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Children First Launches College Savings Plans for At-Risk Youth

25 May 2022 7:50 AM | Kristie Calandro (Administrator)

Children First Launches College Savings Plans for At-Risk Youth

Sarasota, FL (May 25, 2022) It’s never too early to plan for college.


While the mission of Children First is to strengthen children and families in our community by providing a strong foundation for children ages birth to five, our work does not stop there.


The CFC College Fund was recently started by two of our very dedicated donors in order to give Children First’s young students a “Head Start” as their families begin planning for their college educations. Already, 20 families have applied for 25 children who would benefit from this fund.


As one parent wrote, “I would like to participate in the College Scholarship Program because I am a young mother and would like to give my children the best education there is… I want them to know that the sky is the limit and they can do anything they put their minds to!”


The founding donors of the fund, a couple who wishes to remain anonymous, explained why they felt the CFC College Fund was important for them to support.


“Our intention is to provide a college fund for as many young people as possible. Children First CEO Philip Tavill suggested that by starting at a young age, the individual will have approximately $5,000 of principal in their fund as they enter the public school system. The hope for the outcome can best be expressed by a quotation from Frederick Douglass, who said, ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’  We believe in early intervention and want to encourage others to give.”


“We selected Children First because it is a highly efficient organization, similar to the Early Learning Coalition, where a donor can see the effect of his or her contribution now and as a child moves forward through high school and beyond.”


The initial goal of the plan was to fund 20 children to start – a goal which has been quickly met. The funds have been set up as 529 College Savings Plans as part of a three-year pilot program with the founding donors, with each child accruing $25 per week.


Moving forward, the hope is that through private philanthropic support, additional donors will enable the creation of even more 529 College Savings Plans for Children First students.


To be considered for one of the savings plans, the family must have been engaged for a minimum of one academic year with Children First, with the children in the family between 6 months and 2 years of age. Parents are encouraged to contribute what they can to the fund, though it is not required.


If you are interested in learning more about the CFC College Fund, contact Jessica Rogers, Vice President of Philanthropy, (941) 953-3877 or at

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

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