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The Head Start Designation Renewal System (DRS) is an accountability system to ensure Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS) grantees are delivering high-quality and comprehensive services. The DRS system has been successful in supporting quality improvement as Head Start grantees have engaged in a wide range of quality-improvement activities. Still, the DRS is often perceived as a crisis. Rahm Emanuel...

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Have you ever accomplished something that you would have previously believed to be unlikely for you to accomplish? If so, you have firsthand knowledge of capacity building. Building capacity means enhancing the knowledge, abilities, techniques, and funds that communities and organizations require to survive, adapt, and thrive in a changing world. A transformation generated and maintained over time from within is a crucial component in...

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The Head Start Designation Renewal System (DRS) is an accountability system to ensure Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS) grantees are delivering high-quality and comprehensive services. The DRS system has been successful in supporting quality improvement as Head Start grantees have engaged in a wide range of quality-improvement activities. Many HS/EHS programs dread the process. The DRS requires a systematic evaluation of your program,...

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Culture is the air we breathe. It has an intangible presence but palpable results. When the wind is at your back, the water is calm. Everything becomes more challenging when the wind is blowing against you. Changing an organization's culture can be the most challenging component of making your nonprofit more flexible and creative. Innovation necessitates altered habits from management and staff, which runs counter to the traditional values of...

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Early Head Start program is a federally funded program that helps preschool-aged children from low-income families get a head start on their education. To help families with children younger than three, the federal government supports the Early Head Start program. The original Head Start program was enacted in 1965, but Early Head Start was not created until the Head Start Act was reauthorized in 1994. The National Advisory Committee drew up...

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Head Start was created in 1964 to assist low-income families with equitable access to schooling. President Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on Poverty" goal was to eliminate educational inequality, and one of the strategies he used was the Head Start program. In addition to helping families, one of the Head Start program's main goals was to get kids ready for school. Head Start data collection makes this possible. The Improving Head Start for School...

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In the nonprofit sector, the ability to successfully engage employees should have a much larger effect on organizational outcomes. Leaders of nonprofits know that their employees do better work when they are motivated, appreciated, and in line with their missions. Engagement is a key factor in how well and long people stay at nonprofits. When workers are interested in what they do, they are more likely to be productive and happy with their...

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The majority of non profit organizations wish to integrate foundation and government grants into their funding mix. It is a prudent course of action but not always simple. Grant research and writing require time and honed research and writing abilities. If your organization has a long-standing grants program, you may be fortunate enough to have a grant writer on staff with extensive experience. However, this is not the case for most non...

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Many nonprofit leaders are juggling relationships with boards of directors, building community relationships, fund-raising campaigns, grant writing, managing operations, “filling” in for vacant positions, and ensuring the appropriate provision of services. Meetings, reports, and email overflow into the evening hours with strategic planning and goal execution falling by the wayside.

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Size, mission and vision of a nonprofit organization are important, but the success of a nonprofit organization depends on its leadership and a robust, active board of directors. Being a member of the board of directors for a nonprofit organization entails a lot of responsibility and future board leaders will be more effective if the nonprofit organization and its existing board leadership can make it easier for people to get involved....

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It's not easy to make a nonprofit organization work well and succeed. Keeping one going is even harder, especially in a world where complexity and ambiguity are the new "norm." For a nonprofit to succeed, it needs to be financially stable, have a group of passionate employees and have strong, committed leadership from an experienced Board of Directors. These are not the only things that set struggling nonprofits apart from the nonprofits...

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Grants are the most prevalent funding that nonprofit organizations use to continue assisting the communities they serve. A grant writer submits a request for financial support to an institution, often another nonprofit organization or the government. They have to use a variety of strategies to accomplish this goal. Nonprofit organizations contribute positively to the local community. However, for them to remain operational, they need a...

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Grant proposals should be considered as projects with a clear result or goal for the money being asked for. A project won't get money if it can't show real results. When doing grant writing for nonprofits, your proposal should be well thought out, planned, and put together. In short, it is a request for money to be put into a project to make money or help people. At first glance, it might seem like grant proposals only help the business or...

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Grant writing for nonprofits is how you ask for money to help your nonprofit organization's programs. It means writing grant offers that need to be approved by government agencies, community groups, foundations, corporations, or other funders before they will give money to your nonprofit. Many nonprofits are very interested in getting grants. They can give a business or organization the chance to do something big for the community that it...

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Through the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007, the federal government allows for assistance for Head Start and Early Head Start programs that help low-income families meet their kids' health, social, and development needs.

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You have a small but thriving nonprofit organization and you successfully provide comprehensive services to a targeted population. You have operated as a nonprofit for almost a decade, receiving grants and donations. You have not yet formally measured your clients’ outcomes, but informal conversations with both your clients and your community describe the positive impact of your program.

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Non-profit organizations are committed to supportive environments, celebrating diversity, cultural humility, educational development for children, and empowering families. They foster individualized and personalized relationships with clients and communities to develop a continuum of care for all people.

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The COVID-19 pandemic caused many changes in almost all areas of the workforce. In the case of early childhood teachers, there was already a national shortage before the pandemic. The advent of COVID-19 caused the issue of early childcare costs and the low pay of teachers to enter the national spotlight. High-quality early childcare is a cornerstone of economic development, and this crisis affects more than the families seeking good early...

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This year is a new year for federal reviews. For the 2021–2022 fiscal year, Focus Area One (FA1) reviews will be conducted as usual, in a virtual format, starting in October 2021. However, unlike last year, Focus Area Two (FA2) reviews will be conducted in person (if possible and if local conditions allow) beginning in January 2022.

Grantees will be asked to describe the changes in the delivery of services during the pandemic—whether...

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Get Help With Your Grant Application From Sunshine Nonprofit Solutions

The Designation Renewal System has been around for almost 10 years and has brought about many positive changes for the Head Start programs, the grantees, and our kids, families, and teachers. The DRS has put a focus on continuous improvement. The DRS final rule has had a few changes made to it in 2020 that we wanted to give you a quick overview of....

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The Early Head Start−Child Care Partnership (EHS−CCP) initiative brings together the best of Early Head Start and childcare through layering funding to provide comprehensive and continuous services to low-income infants, toddlers, and their families. EHS−CCP programs enhance developmental services and support for low-income...

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You may know or suspect that your Head Start/Early Head Start program could have to compete this year to keep operating a program through the Designation Renewal System, or the DRS. As Rahm Emanuel said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” The DRS is a call to action. It provides the push to plan, evaluate, and implement a new normal.

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Early childhood development is widely seen as 1) crucial for the future of our society and economy and 2) woefully inadequate. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have proposed bills to offset the fixed and operating costs due to COVID-19 with funds dedicated to opening and re-opening centers. The Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) program can be a model to create a new – and better – “normal”. The EHS-CCP...

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We are facing enormous challenges, both known and unknown, as we figure out what “back to the classroom” means in the era of COVID-19 and the accompanying unrest in our neighborhoods. There are multiple stressors impacting children, families, teachers, and administrators as we navigate the changes from the summer and the re-opening in the fall. Early education centers around the country are looking for safe and responsive ways to reopen their...

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Trauma-informed organizations rest on a foundation of healthy, engaged employees with healthy and engaged leaders. This is especially true during a time of uncertainty and acute crisis.

Establishing a comprehensive trauma-Informed organization requires an organization-wide commitment, a planning process, training, time, and money. This article provides a roadmap for a transformation of your organization, based on my experiences, which...

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Five levels of strategies will transform your organization into a trauma-informed organization; trauma informed agencies are far better equipped to provide resources to clients, survivors, and staff, as the following stories illustrate.

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Planning for the new normal is not hopelessly difficult, it just seems that way. Planning is a strategic skill that combines historical data, data on future trends, and lessons learned. Instead, we have fuzzy data on our immediate past, varying models for our future and lessons only partially learned.

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I began this series by asking you, “How can we plan for a pandemic?”

This is a call for planning, even while we are in the middle of an emergency. This is precisely when we need to set some time aside for careful reflection and planning. It is also a call to examine the social and emotional needs of our clients, our staff, and even ourselves.

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There is hope during this difficult time. Even with a slowed down economy and abrupt school and child development center closings – we still have a way of moving forward. The Office of Head Start is funding a supplemental summer program which is a practical, effective, and timely...

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I began this series by asking you, “How can we plan for a pandemic?”

This is a call for planning, while we are in the middle of an emergency. This is precisely when we need to set some time aside for careful reflection and planning. It is also a call to examine the social and emotional needs of our clients, our staff, and even ourselves.

Several days ago I published a blog about planning to address safety and physical needs....

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I began this series by asking you, "How do you plan for a pandemic?" My experience in the nonprofit work - and in Head Start - suggests this is precisely when we need a plan. In the introductory post of the series, I described the essential parts of a plan based on a S.W.O.T. assessment.

After completing an assessment that outlines what you have and what you'll need for the next six weeks, this post discusses a plan focusing on the...

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How do you plan for a pandemic? Especially if you are a non-profit or a Head Start/Early Head Start program? Our society went from hearing snippets of news regarding China in December to an almost complete halt at the end of March. How do you plan for that?

Many of us are working non-stop and feel we do not have the time to stop, reflect and plan. However, this is precisely what we should be doing. This is a marathon, not a sprint. We...

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