LISC Helps Early Childhood Centers 'Go Green'

Dec 01, 2010, 14:25 ET from Local Initiatives Support Corporation

New LISC Guide Focuses on High-Impact Green Design, Capital Improvements and Operations

NEW YORK, Dec. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is helping child care centers "go green" with a new resource guide detailing environmentally sound building and facility management practices tailored specifically to the needs of this sector.

It's the latest guide from LISC's Community Investment Collaborative for Kids (CICK), a national program offering technical assistance and funding for the development and improvement of affordable early childhood education centers in low-income communities.  Previous guides have focused on facilities development, design, equipment and playgrounds.  

Amy Gillman, director of CICK, noted that early childhood centers traditionally have been slower than some other sectors to adopt green practices, in large part because of cost constraints.  "It is not for lack of interest that these organizations have shied away from going green.  It is a function of the very real financial pressure on this sector and the concern that green is a high-cost proposition that few centers can really afford."

With support from The Home Depot Foundation and the office of Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), LISC's Greening Early Childhood Centers focuses on high-impact capital investments as well as low-cost/no-cost ideas for green facilities improvements and operations, Gillman said.  

"Children deserve a healthy, safe environment to learn and grow.  Going green can pay off in the long run and this new resource guide will help more childhood centers adopt safe, cost-effective ways to improve their learning environments," said Senator Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee who secured $190,000 in federal funding for this project.

"The Home Depot Foundation is proud to be a funding partner of LISC's Greening Early Childhood  Centers guide," added Kelly Caffarelli, president of The Home Depot Foundation. "LISC deserves enormous credit for the work they are doing, and we are glad to be part of their efforts to improve the livability of local communities."

Creating healthier living and learning environments is central to LISC's Building Sustainable Communities approach to neighborhood revitalization, noted Michael Rubinger, LISC president and CEO.  "It's particularly important for our kids to have safe and healthy homes, educational facilities, parks, playgrounds and streets," he said.  "Green decisions help accomplish that, and often reduce operational expenses in the process.  That's why we've devoted so many resources to environmentally sensitive projects across the country."

Specifically, green design can help more efficiently heat and cool facilities as well as reduce air pollution and water use.  "Green design doesn't have to be more expensive, but poor design often is in the long run," Gillman said.   Other advantages range from energy cost savings and improved employee satisfaction to enhanced market appeal and improved children's health.

"Young children are the most susceptible to toxins, and they have the most to gain from a greener learning environment," noted Gillman.  "Our goal is to help developers and operators take advantage of opportunities that have a positive impact on children, the work place, and the bottom line," she said.

The LISC guide draws on the expertise of LISC's Green Development Center, of outside environmental consultants and of other early childhood education centers that have successfully gone green.  In addition to the national publication, LISC has produced separate targeted editions focused on child care centers in Rhode Island and Connecticut, both of which have been at the forefront of affordable early childhood education in low-income neighborhoods.  The guides are available online at www.lisc.org.

About LISC

LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has raised more than $9.7 billion to build or rehab more than 271,000 affordable homes and develop 40 million square feet of retail, community and educational space nationwide. LISC support has leveraged $31.1 billion in total development activity.  

LISC has invested $25 million in the planning and development of 160 child care facilities serving more than 17,000 children in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods across the country. Our direct investment has leveraged an additional $190 million in public and private resources for these projects.  

For more information, visit www.lisc.org.

CONTACT: Amy Gillman, +1-212-455-9840, agillman@lisc.org

SOURCE Local Initiatives Support Corporation



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