In partnership with Park City Municipal Corporation, Park City Community Foundation is bringing the community together to build greater diversity, equity, and inclusion. This Social Equity Initiative is prioritizing the most significant equity challenges in our community.
In March 2018, our local City Council announced that “fairness and inclusion in Park City…is imperative to building and preserving a complete community” and voted to add Social Equity as one of the critical priorities to address. The city then contracted with Park City Community Foundation to take the lead role in collaborating with stakeholders to further the vision of a complete community where everyone has equitable access to opportunity, and feels respected, included, and empowered.
Over the last year, we have collected data from community surveys, held dozens of stakeholder conversations, conducted a listening tour with underrepresented groups, and compiled local, regional, and national statistics to help inform a Social Equity Strategic Plan. The resulting plan includes three key areas that will help to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community: housing, education, and inclusion.
One example of how we are already addressing disparities is our focus on early childhood education. Because of our close relationship with nonprofit organizations serving families, we had previously learned about the dire need for high-quality, early childcare in Park City a few years ago.
Many local families experience problems because they do not have access to safe, high-quality childcare for their little ones. As a result, parents have trouble staying in the workforce, low-income families spend more than 25% of their income for childcare, and babies are often put in compromised situations where they do not thrive.
This is a critical issue because over half of the children from families with lower incomes are not ready for kindergarten when they start school, a deficit that can stay with them through life and impact the community.
“The lack of good, affordable early childhood education emerged as an issue in Park City and because we prefer solving problems at their source, we decided to get behind this initiative. Solving for early childhood education stems the tide of a costly lifelong journey for children into adulthood, both from a personal development perspective and its impact on society.” – Brian and Kirsten Shirken, Donor Advised Fund advisors and Early Childhood Alliance leaders
Our goal is to ensure that all young children have effective pathways to future success. We helped start PC Tots, a high-quality, affordable early childhood education center in Park City and it has been wildly successful. But currently, PC Tots has a waiting list of nearly 100 babies and toddlers, and there are many other early childhood services that need expansion and improvement to ensure that all children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn.
We have now established the Early Childhood Alliance as a key part of our Social Equity work to help solve some our community’s most challenging problems. The Early Childhood Alliance is under Park City Community Foundation and Kristen Schulz’s great leadership thanks to the generosity of Early Childhood Champions in 2019.