Entergy Announces $300,000 Challenge Grant to Support Early Child Education in New Orleans
The Entergy Charitable Foundation today announced a $300,000 challenge grant to support the City of New Orleans’ City Seats program, which provides free high-quality early care to low-income working families in Orleans Parish.
City Seats, an initiative of the New Orleans Education Network and Agenda for Children, was created in 2017 when the New Orleans City Council allocated $750,000 to expand access to high-quality early care for working families. The council funding doubled to $1.5 million in 2018 and again in 2019 as the council has approved $3 million in funding for early care.
The city’s funding positions New Orleans to be first in line to benefit from a newly created pool of up to $3.6 million in state matching funds for early childhood education.
In announcing the contribution, Patty Riddlebarger, vice president for corporate social responsibility for Entergy Corporation, issued a challenge to the business community to match the foundation’s $300,000 contribution and allow New Orleans to take full advantage of the maximum potential for state matching funds that are expected to be available in 2020.
“This is a unique opportunity to make a transformational impact on the lives of working parents in our community,” said Riddlebarger. “More children will have access to high-quality early care and will prepare them for greater success in life. Parents will be able to work and provide a more stable future for their families. And businesses will benefit from having employees who are more productive having the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their children are well cared for while they are at work. This is truly a win-win. Let’s leave no money on the table. Our families and our children deserve it and they need it.”
83% of low-income families in New Orleans lack access to affordable, high-quality early childhood education. If fully funded at $3.6 million, New Orleans would potentially be able to draw down the full state match and increase the number of children served to 500, a 40% increase over 2019 funding.
Research indicates that every $1 invested in high-quality early child education yields up to $9 in societal benefits. Research also shows that lack of affordable childcare is a determinant factor keeping parents who are unemployed out of the workforce. An Entergy-funded study showed that gaps in childcare costs Louisiana employers $816 million annually -- a $1.1 billion loss to the state economy.
Entergy began actively supporting and funding advocacy for investments in early childhood in the early 2000s. During that time, state and federal funding have increased by more than $300 million expanding access to high-quality early child education for almost 100,000 more low-income pre-school children in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
For more than 100 years, Entergy has powered life in our communities through strategic philanthropy, volunteerism and advocacy. Entergy’s corporate social responsibility initiatives help create and sustain thriving communities, position the company for sustainable growth and are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Our top CSR priorities are education/workforce development, poverty solutions/social services and environmental programs. Each year, Entergy contributes $16-18 million in grants from shareholder dollars to more than 2,000 nonprofit organizations in the communities where we operate. In addition, our employees volunteer approximately 112,000 hours in those communities. Learn more about our corporate social responsibility initiatives by visiting entergy.com/community.