Director, Marketing & Communications
Mile High United Way
DENVER – On Friday, March 31, Mile High United Way announced its plans to build an Early Childhood Education Center at the organization’s headquarters in Denver. Scheduled to open in 2024, the center will provide licensed slots for young children in a part of the city with extraordinary need for affordable child care.
U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper and Colorado Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera joined Mile High United Way President and CEO Christine Benero for the ceremony held at Mile High United Way’s Morgridge Center for Community Change at 711 Park Ave., in Denver. Other speakers included Ryan Beiser, PNC regional president for Colorado and Mile High United Way trustee, and Pamela Harris, Mile High Early Learning president and CEO.
“As Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, I saw firsthand how important early child care and education are for our kids, and as senator, it’s an issue I continue to hear about from Coloradans everywhere I go,” said Sen. Bennet. “Too many parents working two or three jobs still can’t afford child care and struggle to break the cycle of poverty for their kids — no matter how hard they work. I’m grateful to Mile High United Way for stepping up to provide affordable, accessible high-quality child care for working and low-income families and to educate the next generation of childhood educators.”
“Let’s give Colorado kids a better life when they’re young,” said Sen. Hickenlooper. “Mile High United Way’s new Early Childhood Education Center will help Denver’s kids become thriving adults.”
The immediate community surrounding the Mile High United Way building, comprised of Five Points, Curtis Park, Capitol Hill and Lincoln Park, is classified as a child care desert, where there are enough slots for only 45% of children under age 5. To meet this critical basic need for families in the community, Mile High United Way is converting its conference center into an on-site, best-in-class early childhood education center that prioritizes low-income families and infant and toddler care.
The center will provide:
- High-quality child care slots for up to 60 families with children as old as 5.
- Five rooms: two for infants, two for toddlers and one for preschool-age children.
- At least 70% of the slots for families eligible for Colorado Child Care Assistance Program.
- Workforce development opportunities for educators and wraparound support for families.
“For 135 years, Mile High United Way has risen to meet the most critical challenges facing families in our community, and there is no more important issue than early child care and education. It is why Mile High United Way has put a stake in the ground,” said Benero.
“We know we do not have enough child care available for children who need it in Colorado and that young children are successful when they start school ready to learn. That’s why we, in partnership with Mile High Early Learning, are going to put everything into action at our very own building with the creation of the Early Childhood Education Center at Mile High United Way. This is the most exciting announcement I’ve been able to make during my 15 years as president and CEO.”
Long-time partner Mile High Early Learning will provide the center’s early childhood education services. For 50 years, the Montessori-inspired early care and learning provider has been committed to supporting Colorado families and prioritizing equitable outcomes for all children. Mile High United Way has supported Mile High Early Learning since the provider’s founding by helping to fund and establish care centers throughout Metro Denver.
“This is a true collaboration between Mile High United Way and Mile High Early Learning,” said Dr. Harris, with Mile High Early Learning. “We are co-designing this space and partnering to ensure that families have the funding support to bring their children here. I believe that this new early learning center sets the stage for how we can move forward and really solve the issue of accessible, affordable, high-quality early care and education for all families who want it.”
Mile High United Way’s Early Childhood Education Center also serves as a central component of its long-term United for Families program, which supports innovative solutions to the community’s toughest childcare and education challenges. Thanks to the PNC Foundation and a 2020 gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the work of United for Families is possible.
“The need for quality child care and the wraparound services that families need to thrive are well-documented, and PNC supports Mile High United Way in the critical work of caring for young children and their families in our communities,” said Ryan Beiser, PNC regional president for Colorado. “Being a national main street bank means we are truly embedded in the fabric of the communities where we live and work – and we respond to their needs accordingly.”
Partners Mortenson Construction and Davis Partnership Architects helped bring the vision for the Early Childhood Center to life. Mortenson, a top 20 U.S. builder, developer and engineering services provider, was named as Mile High United Way’s Champion of Hope award winner in 2021.
Please contact Andrew Keating (email@example.com, 720-701-0666) to obtain photos, B-roll footage or additional quotes.
About Mile High United Way
Working side-by-side with the community, Mile High United Way takes on critical human services issues facing our seven-county footprint, including the Metro Denver, Boulder and Broomfield communities. Our united approach changes the odds for all children, families, and individuals in our community, so that all have the opportunity to succeed. Learn more at unitedwaydenver.org and follow us on social media @UnitedWayDenver.
About Mile High Early Learning
Mile High Early Learning ensures all children thrive by cultivating every child’s potential, engaging families, and championing our early learning workforce. Founded in 1972, Mile High Early Learning is Denver’s oldest and largest provider of subsidized high quality early childhood care and education and serves over 1,000 children and families each year through its early learning centers and community-based programs. Learn more at milehighearlylearning.org.
About PNC Foundation
The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (www.pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through PNC Grow Up Great®, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.