Skip to content

Child Care Aware of Minnesota Receives Grant to Support the CARE Fellowship


Child Care Aware of Minnesota is pleased to announce receipt of a multi-year grant from the Hopkins Early Learning Center for $200,000 in support of the Katie Williams CARE Public Policy Fellowship. The CARE (Child Care Advocates Ready to Emerge) Fellowship provides early childhood and school-age care professionals an opportunity to connect their daily work to public policy, using their voices and stories to impact change. Nearly 300 individuals throughout Minnesota have graduated from the CARE Fellowship since 2006. CARE Fellowship partners include The Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children – Minnesota School-Age Care Alliance, The Minnesota Child Care Association, and Think Small.

Sadly, the Hopkins Early Learning Center (HELC) had to cease operation at the end of 2020. (An article detailing this complex and difficult process is available on the Child Care Exchange website.) However, through the leadership of its Executive Director and former CARE Fellow Jamie Bonczyk, a portion of its assets have been donated to sustain and expand the CARE Fellowship. Specifically, the grant will allow the program to hire dedicated staff, build a stronger network of past fellows, and develop a curriculum that will count for training hours. It will also be used to incentivize participation for participants that identify as LBGTQ+; men; having a disability; Black, Indigenous, and people of color; and/or young early educators.

The CARE Fellowship partners want to express their deepest gratitude to Jamie and the board of HELC for their crucial support for the program. In this way, HELC continues to be a leader in the field, nourishing a new generation of child care and early education advocates.