Houston-based philanthropists John and Laura Arnold have extended $10 million in emergency funding support to the National Head Start Association, money that will be used to reopen Head Start centers that closed and keep open centers on the brink of closure because of the federal government shutdown.
The federal budget impasse was expected to affect up to 19,000 children who are served by 23 Head Start grantees that received their federal funding on Oct. 1. (There are about 1,600 Head Start grantees in all, and budget allocations are distributed throughout the calendar year.)
Centers in six states—Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina—that together served about 7,000 children had to close immediately. Others had enough money to stay open for a short time, but were expected to close over the course of the month if the funding was not restored. If the government does not reopen by Nov. 1, additional Head Start programs serving more than 86,000 children in 41 states and one U.S. territory stand to lose access to funding.
The Arnolds came forward last week and offered assistance, according to the National Head Start Association, an advocacy group representing Head Start providers. If the federal government restores funding sufficient for 52 weeks, the centers will repay the funds made available by the association at no interest.
A version of this article appeared in the October 16, 2013 edition of Education Week as Philanthropists Devote $10 million to Keep Head Start Centers Open