Candelen Receives Multiple Awards to Help Struggling Home-Based Caregivers and Child Care Centers

May 19, 2020  |  Published by

PHOENIX (May 19, 2020) – Candelen has been awarded $100,000 to establish a regional emergency fund to provide relief grants to non-licensed home-based child care providers by Home Grown, a national collaborative of funders committed to improving the quality of and access to home-based child care. Candelen is partnering with Arizona’s Children Association, the United Way of Pinal County, and Child Care Resource & Referral - Arizona, a program of Child & Family Resources, to distribute cash gift cards to family, friend and neighbor home based child care providers across the State of Arizona.

Candelen will operate as the administrative home for the regional emergency fund. The eligible caregivers' homes are not currently licensed by Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) or certified by the Department of Economic Security (DES) to be a family child care home.

It is the collaborating organizations’ goal to provide family, friend, and neighbor caregivers with economic support and to gather data on the impact of COVID-19 on employment status in these type of caregivers’ households. This award will help 366 caregivers with a $300 cash gift card. Candelen is providing matching funds to the Home Grown award, beginning with $10,000 from their tax credit donation campaign raised earlier this year and will continue fundraising efforts with the community.

“We are committed to our mission of resourcing and supporting anyone who impacts kids and are grateful to be collaborating with other dedicated and passionate organizations in Arizona,” stated Nicole Newhouse, Candelen CEO. “These home-based child care providers care for more than 60% of our kids under the age of five year-round and we need to strengthen and support them during this crisis.”

Candelen has also received a $10,260 award from United Way of Northern Arizona which will be distributed directly to child care centers that are struggling to remain open and serve children of essential workers in the Flagstaff area. Due to COVID-19, 82% of licensed child care centers in Flagstaff have been forced to close and those centers that have remained open are operating far below capacity, creating a dire financial situation. Though providing an important service to essential employees and the community, these centers continue to struggle to keep their doors open. Support from the United Way of Northern Arizona will allow these services to continue to be provided and help maintain a healthy and stable child care industry for rebuilding the economy and getting families back to work. Candelen and First Things First have collaborated to connect with local child care centers and discuss their financial needs in the light of COVID-19, self-quarantining, and employee furloughs. Candelen will serve as the administrative home for UWNA funds and distribute them directly to each child care center that has made a request.

"We are incredibly grateful to all the individuals and organizations in our community who are doing their part to support children and families during these tough times," said Peter Van Wyck, First Things First Regional Director and member of the Social Safety Net Services Coalition. "We appreciate the United Way of Northern Arizona stepping up to help child care providers with critical needs so that they can focus on their primary mission: to keep kids safe and learning while their parents work or head back to work."


About Candelen

Candelen was founded in 1976 as a private, nonprofit corporation dedicated to shaping the future of Arizona by enhancing the quality of care for children. Every program at Candelen meets a unique set of needs within the childcare and early education field. The foundation of brain development starts before birth and continues through adulthood. However, in the first few years of life, more than 1 million new neural connections are formed per second. Vision, hearing, language and higher cognitive function are at the peak of development from birth to five years old.

Candelen works passionately to ensure that young children have the foundation they need to lead happy, successful, productive lives. We are fueled by our core values of the relentless pursuit of challenge, excellence and humility to provide support, training, education, and professional development to the entire spectrum of those that care for and educate young children: parents, family, friends, neighbors, child care providers (both regulated and unregulated), early childhood educators, administrators, and leaders.


About Home Grown

Home Grown is a national collaborative of funders committed to improving the quality of and access to home-based child care. The members of Home Grown are collaborating to strategically invest in innovative approaches and scale what works in order to drive the most change as quickly as possible. The collaborative is backed by the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, Gary Community Investments, Heinz Endowments, Heising-Simons Foundation, Imaginable Futures (a venture of The Omidyar Group), Klingenstein Philanthropies, MAEVA Social Capital, Merage Foundations, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Pritzker Children’s Initiative. Home Grown has launched a series of resources in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that home-based providers, who play a critical role in supporting the American workforce, are represented in COVID- 19 policy solutions. By meeting the immediate needs of providers, and connecting their needs to local, state and federal policy actions, Home Grow is working to sustain the supply of home-based child care and prevent any sacrifices in quality of care. More at


About Arizona’s Children Association

For more than 108 years, Arizona’s Children Association (AzCA) has stayed true to “Protecting Children, Empowering Youth, Strengthening Families,” serving more than 40,000 children, individuals and families in all 15 counties each year. They are one of the oldest and largest statewide child welfare and behavioral health nonprofit agencies in Arizona. Learn more at


About United Way of Pinal County

Since 1981, the United Way of Pinal County (UWPC) has been serving our communities with programs which advocate for the Health, Education and Financial Stability of every person in Pinal County. Uniting generosity with community, UWPC programs are designed to promote lasting change in people’s lives. This begins with early childhood education programming, and the support of our childcare providers.

The UWPC Family, Friend & Neighbor Program, funded by First Things First, provides early childhood education trainings, resources and materials to improve the quality of family childcare environments throughout Pinal County. Serving grandparents, foster parents, and other family, friend and neighbor childcare providers, the FFN Program ensures that children being cared for in an in-home setting are receiving the education and materials they need to succeed.


About Child Care Resource & Referral - Arizona, a program of Child & Family Resources

Child Care Resource & Referral - AZ, a statewide program of Child & Family Resources, Inc. is proud to partner with the Association for Supportive Child Care to support our most vulnerable and under resourced family child care home providers. We are extremely grateful to Home Grown for establishing an emergency response fund in light of COVID-19 and recognizing the critical importance and role of home-based family child care programs.


About First Things First

First Things First works at the state and local levels to give Arizona children the opportunity to arrive at kindergarten healthy and ready to succeed. We invest in proven programs and innovative strategies through grants to community organizations that provide services to children and families. We provide professional expertise and oversight to support local programs and statewide initiatives. And we collaborate with other early childhood system partners to make even more impact.


About United Way of Northern Arizona

Serving the Flagstaff community since 1967, United Way of Northern Arizona (UWNA) is more committed than ever to collaborate with our valued partners to coordinate efforts and leverage resources to invest in the power and potential of successful and resilient youth. Investing in successful, resilient youth to create thriving communities is why UWNA exists. With our partners we are focusing on children and youth, ages 0-18, to invest in the sustainable life skills that our youth will use throughout their lives to navigate challenges and seize opportunities.

Madeleine Lovett

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