Northern Colorado businesses are working hard to fill workforce needs. One of the main barriers is the availability and cost of child care, which can run as high as $16,000 annually for infant care. Teaching Tree, a nonprofit with facilities in Fort Collins and Loveland, has provided quality child care since 1970, with much of this care supporting low-moderate income families. Teaching Tree is undertaking an ambitious expansion that will double its child care capacity in Fort Collins.
Serving children from infancy through age five, Teaching Tree provides stimulating programs, healthy meals, and recreation, all geared to develop the whole child. Teaching Tree currently supports 49 children in Loveland, and 101 at its Fort Collins center, located in a city-owned building that Teaching Tree shares with United Way of Larimer County. Upon learning of United Way’s plans to relocate, Teaching Tree entered into a unique partnership with United Way and the City to expand in place, enabling the center to double in size and increase its child care capacity to over 200 kids!
Anne Lance, Teaching Tree’s Executive Director since 2002, was referred to the Larimer SBDC by the City of Fort Collins Social Sustainability office. The expansion would require $2M in capital funding, plus projections that Teaching Tree could continue to operate successfully. “Tapping into the expertise of the SBDC help guide our development of a business plan, complete with cost projections,” said Anne.
Anne and Teaching Tree’s long-time grant writer, Kathy Hayes, had several meetings with the SBDC to develop the plan, including financials. “The SBDC helped us develop a concise business plan and provided a lot of help with financials, cost projections and organizational charts,” Anne said. “They recommended we get a line-of-credit to help with cash flow unpredictability. A big key was when the SBDC helped present the plan to our board. They gave a simplified view from an outsider’s perspective, which was informative, especially to our newer board members.”
Teaching Tree has already raised over 70% of the $2M required for the expansion, and is also evaluating low-interest financing options. The facility expansion is expected to be completed in early 2020.
The Larimer SBDC is proud to assist a great organization like Teaching Tree!