The National Head Start Association says that a donation of $10 million from two philanthropists will help keep Head Start programs in six states, including Missouri, from closing during the federal government shutdown.
Missouri is just one of the six states that have had some of its Head Start programs defunded by the government shutdown at the end of its first week. The NHSA said these donations will help more than 7,000 children from low-income families remain in the program during the federal government shutdown in those states. Columbia Head Start programs are ineligible for the award because of a contractual funding agreement with the federal government that is valid until next year.
Columbia Worley Head Start coordinator Lesley Fannin said the program hasn’t been seriously affected so far, and she’s living by day-to-day information.
“We’ve had quite a few parents asking us," Fannin said. "We told them that as soon as we knew anything, they would be the first to know if we did have to close our doors.”
Central Missouri Community Action Executive Director Darin Preis said the donation will go to less fortunate programs in Missouri that are about to close.
“We’re fortunate that our funding came from 2013 appropriations so our programs don’t have to shut down, but it makes for really difficult planning when we can’t forecast beyond a couple of months,” Preis said.
Preis said the federal government shutdown has forced some community action centers across the state to shut down, but that he and his colleagues have been meeting every day to discuss the situation.