Heritage Fund receives grant to partner with local organizations on early learning initiatives

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COLUMBUS, Ind. — The Heritage Fund the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County has been awarded $245,000 to partner with local organizations on early learning initiatives.

The local community foundation is among 86 organizations within the state that are receiving funds from the Early Years Initiative, with Early Learning Indiana announcing $31 million in grants on Wednesday.

“We were encouraged by the range of proposals received from community organizations that care deeply about ensuring infants and toddlers in their communities develop the foundational knowledge and skills that support their future learning and development,” said Early Learning Indiana President and CEO Maureen Weber. “We only have a few short years to set our youngest Hoosiers on a path to thrive in life, and the work of these organizations across the state will enable us to make the most of these years while deepening our understanding about which efforts are most effective.”

According to a Early Learning Indiana, the Heritage Fund will use its grant funds for two projects. One is to work with the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. to expand the Family School Partners home visiting program to serve 50 additional children with two new positions, one bilingual and the other focused on outreach to African American families.

Family School Partners describes itself as a program providing educational in-home visitation for children from infancy up to five years old. Through home visits twice a month, parent educators assist other parents in fostering “a stimulating, nurturing home environment through the use of curricular materials appropriate for children’s ages with the goal of the children entering school developmentally prepared for success.”

Additionally, the Heritage Fund will work with the Bartholomew County Public Library and local healthcare providers to expand the Growing Readers program.

According to library officials, the program’s goal is for kids to hear 1,000 books before they start kindergarten.