Noble Thrive by 5, an Early Childhood Coalition formed in 2020 to increase the capacity, affordability, and quality of child care and early learning in Noble County, is now expanding.
As of January 1, 2023, Noble Thrive by 5 has become Thrive by 5, serving LaGrange and Noble Counties. Rather than continue with a separate coalition in each county, Thrive by 5, along with its coordinator Jenna Anderson, has formed a unique partnership to create one coalition for both counties.
“We have all heard the saying that two is better than one and know that we will be better together,” said Andrea Howe, HR Manager for Farmers State Bank. “Noble has already showed great strides on this initiative with the addition of Jenna’s role, and we are excited to see her work come to life in LaGrange County without completely reinventing the wheel and starting from scratch.”
On Wednesday, January 11, steering committee members from both the LaGrange and Noble County early childhood coalitions met together for the first time as a combined organization to develop a shared vision and business plan. This is more than a collaboration…it’s an alliance that will take the progress already being developed in Noble County and allow the coalition to hit the ground running in LaGrange.
“Noble Thrive by 5 has seen success in supporting early learning opportunities, and we hope to learn, collaborate, and build upon that success in LaGrange County,” said Sara Patrick, Executive Director for the LaGrange County Chamber of Commerce. “We’re excited about the marriage of both coalitions because it brings an even-greater impact in LaGrange County through the bounty of experienced stakeholders at the table. Great things are coming, and after several years of working towards solutions, I personally am excited to see the tangible fruit of that work!”
Some of that progress in Noble County to increase capacity includes working with those interested in starting an early learning program and providing the support and resources they need. The most exciting project is a collaboration with the Town of Albion, which is interested in committing Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District Funds to pay a portion of the construction costs to build a new licensed child care center.
Thrive by 5 is also nearly ready to launch a Tri-Share Pilot Program to address affordability in Noble County. Funded in part by County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) dollars budgeted by the Noble County Commissioners, this program will drastically cut child care costs for families, while engaging employers to provide a unique benefit to retain and attract employees.
“What I’ve discovered in the role as coalition coordinator is that this work is about finding opportunities,” said Thrive by 5 Coordinator Jenna Anderson. “By building relationships, working with a variety of organizations, and nurturing ideas, we will find those opportunities and develop them into something that can truly make a difference.”
There is power in numbers and Thrive by 5 has effectively doubled its resources.
“As collaborative organizations of diverse members who are working toward a common goal, one coalition gives us the opportunity to combine and leverage resources from multiple and diverse sources,” explained Margarita White, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Noble County.
Thrive by 5 isn’t alone in this work. It also has the support of the Northeast Indiana Regional Early Childhood Coalition (NEIRECC), which works to support and build local coalitions in our eleven counties.
“The child care crisis is complex and will take a concerted effort, we can work smarter and go farther together,” said Allie Sutherland, NEIRECC Coordinator. “Working together we can pool resources and make a larger impact for longer. We can also ensure we can continue the work and not continually start and stop efforts.”
These relationships are important to the success of this work.
“The lack of childcare and early learning opportunities affects all counties in northeast Indiana and across the state,” said Octavia Yoder, LaGrange County Community Foundation Executive Director. “This is a state-wide and regional issue and it can’t be solved by each county alone. Many people living in LaGrange and Noble counties cross county lines for work and share common interests. By partnering with a neighboring county, we can share logistic resources, reduce the programming operating costs, and focus on the important work of building communities with increased access to childcare and early learning.”
While that work focuses on increasing the capacity, affordability, and quality of early learning, long-term success is vital to our communities.
“We can support working families in our community and provide opportunities to give them peace of mind their children have access to good care,” said Yoder. “Strong families build strong communities. We want to see families thrive.”