Town of Abingdon secures $5 million grant for United Way project
August 03, 2023
Abingdon, VA (August 2, 2023) - United Way of Southwest Virginia has been awarded $5 million through the Town of Abingdon and the Industrial Revitalization Fund for the renovation and construction of the Workforce Innovation and Childcare Center.
Total costs for the capital project are estimated to be $23 million, including equipment, furniture, and IT. With the additional $5 million directed by Youngkin’s office, that brings the total funds secured to $19 million.
The Workforce Innovation and Childcare Center represents multiple improvements to our region.
Revitalization and investment into existing infrastructure at one of Abingdon’s busiest intersections.
300 new childcare slots
100 new childcare jobs
Career Commons – an employer-sponsored, year-round, career simulation and exploration facility that will serve an estimated 25,000 K12 students.
A Shared Services Alliance to support the long-term sustainability of more than 200 existing childcare centers in our region
A GO TEC teacher training lab that will bring STEM instruction to schools throughout Southwest Virginia
“Studies have shown a 31% gap in slots between the supply and the potential need for childcare in the state,” explained Travis Staton, CEO and President of United Way of Southwest Virginia. “This deficit in childcare access will have a long-term loss for our region projected to be $2.1 to $3.1 billion over 10 years. It is a dire problem for Southwest Virginia, and I am confident that the Workforce Innovation and Childcare Center is part of the solution.”
In addition to the 300 childcare slots and 100 childcare jobs, the Workforce Innovation and Childcare Center will also house a Regional Shared Services Alliance to increase the long-term sustainability of more than 200 existing childcare operators. The Alliance will provide back-office services, including procurement, workforce development, professional development, and support services.
Including Younkin’s office, the project has gained broad support from the philanthropic, private, and public sectors. In addition to the Industrial Revitalization Fund, United Way is also grateful for continued support from Food City, Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia, and of course, the Town of Abingdon.
“The Town of Abingdon recognizes that this is the type of cross-sector innovation that is going to develop some of our biggest opportunities,” shared Amanda Pillion, Mayor of Abingdon, VA. “I love thinking about this unused building brought back to life as a bright, beautiful place for children to play and learn. And we cannot forget that this project also creates jobs, educational resources for teachers, and could even help with state funding for roads. It is a perfect example of a project that creates ripples of good that will last for generations.”
United Way is moving closer to the finish line and will now begin fundraising to meet a $3 million goal for outfitting the building with IT, equipment, and other needed components. In addition to project costs, UWSWVA hopes to fund an endowment to sustain the project in perpetuity.
“Philanthropy serves a critical role in our society. Whether it is large gifts from family foundations or small gifts from a kid running a lemonade stand, philanthropy brings us together to support a common goal,” shared Staton. “By helping with the final three million dollars, families and businesses with charitable goals send a powerful message about their commitment to this region. That commitment and support is the final piece that will make this dream for our region a reality.”
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United Way of Southwest Virginia fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in Southwest Virginia because they are the building blocks for a good quality of life. Through an initiative-based cradle-to-career approach, United Way of Southwest Virginia is creating sustainable solutions to address the challenges facing tomorrow’s workforce. United Way convenes cross-sector partners to make an impact on the most complex problems in our region. Through collaboration with government, businesses, nonprofits, and individuals, United Way innovates for positive, lasting social change. With a footprint that covers nearly 20% of the state of Virginia, United Way of Southwest Virginia programs and initiatives serve the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Floyd, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Montgomery, Pulaski, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe, and the cities of Bristol, Galax, Norton, and Radford.