and stable families in the community.”

In 2021, the Kennebunk Savings Spotlight Fund grants began targeting programs that advance the accessibility, affordability and quality of early childhood services and resources in Maine and New Hampshire. The grants are focused on capacity expansion and quality improvement of childcare and educational programs for pre-K kids, parents and teachers.