WomenVenture Awarded $375,000 Grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Funds will support first-of-its-kind daycare co-operative program in the Twin Cities

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — WomenVenture announced today that it has been awarded a $375,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Kellogg Foundation, which focuses on educated and healthy children and secure families, is one of the largest philanthropic foundations in the U.S. WomenVenture will use the grant money for a pilot program to train and mentor women entrepreneurs in order to establish cooperatively-owned 24-hour daycare businesses in low-income areas.

The Twin Cities currently has a high demand for reliable and affordable daycare, especially for 2nd and 3rd shift workers. At the same time, there are many skilled daycare workers who would like to own their own business but lack the means to do so. The establishment of a co-operative (co-op) daycare program creates the opportunity for daycare professionals to pool their resources and talents to jointly run a sustainable business. It’s an innovative approach that currently exists in less than a handful of places across the United States, and not at all in the 15-county metro area.

The co-op model benefits both worker-owners and their community. Wages for co-op workers are typically 2-2.5 times the rate paid for the same work within a traditional business structure. Co-ops also provide employee benefits such as medical insurance, a 401K match, full-time employment with consistent hours, schedule flexibility, and paid time off. Such benefits are typically unachievable for low-wage daycare providers working independently. Co-ops also experience a much lower rate of staff turnover (15% vs. an industry standard nearly 4 times that rate). This ensures that children enrolled at a co-op daycare receive high-quality continuity of care. By providing 24-hour care, the co-op will also help eliminate major obstacles of transportation and access for working parents in communities of need.

“It’s an honor to receive such a significant grant from the Kellogg Foundation,” says Elaine Wyatt, Executive Director of WomenVenture. “For 40 years, we’ve been a leader in providing business training to women entrepreneurs. This grant allows us to take that knowledge and expertise to create an entrepreneurial pathway for women who are interested in starting cooperatively-owned daycares and, in the process, serve the needs of low-income working families who lack reliable, affordable, and flexible-schedule daycare.”

WomenVenture will form cohorts of 12-15 entrepreneurially-minded, experienced daycare professionals in low-income neighborhoods. Each cohort will go through WomenVenture’s proven entrepreneurship pathways training curriculum. The courses will be tailored to include co-op daycare business and governance acumen, as well as group decision making and conflict resolution. The women will finish the course with a completed business plan and the tools needed to operate their daycare. They will also be eligible to apply for a loan from WomenVenture to launch their business. A full-time, co-op entrepreneur trainer will run the program and mentor each group throughout the entire process.

Although daycare professionals receive training in the care and education of children, they frequently lack the business knowledge needed to successfully run their own businesses. WomenVenture’s goal is to supply this missing component, along with a collaborative business model that has been proven successful in many other industries, to ensure that these women can start and grow truly profitable and sustainable businesses. 

Krizia ‘Angel’ Rogers, owner of Angel’s Learning Center in Brooklyn Park, knows how beneficial such assistance can be. She recognized the need in her community for quality, development-based childcare for families whose parents worked late or non-traditional hours. She turned to WomenVenture for assistance in opening a center that would stay open until 10:30 pm and provide transportation for families without vehicles. “WomenVenture has been with me through every part of the process of moving from an in-home daycare to an actual licensed daycare center,” says Krizia. “They helped me with my business plan, provided me with a loan to help with my start-up costs for the new location, and are always there for me when I need help.”

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About WomenVenture

WomenVenture is a Minnesota nonprofit dedicated to helping women attain economic self-sufficiency through the creation and growth of profitable and sustainable businesses. For nearly four decades, the organization has provided more than 100,000 women of all ages, cultures, races and income levels with the tools and resources to make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality. Last year, WomenVenture served 1,001 clients, 58% of whom were low to moderate income and 32% were people of color. We helped start, enhance, or expand 614 businesses that created and/or retained 1,319 jobs that paid an average wage of $27 per hour and generated $47.5 million in revenue. WomenVenture also deployed and facilitated $5,900,000 in capital to our clients.

WomenVenture client businesses are fueling Minnesota's economy. They help communities grow by paying taxes, by supporting other local businesses, and by creating jobs that pay living wages. For more information about WomenVenture, visit www.WomenVenture.org. 

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. 

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.