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Children First Announces Planned Gift to the Agency's Legacy Society

07 Apr 2022 9:53 AM | Kristie Calandro (Administrator)

Sarasota, FL (April 7, 2022) Children First is proud to announce a significant planned gift commitment to the agency’s legacy society, Children First Forever, from long-time supporters and community philanthropists Stephanie and Allen Hochfelder.

As the exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services for Sarasota County, Children First serves children and their families living at or below the Federal Poverty Level ($23,030 for a family of 3) across 15 locations each year.

Children First Forever was created with the intention to ensure that every child receives the opportunity to dream big and reach his or her full potential. It also ensures that every family has the support needed to achieve self-sufficiency and lifelong success.

“Research has shown that what a child learns in their first years will last forever. It is critical that we continue providing these life-changing programs, not just for the children and families that need help today, but also for the generations to come,” says Allen Hochfelder. “Our future as a society depends on these children, and we firmly believe there is no greater investment we can make.”

The Hochfelders also committed to a multi-year gift of $300,000 that will go toward the agency’s annual support fund. The first installment has already been dispersed with the focus on raising staff salaries and supporting overall employee well-being.

“As a classroom volunteer and former Speech Pathologist, I’ve seen firsthand the critical work that the teachers and staff are putting in each day as they engage with our community’s most vulnerable children and families,” says Stephanie Hochfelder. “Allen and I understand how meaningful a quality education can be and how impactful it is to be given an opportunity to overcome your circumstances to succeed. We also know that the more you give, the more you have. That is why we felt compelled to leave our legacy with Children First, and the incredible children and families the agency serves.”

“As each child is welcomed into the Children First family, a seed is being planted with the hope of growing healthy and strong. With our children and families often experiencing the toxic stressors of poverty, it becomes vital to address any issues at the root, and we are so grateful for this transformational gift that will allow those we serve to not only grow, but stand tall and proud like mighty trees in the forest,” says CEO Philip Tavill. “Through the incredible generosity of the Hochfelders, we have the ability to empower and support not only those we serve, but the caretakers of these mighty trees and tender saplings as well.” 

About Children First:

Founded in 1961 and ranked in the top 1% out of over 1,800 Head Starts nationwide, Children First strengthens children and families by improving the quality of their lives through a comprehensive approach to development, education, health, and well-being. At 15 sites throughout Sarasota County, Children First offers full-day preschool, infant and toddler care, and nutrition and health care assistance to children ages birth to five years old from low-income families. Through Children First, the children receive the social and cognitive skills needed to enter kindergarten and elementary school on track. For more information, call (941) 953-3877 or go to

8430 Enterprise Circle, STE 140
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202

941-757-1664 |

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