Board Accepts Child Care Funding for Low-Income Families

Published on February 22, 2020

childcare instructors reading to children at daycareThe Arlington County Board today accepted a $200,000 donation to fund high-quality child care for low-income Arlington families, the first such donation to the Arlington Community Foundation's  (ACF) Shared Prosperity initiative from a private corporation.

The grant, donated to the ACF by Nestlé, whose U.S. headquarters are in Rosslyn, will fund child care for up to seven low-income Arlington children at a time for up to two years.

"Child care is more expensive in Arlington than anywhere else in our region," Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said. "We thank the Arlington Community Foundation for pulling together government, businesses, and nonprofits to help bring down those costs for hard-working low-income families, and we thank Nestlé for being the first Arlington-based company to step up and provide funding."

The Board voted unanimously to accept the grant. To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No. 16 on the agenda for the Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, Regular County Board Meeting.

The County's Shared Prosperity Child Care Scholarship Program grew out of the Arlington Community Foundation's Shared Prosperity initiative, which brings together government, businesses, and nonprofits to prevent the displacement of Arlington's lowest-income households. The initiative has identified the lack of affordable housing; prohibitively expensive child care with limited availability; limited pathways to quality jobs that pay a living wage; and the lack of health insurance as the primary factors driving Arlington's lowest-income residents from our community.

The initiative set a goal of providing access to quality child care programs for an additional 1,000 children from low-income families and called for 200 child care scholarships to be philanthropically funded with an investment of $2.7 million annually, at an annual cost of $13,700 per scholarship.

"The burden of child care cost and limited supply leaves too many families in Arlington unable to gain and keep employment," said Arlington Community Foundation CEO Jennifer Owens. "This partnership with Nestle and Arlington County allows us to kick-start our Shared Prosperity Initiative's goal to provide safe, affordable child care to our lowest-income neighbors."

How the scholarships will be awarded

The County's Department of Human Services will distribute the funds to families referred by Human Services staff or community-based nonprofit organizations. To be eligible, families must have a gross income at or below 30 percent of the Area Median Income; must be ineligible for child care assistance through the Virginia Department of Social Services Child Care Subsidy Program; be working or searching for employment, or attending school or training, and must contribute five percent of their gross income toward the cost of care.

The County's Shared Prosperity Child Care Scholarship Program will complement existing County programs that support low-income families — including the state Child Care Subsidy, Emergency Financial Assistance, Eviction Prevention, and Housing Subsidy programs, and Medical Assistance.

About the Arlington Community Foundation

The Arlington Community Foundation is an independent charitable organization that promotes, protects and improves the quality of life for those who live or work in Arlington. It raises capital for grants and scholarships to address community needs.


Child care costs for two children in Arlington can cost up to 38 percent of the County's median income of $117,000. In 2019, nearly 2,600 children lived in families in Arlington whose income was $35,000 or less. Nearly 200 children from low-income families are currently receiving a government subsidy through Arlington. The average subsidy is $13,700 annually. Arlington's Child Care initiative is growing the supply of high-quality childcare through changes to the Zoning Ordinance, local Code and other measures meant to make child care more accessible for all. Child Care Initiative Fall 2019 Progress Report.