Child care advocates often emphasize the impact that early care and education can have on young children, for good reason – high quality child care has been shown to affect children’s outcomes long after they leave a program.
However, the link between accessible child care and a successful workforce is becoming increasingly apparent. When parents are piecing together child care at the last minute as they prepare for on-call shifts and irregular schedules, it is almost impossible for them to advance in their careers. Furthermore, child care providers themselves are key members of the workforce with a skill set that is crucial to our society. And early childhood education is critical to preparing children to succeed, paving the way for the workforce of tomorrow.
Some businesses have started to take note and recognize the link between child care and the workforce. This January, when Jim Craven – a lawyer with Wiggin and Dana – approached Mike Cammarota – a Managing Director at Accenture, a strategy, digital, consulting and operations company with offices in Hartford – about the possibility of donating some recently discovered unclaimed funds to a local nonprofit, “It was the perfect storm of things coming together,” recalls Mike.
Wiggin and Dana has supported All Our Kin from the beginning: Kim Rinehart, one of Wiggin and Dana’s partners, was a founding Board member of All Our Kin and is still on our Board of Directors today. Over the years, the law firm has provided pro bono legal services, sponsored All Our Kin events, and even housed our New Haven site during a transition time.
“Wiggin and Dana came to Accenture and told us that money had been left unclaimed in old accounts being held for Accenture,” Mike explains. “They offered to help us claim that money free of charge, as long as we donated a portion of those proceeds to charity. Kim Rinehart had introduced me to All Our Kin, and told us about what you guys do, and I thought, ‘This is perfect.’ The lightbulb went off immediately.”
Accenture chose to donate $20,000 of the recovered funds to All Our Kin. “When I was listening to Kim explain what All Our Kin does, it dawned on me that it helps people on multiple levels. First, in order to really be engaged with equality and helping people get a leg up, you have to start very early on in the process, making services available in grade school and even before. All Our Kin facilitates the opportunity for children to be in a place where they are learning and safely cared for. Second, it facilitates parents’ abilities to go out and work. As a parent, you need good child care. Without it, you’ll be worried about your kids, and that impacts your ability to perform at your job. The notion of having a safe place for your children to be is a tremendous relief. And one of the things that Accenture has always cared about is helping people succeed by doing things to increase their life skills. If you take people, train them with a skill that’s really needed, and make sure they can go out and get jobs, then that’s something that we’re delighted to support.”
Because of this collaboration with Wiggin and Dana and Accenture, All Our Kin will receive $20,000 to continue our work with family child care providers. We are incredibly grateful for this partnership, and we are thrilled that businesses like Accenture are engaged in the conversation about child care as a key workforce support. “I’ve learned in this role to think in a “circle of life” kind of way,” says Mike. “You need to think of things from beginning to end.”