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Whatcom Center for Early Learning nets $2M grant from MacKenzie Scott foundation

Nonprofit was one of 10 groups in state to receive funding

By Annie Todd Criminal Justice/Enterprise Reporter

A Whatcom County nonprofit received a $2 million grant from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

Whatcom Center for Early Learning announced Wednesday, March 20 that it had been selected from more than 6,000 applicants to receive a grant from the MacKenzie Scott Yield Giving Open Call, according to a news release.

Sierra James, the executive director of WCEL, said the funding, twice the amount that the organization had originally applied for, was wonderful. 

“It gives us hope to develop a custom-built facility,” James told Cascadia Daily News, adding that the funding acted as seed money for the planning of the future project.

James said WCEL has experienced a 25% growth of Whatcom County children served in the last year. Its early support program serves about 60% of the county.

WCEL was the only Whatcom County nonprofit selected for the grant funding and one of 10 nonprofits across Washington state selected, according to the news release. Overall, 361 groups across the nation were selected to receive funding.

WCEL serves children with developmental delays and disabilities by providing therapy and support services to their families, as well as supporting families’ daily routines, James said. That can include providing in-home services and drop-in classes provided through the early learning program.

Children and families who graduate from the WCEL program experience improved holistic well-being, which allows for better health, education and economic outcomes, according to the news release.

Annie Todd is CDN’s criminal justice/enterprise reporter; reach her at; 360-922-3090 ext. 130.

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