The Greater Dayton School awards.

Doubling down on a good investment

When Kids & Community Partners first met SproutFive, it was a 100-year-old preschool with talented leadership and vision for the future. Now our investment is helping fund an early-child education revolution.

The organization, founded in Columbus, Ohio as Southside Early Learning, has cracked the code on making sure students are kindergarten ready. And since kindergarten readiness is an early indicator for lifelong success — and since so few students from low-income backgrounds become kindergarten-ready — the newly-named SproutFive is becoming a national model.

With its laser-like focus on the first 1,000 days of life and emphasis on brain-development best practices, SproutFive routinely produces graduating preschool classes of students from low-income backgrounds that are 100-percent kindergarten ready.

As a result of the organization’s early success and plans for the future, in 2020 Kids & Community Partners made a $2.2-million five-year investment to help the program scale regionally and eventually nationally.

Two years later — after SproutFive surpassed all its early growth metrics — we’re ripping up that agreement and replacing it with a $4 million five-year deal.

SproutFive is what K&C considers an “accelerator program” because of its potential growth.

“The fact of the matter is, we look at this work as non-profit investing,” said Kids & Community VP Chuck Denning. “If you owned a stock that continued to overperform, you’d buy more of it.

“So that’s essentially what we’re doing. SproutFive continues to produce remarkable returns for the population we want to serve, under-resourced kids, so we’re going to double down on our investment.”

The new agreement is predicated on SproutFive reaching 1,000 students with direct programming and 20,000 by teaching their methods to other preschools.

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