$75,000 Gift to United Way Childcare Initiative

A gift from a Salina manufacturer to a Salina service agency will help in its community childcare mission.  Great Plains Manufacturing has made a $75,000 donation to the Salina Area United Way’s Early Childhood Initiative Fund.

According to the United Way, the donation will help sponsor 15 local childcare teachers to ensure that they earn a living wage, helping to keep our centers fully staffed, which will in return open more childcare slots.

The agency says this donation is the first key step towards making strong and lasting steps in combating childcare issues and shortages due to workforce in Saline County. Great Plains Manufacturing is recognized as the official Diamond Donor and the first local business that has donated to the Early Childhood Initiative Fund.

“Quality childcare is a necessity for building a strong, viable community, and childcare providers deserve to earn a livable wage,” says David Disberger, President and CEO of Great Plains Manufacturing. “Great Plains Manufacturing is pleased to support our Salina community, to both expand the availability of childcare today and to help ensure that funds are available to support the childcare workforce in the future. We congratulate the United Way for leading the
way in developing a creative solution to a long-term problem. If the community embraces this solution, together we can improve today and provide a firm foundation for the future of childcare in Salina.”

In April, the Salina Area United Way announced the start and opening of the Early Childcare Initiative Fund.

Through this fund, local centers will be able to apply on an annual basis for wage supplement grants, to bring assistant teachers to $15/hr. and lead teachers to $18/hr. Currently nearly all childcare centers in Saline County, except for one, are paying $4 less than the wages listed above.

“We can’t thank Great Plains Manufacturing enough for their commitment to the Saline County community and helping further the childcare needs here,” says Executive Director, Claire Ludes. “This will make another big step forward in combating the childcare shortage that we are facing in Saline County by working to secure and retain workforce to care for our children.”

The United Way hopes that the Great Plains Manufacturing donation will encourage and spark other local businesses in the community to donate to the Early Childhood Initiative Fund and see the impact it can make on the workforce and recruitment and retention of workers, just like Great Plains believes.

For more information about Salina Area United Way and the Early Childhood Initiative Fund, or how you can donate, please call the SAUW office at 785-827-1312 or email the Early Childcare Initiative Director, Christina Small. Stay tuned for more upcoming information regarding the Early Childcare Initiative Fund.