In 1998, it was estimated that approximately 2,400 children participating in the Head Start program in metro Atlanta were enrolled in unlicensed facilities, many of which were in deplorable condition. Early Learning Property Management (ELPM) was incorporated in 1999 as a 501(c)3 to address these issues and be a force in upgrading the educational achievement, health standards and quality of life for young children and their families. During its first 5 years, ELPM, in partnership with Smart Start Georgia (GELI in 1998), helped to re-align the Fulton County Head Start program by joining forces with the philanthropic community to quickly raise the necessary capital to renovate or build quality early learning centers to serve the facility needs of Head Start and other Non-Profit programs.
ELPM’s mission is to build quality early learning centers, primarily in disadvantaged neighborhoods, which provide high-quality education and nurturing programs birth through 4 years old. Over the past 19+ years, ELPM has worked with the Head Start grantees and other non-profit early care providers to address the need for additional quality facilities. To date, ELPM has purchased, renovated or constructed 15 high-quality early education centers located in Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Barrow, Paulding and Greene counties. These ELPM centers have accumulatively served over 36,000+ young children and their families in licensed, Quality Rated and nationally accredited, or equivalent, centers.
ELPM collaborates and works closely with funders, grantmakers and philanthropists who share a common goal and commitment to address the issues facing early childhood learning, especially for the most at-risk. By coordinating and aligning resources through public and private partnerships, young children have access to high-quality, affordable early education, which is critical to prepare them to be ready to learn and succeed in their K-12 educational path. All children, including children with disabilities or other special needs, deserve access to quality early learning facilities and programs.
ELPM works with pre-qualified, proven 501(c)3 non-profit early care providers to evaluate their existing programs and explore available options to expand program services. Once a strategic plan is in place, ELPM implements a fund raising strategy, raises the capital funds for each project, and offers affordable long-term leases at below-market rates. Each center is operated by experienced, high-quality providers with proven, sustainable track records and steady income streams. Under the leasing terms, ELPM utilizes the rent proceeds to re-invest back into the facilities by providing the on-going maintenance services and capital projections/repairs, which allow the providers to concentrate its efforts on the development of the children rather than dealing with facility issues or raising additional funds, which would be very challenging.
Quality early learning facilities have a profound impact on the young children enrolled, and the physical environment is effective in aiding children to develop, adapt and learn. The ELPM model has empowered child care providers the opportunity to deliver programs in rich learning environments that support high-quality early learning, and where children benefit from caring relationships and nurturing program staff.
Through these facilities, ELPM has directly improved the quality, efficiency, and accessibility for early learning by providing young children the opportunity to attend quality early learning centers, giving them the same opportunity as their more advantaged peers.
ELPM has helped to build strong collaborations in the early learning arena and helped to bridge the achievement gap that starts before kindergarten. With the support and commitment of dedicated funding partners, ELPM has successfully implemented its mission to address the issue of available, accessible quality education facilities, and make a difference in the lives of thousands of young children, their families and communities.
ELPM remains mission driven and focused to continue strategic discussions with potential partners for additional high-quality early learning centers in Georgia. While much work remains, ELPM celebrates the victory of enabling these young children to have an opportunity to receive the educational nurturing needed to be successful in their educational journey and become responsible, productive adults. ELPM is not part of any state or national accreditation process.