Baptist Community Ministries Commits $3M to Early Childhood Education

NEW ORLEANS – Baptist Community Ministries has announced that it will invest $3 million in grant funding toward early childhood education over the next three years.

“All of our city’s early learners deserve safe, supportive, educational environments, and that need is even more critical for children in low-income and marginalized communities,” said Inman J. Houston, president and CEO of BCM. “We are grateful to partner with some incredible organizations to bolster early childhood education programming at a time when the need is greater than ever.”

BCM is partnering with three local organizations – Agenda for Children, Louisiana Policy Institute for Children and New Orleans Baptist Association – that align with its goal to “impact, uplift and help our community to grow stronger.”

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A BCM spokesperson said that “providing early childhood education opportunities improves not only education but also behavior and social-emotional skills, and sets a foundational framework for a lifetime of interest in learning.”

The organization said that more than 68% of children in New Orleans’ most vulnerable neighborhoods live in households below the ALICE Threshold, representing the minimum income level necessary for survival. 

“Implementing quality early childhood education seats will benefit our city’s children, their families and our community as a whole,” said Christy Ross, senior vice president of grants at BCM. “We are dedicated to creating an educational space for children in our community to not only live, but thrive.”

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Agenda for Children and Louisiana Policy Institute for Children prioritize workforce preparation, providing consistent professional development and skill-building opportunities, and encouraging long-term field retention for teachers.

“We are grateful and honored to be included in BCM’s investment alongside two key partners in the early care and education sector,” said Jennifer Roberts, the nonprofit’s CEO. “We are eager to work with them to support our partners, colleagues and community.”

“We are thrilled by this strategic investment of BCM, which will allow us to continue to advocate on behalf of Louisiana’s young children in new and innovative ways,” said Libbie Sonnier, executive director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children. “Working in partnership with passionate groups like BCM, our fellow grantees, and others is how we will ensure a Louisiana in which all children have what they need to be ready for success in school and in life.”

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New Orleans Baptist Association will facilitate a learning collaborative with local faith-based Early Childhood Education centers, expanding broad-based systems and policy approaches.

“We commend BCM for recognizing the potential in churches to meet our community’s growing needs for early childhood education space and workers,” said Jack Hunter, executive director of New Orleans Baptist Association. “We are eager to work to enmesh this initiative into already existing institutions of grassroots family support.”

BCM is a 27-year-old private foundation providing philanthropic services and promoting the health and well-being of our community members in the Greater New Orleans area. It was formed in 1995 following the sale of Mercy+Baptist Medical Center to Tenet Healthcare

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