The Carroll Child Care Centers Inc. in Westminster is trying to launch a fundraising campaign, after the United Way of Central Maryland unexpectedly denied the nonprofit day care center a $71,000 grant to serve low-income families.
To brainstorm ideas and connect the center with donors, the Community Foundation of Carroll County is sponsoring a brown bag luncheon Friday for the center.
"This is doable. It's not like they're trying to raise $1 million," said Audrey Cimino, the foundation's executive director. "We're hoping to get people who have an affinity for this particular issue. It is in all of our best interest that these children are cared for."
After 31 years of United Way support, Carroll Child Care Centers learned in late November that its annual grant to support tuition assistance for poor children would run out at the beginning of the year.
Instead, the United Way decided to focus more funds on fewer agencies, leaving small nonprofits such as Carroll Child Care Centers scrambling for money to replace the grant.
To raise small staff salaries, expand teacher training and maintain scholarships, Joyce Duffy, the center's director, said she is determined to make up the lost United Way money -- and more.
"I intend to replace all that money," Duffy said. "Nothing here will change in terms of how we serve our clients. I don't want any of our families to be concerned."
Community members have stepped forward with donations of $500 to $1,000, Duffy said. Cimino also stressed that $100 checks from 10 people can be more valuable than $1,000 from one person, because then the pool of donors is that much larger.
Duffy has tried to bring a fundraising and networking approach to the center since she became its executive director in March. She had honed those skills as the former director of marketing for the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce.
"I had many wonderful contacts from the chamber, and lots of those people are coming forward," Duffy said.
While the previous director, JoAnn Goldberger, had a grant-writing background, the center lacked an organized fundraising effort, Duffy said.
Now, Duffy has Jen Jackson to direct the day-to-day child care side of the center, freeing Duffy to focus more on administrative needs.
The county's grants office has never, to the best of her knowledge, reviewed Carroll Child Care Centers' applications, county grants manager Colleen Baumgartner said.
She said child care agencies suffered from the competition for the new United Way grants.
If the center receives an evaluation of its United Way grant application, she said her office could help the center use that information to beef up grant applications in the future.
"We try to help outside agencies as much as possible, but we're not going to seek them out," Baumgartner said.
The brown bag luncheon on fundraising ideas for Carroll Child Care Centers will be held at noon Friday at the Community Foundation in the nonprofit center, 255 Clifton Blvd., Westminster. Information: Joyce Duffy, 410-848-0644.