NEXT Memphis Announces First Cohort of Eight Childcare Centers

MEMPHIS, Tennessee – Porter-Leath’s NEXT Memphis initiative recently announced the inaugural cohort of childcare centers that will participate in its shared services program model. The network of standout centers will directly increase educational outcomes for children, family-level outcomes for parents, business viability, and overall childcare center quality. Participants are:

  • Gateway Learning Academy
  • Hooks-Dimmick Child Care
  • Hope House Day Care, Inc.
  • I Rise Christian Academy
  • KIDazzle - Flying Start Child Development Center
  • Lambs & Ivy School
  • Perea Preschool
  • Yale Road Learning Center

Participating centers were selected based upon rigorous evaluation of existing practices, as well as having demonstrable passion for children and families, willingness to innovate and alter business paradigms, established history in serving low-income neighborhoods, and in-depth viewpoints and approaches to excellence.

NEXT Memphis background

NEXT Memphis, at its essence, is for the community. Developed as a response to local research supported by First 8 Memphis, NEXT Memphis is a shared service program model that helps independent childcare providers reduce costs and improve outcomes, so that they can direct more of their attention and resources to the classroom and families.

NEXT Memphis’ model will ensure that more children enter kindergarten ready to learn, that more families are thriving, and that childcare professionals have the resources and care they need to grow in their profession. Through NEXT Memphis, Porter-Leath will offer wraparound services to families, helping parents set and achieve goals and connecting them with community resources.  

Cohort initiative plans

The current total enrollment for the cohort is 800 children, with the potential licensed enrollment of 1,600 children. As one component, NEXT Memphis will focus on boosting enrollment, which will greatly strengthen each center’s sustainability, as well as help more children and families benefit from top-quality care. When fully enrolled, an estimated $7.1M[1] in additional revenue will be attained for the centers, all of which are Minority/Women-Owned Businesses. Centers will reinvest in quality enhancements for their childcare, such as increased teacher wages and facility improvements.

Since the start of COVID-19, NEXT Memphis has worked with local philanthropy to supply community partners with hard-to-find supplies—such as cleaning solution, gloves, disinfectant, toilet tissue, paper towels, garbage bags, can liners, and bleach—so that centers can continue to safely serve children.

In addition to its local focus, NEXT Memphis has partnered with the Tennessee Department of Human Services to provide comprehensive support and care coordination to families whose children are enrolled in a partner center. These services support families in pursuing their own goals and navigating crisis situations, whenever needed.

As Memphis and Shelby County begin to fully reopen, comprehensive services will begin to ensure that:

  • Children thrive in their development and enter kindergarten ready to learn
  • Families are supported with wraparound services and quality childcare
  • Staff feel completely equipped to increase quality of service and business sustainability

While focusing on its initial cohort of 11 direct partners, NEXT Memphis will add childcare providers to a second and third cohort over the next two years, establishing an estimated partner portfolio of 40 childcare centers and 4,000 children and families by 2022.

“To me, childcare professionals are unsung heroes in our community. The care and services they provide not only allow parents to go to work and/or school, but truly shape the next generation in their most precious years. It is an honor to partner with First 8 Memphis and the philanthropic community to do our part in uplifting Shelby County’s brightest potential,” said Chloe Moore, NEXT Memphis Program Director.

[1] This estimation is based on figures before COVID-19. It calculates vacancies in February, times the average fee charged, and assumes year-round service (52 weeks).