Smart Beginnings Southwest Virginia Receives $450 ,000 Grant from VECF
Virginia CACFP Summit Explores Nutrition Landscape for State’s Young Children Event focuses on collaboration for healthy child development & school readiness
Smart Beginnings Southwest Virginia, a school
readiness initiative established to help young children throughout the region achieve
lifelong success, will receive a significant grant of $450,000 from the Virginia Early
Childhood Foundation (VECF).
The grant will be presented at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at the Virginia
Highlands Small Business Incubator, 851 French Moore, Jr. Boulevard in
Abingdon, Va. The meeting is a regional celebration during which Smart
Beginnings Southwest Virginia’s Leadership Council will be presenting a new fiveyear strategic plan.
Smart Beginnings Southwest Virginia is a community-based, regional initiative that
encompasses local partnerships among public and private agencies, businesses and
individuals serving 16 jurisdictions including the cities, towns and counties of Bristol,
Galax, Norton, Lee, Scott, Wise, Wythe, Bland, Grayson, Carroll, Russell, Washington,
Smyth, Tazewell, Buchanan and Dickenson
Nancy Bailey, chair of the Leadership Council of Smart Beginnings Southwest Virginia
and CEO of United Way Southwest Virginia, will accept the grant from Beth Rhinehart,
secretary and board member of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and CEO of the
Bristol Chamber of Commerce. This financial investment from VECF will support
quality early childhood care and learning for young children, so they will be well-prepared to enter the workforce.
“We are honored to receive such a generous grant that will support our long-range goals
to provide meaningful and enriching early learning opportunities for young children in
our region,” said Bailey. “Every business needs smart, skilled employees who are well-qualified for 21st century jobs. The workforce development pipeline begins with young children who have a strong foundation so they will start school healthy and ready to
“Because a child’s experiences in the early years can impact the trajectory of his or her
entire life, it’s imperative that all young children have access to quality early childhood
development so they can reach their full potential in school and in life,” said Buckey
Boone, executive director of Smart Beginnings Southwest Virginia.
Beth Rhinehart noted, “By advancing school readiness, Smart Beginnings Southwest
Virginia and its community partners will create a stronger and more educated workforce
that is capable of competing in the global economy.”
About the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation: VECF creates results-oriented
partnerships to ensure that young children are healthy and prepared for school, life and
workforce success. To learn more about VECF and the Smart Beginnings initiative, visit
About Smart Beginnings Southwest Virginia: Smart Beginnings Southwest Virginia is
a partnership among public and private agencies, businesses, and individuals serving 16
jurisdictions including the cities, towns and counties of Bristol, Galax, Norton, Lee,
Scott, Wise, Wythe, Bland, Grayson, Carroll, Russell, Washington, Smyth, Tazewell,
Buchanan and Dickenson. The partnership works to enhance the quality of early
childhood care and learning for young children. For more information, contact 276-5254104 or firstname.lastname@example.org.