For thirty years, The Children’s Workshop (TCW) has been a family owned and operated business providing high-quality early education and care to young children throughout Rhode Island. In 1990, owner David MacDonald started the organization to provide childcare for employees of his mortgage company. From these roots, by 2018 TCW grew to 22 locations and over 500 employees throughout MA and RI.
In 2018, in preparation of his retirement, MacDonald sold 17 locations to independent operators and set the intention to donate 5 schools (Central Falls, Providence, Rumford, Warren and Pawtucket) to the nonprofit originally founded by his oldest daughter, Maggie Teller, in 2011.
Children’s Workshop Foundation was founded to support the communities in which TCW operates – a mission which is even more important in today’s challenging environment. The donation of the schools to the foundation, along with the name The Children’s Workshop, was completed in August 2020.
Sasha Brathwaite, CEO of Children’s Workshop Foundation, notes, “We are honored to accept this generous donation from The Children’s Workshop and continue the legacy of providing high-quality early childhood education. Ecstatic about adding the five schools, we are able to expand our services to over 700 families in Rhode Island’s most vulnerable communities”.
Approximately 80% of the students now served by TCW come from low income families who qualify for childcare subsidies through RI’s childcare assistance program. RI does not yet reimburse providers for the full cost of high-quality education. Operating the schools as a non-profit opens up much needed funding streams – such as grants and private or corporate donations – to fill the gap between what the state pays for childcare and the actual resources needed for a high quality program.
Brathwaite says, “I am a proud Latina, born in Providence from a Puerto Rican mother and a Dominican father. I benefited from a family who understood the importance of early education, enrolled me in a high-quality preschool, and had an advocate in elementary school who encouraged honors courses. My experiences ultimately led me to achieving a master’s degree and prepared me to lead The Children’s Workshop. We have the opportunity to make this same difference, every day, for the children who enter our doors.”
Board President, Bailey Kent, states, “Under the stewardship of Children’s Workshop Foundation, TCW schools can become even further ingrained in their communities and truly live our mission to spark creativity, joy and a love of learning in each child. Especially given the challenges the childcare sector faces in the current public health and economic crisis, early education programs must seek innovative solutions to support their students and families. More than ever, we count on the support of our greater communities to provide the resources we need to make a meaningful difference for each family we serve.”