During Marcia Corey’s 25+ years at the Reno County Early Education Center, she witnessed the incredible power of getting an early start with special needs children. But funding to build and sustain programs was always being “borrowed” for other things.
“I know that the earlier you start, the better kids do in school,” Marcia said. “But we were always unsure of our funding, like with tobacco money that should have created over $1 billion in an endowment specifically for early education programs in Kansas. That money was redirected by the legislature to other projects.”
So, when she and her husband John were looking to donate to the community, they saw an opportunity to create a stable funding source for Reno County programs for young children. “The Community Foundation helped us outline the priorities for an endowment fund, which gives the Early Education Center director the power to prioritize money for children from birth to five with special needs,” she said.
Marcia’s hope is to both reach more children and ensure that current services will still be available generations from now. “I hope we can educate families about the importance of education right at birth with these kiddos. So many times parents think that with newborns, you just love them, feed them and change their diapers. Their brains are growing so fast, especially from birth to three. And that’s the prime time to shape that child.”