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The Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County earns more than $69,000 in community investment funding from United Way Suncoast

The UWS award, part of a $6.05 million investment in the community, will support the ALICE Project.


ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households will continue to get assistance from an Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County program that has earned added support from United Way Suncoast.

The Coalition will receive $69,112 in Community Investment funding from United Way Suncoast (UWS) for its ALICE Project program. The organization administers School Readiness and Voluntary Prekindergarten programs in Hillsborough County, offers teacher training and coaching, and provides Child Care Resource and Referral along with other services that daily serve more than 30,000 children and their families.

“We are honored to continue our relationship with United Way Suncoast for another year. In Hillsborough County, 37 percent of families with children are living in poverty or don’t earn enough to support their families,” said Gordon L. Gillette, CEO of the coalition. “The funding we received from United Way combined with matching funds from the State of Florida provides the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County with the ability to provide affordable childcare to families who earn more than the qualifying income level but struggle to afford childcare. Working together, we are preparing every child for kindergarten and ensuring our youngest children grown up to achieve anything they can imagine.”

The lasting community impact of the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough’s efforts aligns with United Way’s priorities. As households continue to grapple with the financial fallout of the pandemic and parents strive to navigate a challenging educational year, United Way Suncoast has stepped up with a $6.05 million boost to 77 area nonprofits for the 2022 fiscal year.

UWS continues its 97-year mission of lifting up the community by sustaining its focus on four priority areas: early learning, youth success, financial stability and asset development. The investment extends to all five counties in UWS’ region – DeSoto, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota – and underscores the organization’s long-time commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We are proud to support high-impact programs that will do so much good across our region,” said United Way Suncoast CEO Jessica Muroff. “As we look to emerge from the pandemic and strengthen our commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion with a new strategic vision, it’s never been more important to advocate for our community. Through our partnerships and expertise, we will continue to create bold solutions to our biggest challenges – uplifting lives and achieving equity for generations to come.”

For the second consecutive year, the organization convened a group of dedicated volunteers who conducted a thoughtful and thorough job in choosing the nonprofits. The allocation, an increase of more than $400,000 from the 2020 allocation, will impact nearly 150,000 people in UWS’ five-county region. UWS also raised and distributed $1.9 million for pandemic relief over a six-week period in 2020.

Each grant will fund specific programs that support the interconnected priority areas and help ALICE (Asset, Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) families who stand just one unexpected expense from enduring hardship.

The Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County

The Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County was established by the Florida Legislature in 1999 to administer federal and state childcare funds, support local quality childcare initiatives, and build a strong community-based infrastructure for integrated early childhood education services in Hillsborough County. The coalition ensures families have access to affordable, quality early learning services and out-of-school time services.

About United Way Suncoast

United Way Suncoast severs the constraints that prevent families from thriving. We dismantle the barriers to human prosperity, uniting our community along the way. When we provide pathways to early learning, financial stability and youth success, we lift up families as they cultivate a future beyond circumstantial constraints. We provide choices. We provide opportunities. We create space for families to grow without limitations, elevating communities by building a future with equity for all. We are proud to serve the people of DeSoto, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties by operating and funding services and programs to help our community have the Freedom To Rise.