There are some new names and faces behind the YoungStar Micro-Grant team as Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA) takes on the management of YoungStar micro-grants. Micro-Grant funding is available to programs that are participating in the YoungStar program and who have requested and are receiving technical assistance. These funds can be spent on materials, resources, and professional development opportunities that directly relate to a child care program’s Quality Improvement Plan (QIP). All purchase requests for micro-grants are processed and coordinated by the Micro-Grant Department: (*Reference the YoungStar regional map).
For general information questions about orders, timelines, or changes to a purchase plan:
- Gloria Campos, Micro-Grant Purchasing Specialist and micro-grant contact for providers in the Southeastern and Milwaukee regions, offers Spanish language support for all regions. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Amanda Rose, Micro-Grant Purchasing Specialist and micro-grant contact for providers in the Northeastern, Western and Southern regions. (email@example.com)
- Chanel Ly, SFTA Office Manager, Hmong language support and micro-grant contact for providers in the Northern region (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For questions about returns or reimbursements:
Sarah Ross Berry, Micro-Grant Financial Specialist (email@example.com).
For questions about policies and administration of the YoungStar Micro-Grant Program:
Sherri Underwood, Micro-Grant Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Assigning a specific Micro-Grant staff member to each YoungStar region for providers to contact has already noticeably decreased e-mails sent to the general micro-grant e-mail, showing providers are engaging more directly with the individuals serving their regions to obtain the information they need. This is not the only update the Micro-Grant Program has seen. Changes are being made to the YoungStar micro-grant process that you may have noticed if you are a provider receiving a micro-grant:
- Reimbursements have gone out weekly to providers since SFTA took over the Micro-Grant Program in July of 2016. This allows providers to receive their money more quickly.
- Programs will soon also be receiving their micro-grant materials faster, thanks to extra staff support that is being added to the micro-grant purchasing process (Chanel Ly).
- The Micro-Grant Program is continuing to work to ensure that there is equal access to micro-grant materials and resources by working to translate materials into Spanish, and ensuring that Gloria is available to provide Spanish language support and Chanel is available to provide Hmong language support, as needed.
- A focused effort is being made by the entire Micro-Grant Program to increase communications with Technical Consultants (TCs) regarding micro-grants. This means sharing micro-grant information on regular TC calls, including TCs on micro-grant e-mails to the providers they serve, weekly e-blasts to TCs and Micro-Grant staff taking more detailed notes regarding micro-grant interactions with providers that TCs can review. This gives providers the option to talk to their TC, who they know and trust, about their micro-grant.
- Providers can access current micro-grant handbooks through their local YoungStar office by request (See the YoungStar Regional Map).
- The Micro-Grant Program recently added a new vendor that providers can order discounted materials from, “S&S Worldwide,” to better meet the needs of school-age programs.
It is the Micro-Grant Program’s goal to make navigating the Micro-Grant Program simpler and more straight-forward for providers, and recent changes are a step in that direction. What all of this translates to out in the field is that child care programs are getting high quality materials and supports more quickly and efficiently to further their QIPs, which builds more developmentally supportive child care environments for children and their families. The Micro-Grant Program Staff are a crucial link in ensuring providers can use their micro-grants in a timely manner to support the quality of their programs and the children they serve.
Check out SFTA’s newest website addition, the Micro-Grant Program page for more information and resources on micro-grants.
This article was originally published in the SFTA Q4 2016 newsletter. Subscribe to our newsletters and other e-publications here.