On Tuesday November 15th, Mary Reed, our President and founder, was recognized at the release of the book, “Boston: Inspirational Women,” by Boston Globe photographer Bill Brett and his daughter Kerry Brett, with text by Carol Beggy. Mary was one of about 125 women leaders in Boston whose portraits appear in the book, including Victoria Reggie Kennedy, Emily Rooney, Angela Menino, Diane Patrick, Martha Coakley, Lydia Shire, and Drew Gilpin Faust. What an honor for Mary to join these ranks! The text that appears with Mary’s photo reads, “Because Mary L. Reed followed a path her mother, Bessie Tartt Wilson, carved out and continued her mother’s work after Bessie’s death in 1999, today scores of low-income families have reliable early care and education for their children. Bessie founded Tartt’s Day Care Center, Boston’s first minority-owned day care center, in Roxbury in 1946. And in 2002 Mary started a nonprofit, named in her mother’s honor, which focuses on early care and education for low-income families. A recipient of the national Purpose Prize, Mary left a successful career in human services to build on her mother’s legacy. She has been called to serve on numerous Boston boards, including the University of Massachusetts Foundation, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, the Crittenton Women’s Union, and the Bennett College Board of Trustees. A tireless fundraiser and advocate, Mary leads the Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children with passion and quiet confidence, always keeping her eye on the goal that one day all children, across all income levels, will have quality early care and education.” In addition to her inclusion in this book of inspiring women of Boston, Mary was recognized on three other notable occasions over the past year. Last fall, she was recognized as a 2010 Purpose Prize Fellow by Civic Ventures. In the spring of 2011 she was honored as an “Outstanding Advocate” at the Urban College of Boston’s annual Early Childhood Education Awards Luncheon. In the summer of 2011, she appeared on NBC’s TODAY Show in an interview with Jane Pauley as part of the AARP series “Your Life Calling TODAY.” We are very proud of Mary and happy she is receiving so much well-deserved recognition!
On November 11th, BTWIC kicked off our 2011-2012 outreach campaign by presenting to over 400 early educators at four early education programs around the state at their fall professional development training days—all in one day! BTWIC presented to Early Childhood Centers of Greater Springfield, Inc., The Dimock Center Early Head Start and Head Start, Associated Early Care and Education, and South Shore Stars. In addition, we presented to 120 family child care providers at the Lawrence regional meeting of Child Development and Education, Inc, and to 80 early educators at Catholic Charities in late October. BTWIC’s presentation, “Helping Early Educators Make Ends Meet: Accessing Tax Credits and Managing Student Loans,” offers two concrete ways for educators to work towards improving their financial stability. The campaign to raise awareness around tax credits and student loan management stems from recommendations made in our 2010 report, “Blueprint for Early Education Compensation Reform.” Our efforts around tax credits are twofold: first, we have filed a bill that would create a 15% tax credit specifically for early educators, and second, beginning in the fall of 2010, we have been conducting an outreach campaign to make sure early educators are collecting the existing state and federal Earned Income Tax Credits, which can result in a tax credit of between $464 and $5751 in the 2011 tax season, depending on income and family size. The student loan management part of the presentation was developed in the summer of 2011 after conducting focus groups and surveying educators across the state to determine the feasibility of a loan forgiveness program for early educators in MA. The data gathered from the focus groups led BTWIC to decide to focus on promoting a clearer understanding of how to navigate the complex student loan system. While many early educators are feeling pressure to continue their education from state and federal requirements, low compensation combined with the burden of existing student loan debt are significant barriers that BTWIC is trying to address. Following the presentations on Friday, BTWIC staffed information tables to answer the individual questions of early educators who attended. Materials on the EITC and our student loan brochure were distributed. To access our student loan brochure, click on the following link: http://btwic.org/images/Advice-for-Early-Education-Providers-brochure.pdf or visit our Early Educator Student Loan Network at http://btwic.org/earlyedustudentloan.html. For more information regarding the EITC, visit our EITC webpage available starting December 1, 2011. Look for BTWIC at upcoming conferences and early education workshops around the state later this fall and winter, where we will be presenting, distributing our materials, and making ourselves available to help answer early educators’ questions and guide them to the appropriate resources to make sure they are accessing tax credits and navigating the student loan system effectively. Our goal is to present our materials directly to 1,200 early educators and to distribute our materials to an additional 4,000 early educators around the state. Please feel free to contact Hanna Boyle at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating in our outreach campaign.