RENSSELAER — Jasper Newton Foundation (JNF) is partnering with Fair Oaks Farms, LLC and Lake States Dairy Center, Inc. to bring $150,000 in funding to increase the access and availability of high-quality early childhood education classroom opportunities in Jasper and Newton counties.
Fair Oaks Farms, LLC has committed the funds in donations through JNF to increase the number of classroom seats in both counties over the next three years.
“Partnerships among local businesses, philanthropic organizations and elected officials are key to growing and thriving communities,” said Brienne Hooker, executive director of the Jasper Newton Foundation. “Fair Oaks Farms, LLC has set the bar for the next level of partnership that focuses on providing quality of life amenities for their employees who drive their business forward and support our local economy.”
Jasper and Newton counties have been identified by the State of Indiana as ‘childcare deserts’ and lack the capacity to meet all the childcare needs of local working families.
In 2019, JNF conducted various community listening events, stakeholder meetings, town halls and digital surveys to gather information about needs and wants in their constituent counties. The communities agreed with the State of Indiana. Access to quality childcare came back as one of the primary needs and JNF has since been investing in the growth of available seats in Jasper and Newton counties.
“Fair Oaks Farms, LLC, believes in investing in our community by creating economic and social opportunity. We are excited to partner with JNF to help provide high-quality early childhood education that is critical to families in the workforce,” said Ryan Weaver, general manager of Fair Oaks Farms, LLC.
In October of 2020, the Right Steps Goodland Early Learning Center opened with 28 available seats for children in Newton County. The partnership established among the Newton County Childcare Coalition, Newton County Government and local businesses made this center possible.
Community Preschool in Roselawn is the only licensed preschool ministry in Newton County and is supported by grants from the Newton County Early Childhood Education Fund and supported through JNF. The Newton County Childcare Coalition continues to offer learning events each year January through April to in-home care providers in Newton County. These learning events are designed to help childcare providers who work privately in their homes gather educational tools and curriculum to add to their education offerings. The coalition’s goal is to create a network of high-quality care for Newton County families so that Newton County children are kindergarten ready.
JNF continues to support the work of the Growing Patch Learning Center in Remington – the only licensed center in Jasper County to date. Appleseed Childhood Education will open its 73 seat, high-quality early learning center in Rensselaer in early 2023, Appletree. The creation of this center will double the amount of licensed childcare seats in Jasper County.
About Fair Oaks Farms, LLC:
Fair Oaks Farms, LLC, which opened in 2004, provides an immersive experience where guests come to explore family-owned farms and reconnect with nature, animals, and our planet. Recognized as the #1 agritourism destination in the Midwest, Fair Oaks Farms, LLC provides an escape to the country with acres of great fun, fresh food, and learning for the entire family. Fair Oaks Farms, LLC offers elegant event spaces that accommodate everything from conferences to weddings and concerts and delights their guests with the kitchen’s mouth-watering farm-to-table food which also includes relaxing accommodations with an on-site hotel.
About Lake Sates Dairy Center, Inc.:
Lake States Dairy Center, Inc. is an Indiana nonprofit corporation operating at Fair Oaks Farms, LLC’s scenic campus which provides a variety of educational offerings, enrichment programs, tours, and a connection to the community where our guests can learn about our animals, farming practices, and nutrition, through daily tours of modern, working farms and experiential museums in order to educate the public about the dairy and agricultural industry.
About the Jasper Newton Foundation:
The Jasper Newton Foundation Inc. is a local nonprofit organization that connects residents of jasper county and newton county, indiana, with causes they care about through coordinated investments and strategic grantmaking. It’s a way for local people to come together and solve local challenges facing Jasper and Newton Counties every day, leaving a long-term impact and legacy in the community. For more information, visit jaspernewtonfoundation.org.