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$1 Million from Prebys Foundation to Bolster Child Care

by | Feb 21, 2024 | Insights & Resources, News

New Program-Related Investment Supports Mission Driven Finance’s Care Access Real Estate Operations in San Diego County

February 20, 2024 (SAN DIEGO) — The Conrad Prebys Foundation announces a $1 million program-related investment (PRI) in Care Access Real Estate (CARE) as part of their landmark commitment to invest $100 million over the next ten years advancing the well-being of San Diego.

CARE is a real estate investment trust managed by impact asset management firm Mission Driven Finance that increases the availability of residential and commercial child care facilities for children, families, child care providers, and communities to flourish.

CARE launched in June 2023 in Clark County, Nevada with properties in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson.

In December 2023, CARE expanded to San Diego County with its first real estate parcel in the City of Lemon Grove. The PRI from Prebys Foundation is instrumental in helping CARE become operational in San Diego County, one of the most competitive real estate markets in the nation and where three out of four parents struggle to access child care (University of San Diego).

“Around the country, child care providers and the parents and children who depend on them are in crisis, as a shortage of workers combines with escalating real estate costs to limit the availability of affordable child care. This funding seeks to make a dent in that by helping secure the affordable real estate child care providers need,” said Grant Oliphant, CEO of Prebys Foundation.

“Communities and families around the United States need more child care, and child care entrepreneurs would love to expand to serve more children if they could navigate the real estate challenges,” said Laura Kohn, VP of Care & Education at Mission Driven Finance.

Prebys Foundation was established to advance excellence and shared opportunity in San Diego through investments in groundbreaking institutions, ideas, and people. Prebys Foundation has made a commitment to impact investing—investing money in entities whose work advances the mission of the foundation. This PRI, the foundation’s first, is one tangible expression of that commitment.

Unlike a regular foundation grant, a program-related investment is a charitable investment expected to offer a financial return, which, when it comes, will be paid out again to the community as another PRI or grant.

This investment augments $1 million of federal funding secured by U.S. Representative Sara Jacobs for CARE’s operations across San Diego County.

Why Care Access Real Estate? The $60 billion U.S. child care sector rests on the shoulders mainly of women of color. Roughly 10% of young children in the U.S. are cared for in a center run by the ten largest for-profit chains of child care centers, and small businesses—largely run by women—comprise a significant share of the care economy.

However, many of these small businesses currently have no choice but to operate in precarious real estate situations, such as unsupportive landlords, short-term leases, and displacement, which can create unsafe or at least sub-optimal child care environments. Additionally, conventional financing sources have perceived child care expansion projects as too small or too risky for investment.

For these reasons, child care providers who are eager to grow and often have long waitlists rarely get the opportunity to expand, consistently citing real estate issues as a source of stress and a barrier to growth.

“CARE is a novel way to grow and stabilize the care economy while helping providers build wealth,” said Kohn.

A diversified, risk-mitigated real estate portfolio of both commercial and residential properties, CARE works closely with regional partners that match vetted child care providers with properties acquired by CARE. This model is designed to achieve three impacts:

  • Expand the supply of quality child care
  • Stabilize child care businesses as a child care-friendly landlord
  • Build the wealth of child care providers

In late 2023, Markeshia Harris of Harris Kidz Learning Academy moved into a home in Clark County acquired by CARE. She recently became licensed to serve up to 12 children in the new space. She and five other providers have successfully moved into Nevada homes acquired by CARE. Markeshia’s milestone is a testament to the CARE model to acquire and renovate properties specifically for expanding licensed child care capacity.

“Thanks to Mission Driven Finance and CARE for believing in me,” Markeshia said. “CARE has put me in a position where I can thrive. I am forever grateful.”

In San Diego, CARE partner Child Development Associates recruited and screened the candidate tenants, all of whom are currently operating small family child care programs that can serve six to eight children. When providers move into a CARE home, they are expected to get licensed for a large family child care license, with which they can serve 12–14 children (with an assistant), effectively doubling their capacity.

In addition to Clark County in Nevada and San Diego County, CARE is also planning to launch operations in Detroit, MI, alongside Montessori child care providers through the Wildflower Foundation, before expanding in other markets nationwide in 2025.

To learn more about Prebys Foundation, visit prebysfdn.org. To learn more about CARE, visit missiondrivenfinance.com/care.

About Prebys Foundation

Prebys Foundation is the largest independent private foundation in San Diego County and works to create an inclusive, equitable, and dynamic future for all San Diegans. The Foundation advances excellence and shared opportunity through investments in groundbreaking institutions, ideas, and people to ensure more San Diegans are financially secure, healthy, empowered, and connected. For more information, visit prebysfdn.org.

About Mission Driven Finance

Mission Driven Finance is an impact asset management firm dedicated to building a financial system that ensures good businesses have access to sufficient, affordable capital. Built from the ground up with a single purpose—to make it easy to invest in your community—all of their funds and structured products are designed to close financial gaps that will close opportunity gaps. They work with local and national investors to help them create the impact they want and work with businesses and community partners to help them get the capital they need. Mission Driven Finance was launched in 2016 in San Diego, CA, and is a Certified B Corporation. In 2023, Mission Driven Finance was selected for ImpactAssets’ IA 50 Fund Manager list, a category for experienced impact fund managers with a minimum three-year track record. Learn more at missiondrivenfinance.com.

Media contacts:

Prebys Foundation
Sid Voorakkara
[email protected]

Mission Driven Finance
Wilda Wong
858-880-0252 x708
[email protected]