Fall 2013


Mark Your Calendar!

Providers Event art

2014 Child Care Providers’ Appreciation & Training

Scheduled for February 22, 2014



Northland launches Parent Aware Pathways to enhance providers’ journey to achieve quality rating


Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative's 10th Anniversary


Early Childhood Funding Highlights

Parent Aware Pathways launches in St. Louis County

Northland Foundation initiative will enhance the process for licensed child care providers to become quality-rated

PAP logoThe Northland Foundation is rolling out a new, three-year initiative which aims to dramatically increase the number of Parent Aware quality-rated child care providers in St. Louis County. Parent Aware Pathways will reach out to licensed child care providers, both centers and home-based providers, to help them achieve, enhance, and maintain Parent Aware quality ratings. This initiative’s underlying goal is to increase availability of and access to quality early care and education throughout the county, in order to improve children’s school readiness. The three-year collaboration is supported with generous funding from the Mardag Foundation.

child care settingThe Northland Foundation is working closely with Child Care Aware Minnesota Northeast to implement Parent Aware Pathways. Child Care Aware has been tasked by the State of Minnesota with reaching the benchmark of 163 rated providers in St. Louis County by 2016.

“We are very excited to see public and private dollars working together to help ensure quality programs for young children and their families,” said Wendy Walburg, Regional Coordinator, Child Care Aware Minnesota, Northeast District.

Planned Strategies

Parent Aware Pathways will undertake the following strategies over the next three years:

  • Build awareness among early care and education providers and parents with young children as to the importance of quality early care and education environments and school readiness.

  • Expand the number of Parent Aware Trainers in northeastern Minnesota.

  • Offer an array of training workshops and incentives to support and strengthen early care and education providers, as well as encourage their participation in the Parent Aware Quality Rating System.

  • Engage providers in becoming Parent Aware rated through training incentives, technical assistance, and peer learning.

  • Provide support to help providers already Parent Aware rated to maintain their rating and/or continue to move up the rating scale through training incentives and peer learning.

Upcoming Outreach Activities

Early Childhood Community Forums - Featuring Rob Grunewald, Economist, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank; Karen Cadigan, former Director of the Minnesota Office of Early Learning; and other presenters. For more details, visit EVENTS on the Northland Foundation website.

  • Duluth: Monday, November 18th, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Lake Superior College, Room H3201

  • Virginia: Tuesday, November 19th, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Mesabi Range College, theater

Child Care Provider Focus Groups

  • Eveleth: Monday, December 2nd, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Rustic Rock Chop House

  • Duluth: Tuesday, December 10th, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Country Inn & Suites on Haines Road

“Northland Foundation has a longstanding history of supporting early care and education in the region,” stated Lynn Haglin, Vice President/KIDS PLUS Director at the Northland Foundation.

“Our partnership with the Mardag Foundation and Child Care Aware to implement this demonstration program will not only ensure a stronger start in life for young children in St. Louis County but also, we hope, serve as a model for increasing quality rating participation statewide,” added Haglin.

Watch for more information and updates on this exciting initiative.

Parent Aware Pathways partners

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Funding Partners whose generosity has helped make the Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative possible:

The McKnight Foundation

Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation

Buuck Family Foundation

Robins, Kaplan, Miller, & Ciresi Foundation for Children

Otto Bremer Foundation

The Sheltering Arms Foundation

Mardag Foundation

Additional resources have been provided by corporations and many other local and regional partners.

Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative celebrates 10 years of prioritizing our youngest citizens

Northeastern Minnesota coalitions continue accomplishments and advocacy on behalf of young children and families

It has been a decade since the Northland Foundation, in partnership with the five other Minnesota Initiative Foundations (MIFs) launched a pioneering effort to focus attention and resources on Greater Minnesota’s youngest children. Fast forward to today, and the Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative has made incredible strides in changing how business is done at the local, regional, and state levels in relation to Minnesota children birth to age 5.

MECI anniversary logoWhat began as a program piloted in each of the six rural MIF serve areas, among them the seven-county region of northeastern Minnesota served by the Northland Foundation, has since blossomed into 90 community-based grassroots coalitions located through the state. In northeastern Minnesota, there are 13 coalitions serving 46 rural communities, including Duluth, each of which has actively engaged hundreds of people and implemented projects to increase recognition of early childhood as a critical time in the life of a child among a broad array of stakeholders; provide professional development opportunities; and strengthen early childhood and K-12 connections.

The Proctor and Hermantown communities collaborated to create one of the first Early Childhood Coalition sites in Minnesota back in 2003.

“Our Bridges to Kindergarten program has served as a model program benefiting families with young children in not only Proctor and Hermantown but also across the region and state,” stated Lori Fichtner, coalition coordinator.

The Northland Foundation will officially celebrate the anniversary in April, when many of the community champions shaping the landscape of early childhood in the region will gather at the 2014 Early Childhood Summit.

“We have had the pleasure of working with tremendous partners to move the dial on early childhood,” stated Lynn Haglin, Vice President/KIDS PLUS Director at the Northland Foundation.

“It has been a privilege to be part of this incredible statewide movement that has given a voice to rural areas, and we are eager to build upon it in the coming years,” she concluded.

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Essentia Health logo

Essentia Health has committed $25,000 to support Thrive's work on infant and early childhood mental health during the coming year.






Sheltering Arms Foundation logo

A grant from The Sheltering Arms Foundation is helping to implement Reading Pals during the 2013-14 school year.

Early Childhood Funding Highlights

Essentia Health renews its strong commitment to Thrive Initiative

ThriveLongtime funding partners of the Northland Foundation, Essentia Health has renewed its support for the Thrive Initiative in northeastern Minnesota. The $25,000 grant to help underwrite Thrive will enable this coalition of mental health, early childhood, education, and social services professionals to continue meeting regularly, connecting on projects and collaborations, and furthering their efforts to impact systems change and improve access to mental health services for families of very young children.

Essentia Health is a champion for children and families, and their continued commitment to Thrive is making a great difference in the way service providers 'do business' in the region in relation to the social and emotional well-being of infants, young children, and their families,” stated Lynn Haglin, Vice President/KIDS PLUS Director.

Reading Pals receives support from The Sheltering Arms Foundation

Reading PalsThe Sheltering Arms Foundation has awarded a two-year grant to the Northland Foundation in support of the Reading Pals initiative which was piloted last year in McGregor, Moose Lake, and Proctor.

Reading Pals pairs primarily older adults with children age 3 to grade 3 in school and child care settings to work on their literacy and reading skills.

“The feedback we received last year from the older adults and schools involved in the pilot project was very positive,” said Lynn Haglin, Northland Foundation Vice President/KIDS PLUS Director, “and we are so pleased that The Sheltering Arms Foundation will help us continue this program,” said Haglin.

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