The Fort Collins Community Fund, a donor-advised fund managed by the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, has awarded a $25,000 grant to Teaching Tree Early Childhood Learning Center. The grant will support the expansion of Teaching Tree’s child care center in Fort Collins.

When the expansion is complete in early 2020, Teaching Tree’s licensed capacity will more than double, from 101 to 215 children. The center serves children from 6 weeks to 5 years old.

In 2017, research conducted by the Early Childhood Council of Larimer County revealed an overwhelming deficit in licensed child care availability for families in the county. According to the study, published in a Nov. 2017 white paper, “A Workforce Strategy and Major Economic Driver: Child Care in Larimer County,” the estimated need for child care is nearly 14,000, yet the number of licensed child care slots is just over 7,000.

Teaching Tree’s expansion will begin to address this need.

Teaching Tree Fort Collins has been providing affordable, quality early childhood care and education for low- and middle-income families in Larimer County since 1970. The program maintains a Level 4 Colorado Shines rating, making it one of the highest quality providers in the state.

“We thank the Fort Collins Community Fund for its support of our program. With this grant, we’re now 72% of the way to meeting our $2.1-million capital campaign goal,” said Anne Lance, executive director of Teaching Tree.

Construction on the expansion, in the city-owned building Teaching Tree leases at 424 Pine Street, is about to commence. In support of the project, the City of Fort Collins has provided Teaching Tree with a long-term lease of 20 years. The expansion will add 6 new classrooms and 2 new natural playgrounds to the existing child care center.

The Community Foundation of Northern Colorado serves as a community think tank, a catalyst for community projects, a service provider to philanthropists and nonprofit organizations, and a trusted steward of long-term and often complex gift arrangements. The Foundation manages and administers more than 500 charitable funds and over $110 million in assets.

For more information about Teaching Tree or the child care expansion project, call (970) 493-2628 or visit www.growthetree.org