RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe announced today that the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF), in consultation with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), will award five grants to local communities that have proposed innovative approaches to ensure all children eligible for the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) are able to access programming.

VECF will award $250,000 each to United Way – Thomas Jefferson Area, James Madison University, United Way of Roanoke Valley, Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area, and Wythe County Public Schools for pilots that include a variety of community partners.

“Early childhood development is critical in ensuring our children have the best opportunities to succeed in K-12 and beyond,” Governor McAuliffe said. “I introduced funding for these pilots so as to encourage bold and collaborative new approaches to ensuring any child eligible for VPI is able to benefit from the program. In order to build the workforce of the future, we must ensure that we are preparing all of our students to succeed in the new Virginia economy, beginning with high quality early childhood education.”

The funding for the grants was included in the Governor’s introduced budget and was approved by the General Assembly. Additionally, the General Assembly passed House Bill 47 (Patron: Greason) outlining its intent for the use of the funding.

“These pilots propose exciting solutions to the barriers many communities face when trying to serve at-risk children,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Dietra Trent. “When we empower and support local communities in pursuing unique and collaborative solutions, we pave the way for long term success of students and programs alike.”

“The innovative solutions proposed by each of these communities thoughtfully address unique local challenges in serving these children,” VECF President, Kathy Glazer said. “In each of the recipient communities, young students and their parents will benefit from new programs, enhanced professional development of teachers, and community supports necessary for their success.”

The proposals receiving mixed delivery preschool grants are as follows:

For more information about VECF and the pilots, please visit