Donors offer up $10M to reopen Head Start programs

Oct. 8, 2013 at 4:03 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Philanthropists have offered up $10 million to reopen Head Start programs in six states that closed due to the U.S. government shutdown, officials said.

The grant, which would be paid back without interest if the Head Start programs receive a full year's funding once the government reopens, will allow some 7,000 children in affected states to return to government-sponsored pre-Kindergarten schools as early as Tuesday, The Washington Post reported.

The money was put up by philanthropists John and Laura Arnold. It will allow Head Start offices in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi to reopen or stop them from closing.

National Head Start Association Executive Director Yasmina Vinci thanked the Arnolds while adding such bequests aren't a long-term source of funding.

"The Arnolds' most generous act epitomizes what it means to be an angel investor," Vinci said in a statement. "They have selflessly stepped up for Head Start children to ensure their path toward kindergarten readiness is not interrupted by the inability of government to get the nation's fiscal house in order."

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