Early Care and Education

United Way of Greater Knoxville is leading efforts to ensure all children and families have access to the resources they need to build brighter futures.

A thriving community is where families have access to high-quality, affordable childcare to ensure every child enters school ready to learn.

Paving Pathways to Success

Increasing capacity in high-quality, affordable learning environments throughout our community and especially in underserved neighborhoods is central to our work. Through funding, support and initiatives like micro-centers, we are creating more available spots for families in need of childcare.

Through our All Corps Tutoring program, we are serving 867 elementary students through four partners. Students receive support in reading, writing, and math.

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Impact Stories

Tackling Childcare Deserts

Nearly 16,000 childcare centers closed permanently between December 2019 and March 2021, denying working families access to childcare. 

United Way of Greater Knoxville convened with Knox County Schools (KCS) and the YMCA of East Tennessee to pilot a “micro-center” to address childcare needs for KCS faculty and staff. The first micro-center is now open and serving local families in need of childcare. Teacher and mom, Devon said, “Having an opportunity to have childcare that’s also affordable is a big deal for me… They follow a curriculum, and they’re learning skills to become little students and then little adults.”

Read the full story here.

Have a question?

Email our team at info@unitedwayknox.org.

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Bright Start TN & Bright Steps

In 2021, Bright Start TN, powered by Tennesseans for Quality Early Education (TQEE), was introduced to bring together a statewide network of community partnerships dedicated to accelerating early learning outcomes and closing achievement and opportunity gaps for Tennessee children birth through third grade. The mission of Bright Start TN is to tap the power of communities across the state to collaboratively design, implement and scale high-quality early care and education (ECE) systems locally while informing and advocating supportive state policies. United Way of Greater Knoxville was selected as one of six inaugural communities to join the Bright Start TN Network.

While our K-12 learning environments are critical to a child’s
lifelong learning and success, 90% of brain development
happens by age 5Positive, healthy experiences in early childhood set the foundation for thriving academically, socially, and in life.

Bright Steps Action Plan: a call to action for every leader

Children are born with great potential for development and learning and positive early childhood experiences make a difference.

The Bright Steps Action Plan focuses on the whole child needs of our communities’ children and students rather than those that are purely academic. The whole child approach acknowledges that developing and preparing students for life and career requires a focus on ensuring that every child in every school is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

Ready to take Bright Steps forward? To learn more about how your organization can create a brighter future for our children, contact Ellie Kittrell at kittrelle@unitedwayknox.org