The week we moved back to Anchorage, I started a new job, and found out we were having a baby. Then we bought a fixer-upper house, complete with pastel 80s bathroom. Finding childcare was another stress, as soon it was time to go back to work, and Nate’s job would take him out of town for long stretches. After trying other options, we visited Hillcrest – which had a spot for Pirlo when he was eight months old. Becoming part of the Hillcrest family was the right fit. We were home! (And eventually, the powder pink bathroom got remodeled at home).
At Hillcrest, our son is safe, happy, and secure. His teachers create a professional, loving, and supportive environment for learning, fun, and inclusion. Pirlo learns self-regulation, does yoga, makes beautiful arts and crafts, sings and dances, digs in the dirt, and spends time outside, year round. The outdoors focus is important to our family, with our connection to open spaces and the environment. Hillcrest’s focus on community connection is also important – I’ve reconnected with old friends and made new ones too. I feel secure knowing that even though I solo parent often, I have a village. Pirlo and friends recently moved up to preschool – very exciting, although (sniff) mom shed a tear to see them grow so fast.
Hillcrest continues to grow and change – the boiler, the kitchen, the new floors, the fresh paint, the care and love put in the design and color selection, keeps enhancing this home away from home. Hillcrest is an important part of our life, so I am giving to this year’s Annual Fund campaign. Our monthly budget, like many families, is carefully planned due to the current economy. If your family can factor in a gift, join me in showing your gratitude. The fund will continue to support building deferred maintenance and improvements, as well as holiday bonuses for our beloved Hillcrest staff.
You can make a tax-deductible donation via credit card, Paypal, or by dropping a check at Hillcrest. You can also become a Sustaining Family monthly donor through your monthly tuition. Thank you for your consideration.
I’m sure, like you, on the day our son – Sawyer – was born, I was filled with the kind of overpowering, all-consuming love that changes your heart forever. My husband and I had no idea how we were going to manage childcare as full-time, working parents in demanding professions.
In finding childcare, one thing was certain: we needed to identify a solution that offered Sawyer the same love and devotion daily that we, his parents, provided. A space that he would feel safe enough to learn, comfortable enough to explore, and secure enough to develop self-confidence.
That kind of love can’t be seen. It can’t be planned into a curriculum, no matter how informed. It can’t be built into the walls of a building, no matter how new. That kind of love can only be felt.
The reason my husband and I send our son to Hillcrest, and the reason we financially support the Annual Fund Campaign, is because we know that Sawyer is loved as deeply and cared for as compassionately as we provide for him at home.
After two years of attending Hillcrest, you can see this result in Sawyer; a little boy who is eager for knowledge, possesses a strong sense of self, and is bursting with confidence.
I hope you’ll join my family in giving to this year’s Annual Campaign to ensure that the staff who love our children every day just as we love them, are thanked. And that the building that we send our children to everyday is maintained as a safe, comfortable and secure environment. Hillcrest is a special space, a place of love, a home to Sawyer; this is why we give.
You can join us by making a tax-deductible donation via credit card, PayPal, or by dropping a check off at Hillcrest.
-The Milliken Family: Eric, Elizabeth, Sawyer (Preschool) and Bridger the Dog
Why does Hillcrest need to raise funds on top of tuition?
Hillcrest is a non-profit child development center run by a parent volunteer board. The Board updates the strategic plan and budget to present at the annual State of Hillcrest meeting held each spring to gain families’ feedback. Currently, we are in year two of a five-year plan to complete all necessary building upgrades by 2023. Additional goals in the strategic plan centers on increasing staff compensation to a livable wage and further participation in Learn and Grow (Alaska’s quality recognition and improvement system).
Currently, tuition and resource fees cover 95% of the cost to run the center each year, not including building maintenance and necessary upgrades. The rest of the funds to continue the operation of Hillcrest comes from grants and donations. The Development Committee creates a fundraising plan to support the continued success of Hillcrest through the Annual Campaign and grants.
The annual budget is broken down and explained at the State of Hillcrest held in May. Enrollment at Hillcrest is limited by licensing, with set income and costs associated with each child. Hillcrest recognizes that a consistent, secure relationship between caregiver and child is the foundation of a quality childcare situation, which is why Hillcrest has a unique staffing and classroom continuity program. Our current tuition rates alone cannot cover staff salaries and the food program, which require supplemental funding. The food program is a support for working families, and is a cornerstone of our program. The annual budget is broken down and explained at the State of Hillcrest each May, and Christina will be happy to meet with anyone who has additional questions about it.
How are the Annual Campaign funds used?
The Development Committee, with guidance from the Board, sets the campaign goal each year. The 2019 campaign goal of $25,000 is focusing on the essential support of our skilled staff through staff appreciation bonuses, completing the Preschool bathroom remodel, and seeding the continued facility upgrades.
The relationship between caregiver and child is the foundation of Hillcrest’s ability to provide quality care. In appreciation for that care, Hillcrest families and alumni have a long history of contributing to an annual appreciation fund each holiday season. The reality of early childhood is that staff subsidize each child’s tuition through their low wages. As explained above, and during the State of Hillcrest meetings, staff salaries are the biggest budget item that we control.
Hillcrest has many long-term caregivers who have made caring and educating young children their career and deserve compensation to be a livable wage. While we have made progress in the past few years, we are still short an average $4.27/hour to pay a livable wage for our current staff and $.52/hour below the average hourly pay to childcare staff in Anchorage.* Hillcrest families, both current and alumni, show their appreciation for the care provided to their children through participation in the Annual Campaign, which funds staff appreciation: appreciation funds are used to provide a holiday gift based on longevity to ensure equitable distribution. Additional appreciation funds are used to provide appropriate outdoor gear for the teachers and small items of appreciation during the year, such as a pair of movie tickets for their birthday.
The past two years have seen the kitchen remodeled to commercial standards, new water piping and flooring through the infant-toddler section of the building, new boiler and heating registers in the downstairs toddler and preschool building, and a connection from the sewer line to the preschool classroom. This year’s campaign funds will ensure the bathroom in preschool is complete with new flooring, heating registers, and cubby area. We have served children in preschool for 51 years with no restrooms or water in the classroom. The teachers are SO excited for the ease to come during the children’s day with toilets, several sinks, a drinking fountain/water bottle filling station, and a new cubby area in the back of the classroom. This upgrade to the preschool classroom will open up another adult bathroom and storage as we transition the current preschool bathroom into a staff bathroom.
The upcoming large projects that will round out the Board’s goal of completing all facility upgrades by 2023, are to replace the original roof on the infant/toddler building, perform some enticing play yard upgrades, and to update the fire alarm system (at least one of our alumni will be very excited about that!). Talk to Ms. Christina for further information about capital projects.
*Figures for Livable Wage calculations came from https://livingwage.mit.edu/counties/02020. Figures for average childcare wages in Anchorage came from http://live.laborstats.alaska.gov/occ/occ.cfm?o=399011.
What is a Sustaining Family?
Hillcrest Children’s Center provides quality care for every child in an environment focused on developing a foundation for a lifelong love of learning and respect for self and others. As discussed above, tuition does not cover the costs to meet our mission. By making a monthly donation, you help ensure Hillcrest’s ability to continue providing services for Alaskan children for the next generation.
Here it is…. the new layout of Preschool with bathrooms. As talked about in the newsletter, we will be setting the room for the bathroom by creating the mudroom and adjusting the stage this month. Please help if you can.
As voted on at the Annual State of Hillcrest, new rates starting July 1, 2019 are as follows
Full-Time Infants $1265
Full-Time Toddlers $1215
Full-Time Preschool $1115
Part-Time Infants $975
Part-Time Toddlers $895
Part-Time Preschool $795
May 10th 4-7 Annual Family Day BBQ. Join us for a fun time as we all join together. The Petting Zoo will be returning and food is provided. ASL interpreting available.
May 11th 5-11pm Parent Night Out
May 15th 5:15 Annual State of Hillcrest Board meeting. As always, food and child care are provided. We look forward to having you come learn about the accomplishments of the past year, the plan for the next few, and the budget for the next year. More information will be coming in the newsletter.
May 24th Closed for Staff In-Service
May 27th Closed for Holiday
June 8th 5-11pm Parent Night Out
June 12th 5:30-6:30 Board Meeting
June 30th Last day to earn Volunteer Hours for the 2018-2019 year. Reminder all families have the option of volunteering 20 hours or buying out their time at $20 an hour.
July 1st New Tuition Rates Apply (more information coming)
July 4th Closed for Holiday
July 10th 5:30-6:30 Board Meeting
July 13th 5-11pm Parent Night Out
Dear Hillcrest Families,
It is with great pleasure that we announce the results of first ever Annual Fund campaign for Hillcrest. Thank you to everyone who made contributions this year and encouraged friends and family to do so as well.
When we kicked off the fall campaign at our Harvest festival, Hillcrest’s goal to raise $15,000 before the end of the calendar year. With the generosity of Hillcrest families and alumni families, we met that goal and raised $16,690!
Then, we were overjoyed to receive a single gift of $20,000 from generous anonymous donors. Together, we raised more than $36,690 for Hillcrest this fall!
Funds raised will go toward:
A full 2018 holiday bonus for teachers and staff members. Every staff member received a holiday bonus this year, which is adjusted for the number of years worked. The bonuses were issued in December.
New classroom and hallway flooring that will be installed in 2019;
The building maintenance reserve fund.
The additional funds allow us to put more money into the reserve fund for upcoming major renovations, primarily the replacement of the building’s 60-year-old boiler and upgrading the center’s roof. These changes will keep the building safe and operating for years to come.
We’d like to acknowledge the following donors (excludes anonymous gifts):
Donations up to $250
Steven and Lea Filippi
Elizabeth and Eric Milliken
Kimberly Finley and Brian Borguno
Dana and Jason Billman
Jenny and Morgan Blanchard
Allison Biastock and Ryan Garner
Mike and Kate Schechter-Vogel
Lisa and Justin Miller
Michael and Christy Mazzacavallo
Alonna and Nick Brorson
Weston and Briana Cranmer-Howe
Kim and Marshall Elliot
Brian and Monica Englund
Emma and Chris Haddix
Anna and Jim Kohl
Kevin John and Laura Acton
Daniel Jenkins and Kelley Roberson
Brian and Megyn Weigand
Melissa and Garrett Bruesch
Adolf and Brandi Zeman
Aleesha Towns-Bain and Cameron Bain
Jason Bockenstedt and Moira Duggan
Cyndie and Mike Teo
Aesha and Dario Pallesen-Borghesan
Shina Duvall and Guy Runco
Greg and Monica French
We also want to thank all the families who shared their own personal experiences of Hillcrest: the Biastock Family, Norton-Cruz family, Duvall family, Elliot family, French family and Towns-Bain family. It’s Hillcrest families and children, along with our awesome staff, that make Hillcrest great!
Thank you for your support of Hillcrest kids, and for future generations of families. We look forward to a great year in 2019.
Aleesha Towns Bain
Annual Campaign Chair
Dear fellow Hillcrest parent,
Thank you to all those families who were able to attend the Harvest Festival last Saturday! It was a wonderful evening of autumn celebration.
It was an also opportunity to pause and reflect on why we’ve become part of Hillcrest and why we stayed after 7 years.
As the Bain family, we love Hillcrest because we know that when we drop our three-year-old off at preschool every day that he will be safe, loved, and respected. We know that he’ll eat healthy food prepared by a caring person. We know he’ll sing songs, play games, and interact with his friends, under the guidance of incredible teachers. We trust Hillcrest. And we’re grateful to have this place for children in our community.
In that spirit, the Hillcrest Board has launched a new Annual Fund giving campaign to benefit our childcare center. The Board works hard to keep tuition low, and we need additional funds in order to keep up with maintenance on our aging building, as well as provide rewards for staff members.
Hillcrest’s goal to raise $15,000 before the end of the calendar year.
Funds raised will go toward:
A holiday bonus for teachers and staff members;
New classroom and hallway flooring;
A building maintenance reserve fund.
We need your help. We hope you’ll consider making a meaningful gift to Hillcrest in the next three months. You can make your donation by credit card at Hillcrest, or by dropping an additional check. You can also alert Christina to a pledge, who can add it to your monthly childcare statement. Your gift is tax deductible and Hillcrest will provide you with a receipt. We also welcome introductions to friends, neighbors, and other giving programs who may be interested in supporting Hillcrest.
There are many good causes in Anchorage that deserve our charitable dollars—this is one that will benefit all our children, as well as future generations of Hillcrest kids. Thank you for considering a gift this year!
Aleesha Towns-Bain and Cameron Bain
Perhaps you are like me in that, aside from your home, Hillcrest is your most often visited destination in Anchorage. As my youngest child prepares for her start in kindergarten next year, joining her brother in 4th grade, I realize that my long relationship with Hillcrest Children’s Center is going to change dramatically next fall. Since first visiting when I was pregnant with my now 9 year old, I knew that Hillcrest offered the kind if care I wanted for my child. In addition to the amazing staff, many of whom have been at Hillcrest since my first visit, Hillcrest offers a true sense of community to its families. As a parent, I feel supported and I know that staff and leadership will always take the time necessary to talk with me about the many challenges and triumphs that children experience as they grow. Further, as I have enjoyed watching my son and daughter develop buddies at Hillcrest, my husband and I have also made lasting friendships over the years. It will be with heavy but joyful hearts that we will transition from active to “alumni” status next year, and I know that our connections to the Hillcrest community will remain strong.
Like our family has evolved over the years, so has the Center itself. The Hillcrest team has gone to great lengths to make each classroom and shared space in our aging building a vibrant, joyful, and fun place for our kids. Similarly, I really appreciate not only the large outdoor space we have (supplemented with the many parks of Government Hill), but that Hillcrest so openly embraces creative outdoor play, and has designed their yard space to ensure our kids get to have fun outside every day.
Because Hillcrest is and has remained such an important place for our family, I am giving to this year’s annual campaign. In addition to supporting necessary deferred maintenance and improvements for the 60 year old building, the annual fund will support holiday bonuses to the wonderful Hillcrest staff. The professionals at Hillcrest spend each day helping our kids learn, have fun, be nourished in body and spirit, and develop social and emotional skills in a supportive and loving setting – I am honored to help ensure they each get a year-end gift reflecting our gratitude.
I ask that you please join me in supporting Hillcrest’s annual campaign. You can make a tax deductible donation via credit card, via Paypal, or by dropping a check at Hillcrest. Thank you for your consideration.
Alison (Archie and Maude’s Mom)