Empowering Women through High-quality Childcare

By Travis Claybrooks, CEO of Raphah Institute and former Nashville police officer

Heather Vincent, Market Executive, Bank of America

As we celebrate women across the globe during Women’s History Month, we know there is still much more work that needs to be done.

In one North Nashville government subsidized housing complex, the average income of its residents is only $2,000 to $4,000 a year, according to the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency. The primary residents are single Black women.

Here in Nashville, Raphah Institute and Bank of America are committed to making positive change and working to scale the impact. Both organizations have had a longstanding commitment to better understanding the barriers that people of color face to economic advancement. Research shows the two greatest barriers to employment for single Black women are childcare and transportation. Without affordable childcare, women find it is more economically feasible to keep their children at home, eliminating the possibility of working outside the home and contributing financially to their families.

To address these barriers, Raphah Institute with support from Bank of America, has begun implementing their Early Embrace Initiative. It empowers residents living in underserved communities who want to start a childcare center in their home by providing them with licensure support, business training and educational coaching.

Not only does this initiative help women start their own businesses and climb the economic ladder, it also gives their neighbors access to high-quality childcare in their own community - eliminating the two biggest barriers to employment. This initiative allows families to feel at ease knowing their children are in a safe, supportive environment and gaining access to high-quality early learning. It allows women to feel confident getting back into the workforce and increasing their income.

Bank of America’s financial investment in the Early Embrace Initiative is part of its five-year $1.25 billion commitment to advance racial and ethnic equality, and create economic opportunity.

As Nashville business leaders, let’s invest in our women to help them become thriving contributors to the economy. When we empower women to start businesses, eliminate childcare and transportation barriers, and help our children get off to a strong start, we can help put a stop to the cycle of poverty and build a stronger economic future for all.

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