Early Childhood Development

An ECD grant to the YWCA of Asheville and Buncombe County supported the development and implementation of an innovative parent-led childcare partnership program to support the needs of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College students. Watch the video.

Mission: Support every young child in Western North Carolina in realizing his or her full potential.

Goal: Improve educational and developmental outcomes for children ages 0-5 in Western North Carolina.

Strategies: We will make grants to: (1) raise public awareness of the importance of investing in early childhood development; (2) initiate or continue evidence-based early childhood development programs; and (3) advocate for changes to public policy that will enhance the lives of young children in our region.

Recent Grants


  • Buncombe Partnership for Children 
    Buncombe County
    Grant Amount: $50,000
    Fiscal Year 2018
    for Phase 3 of its project to develop and implement a county-wide plan for expanding high-quality, accessible, and affordable preschool for three- and four-year-olds.
  • Children & Family Resource Center of Henderson County
    Henderson County 
    Grant Amount: $7,500 
    Fiscal Year 2018
    to engage HunterKemper Consulting to assist in creating a strategic plan for 2019-2022, including enhanced fundraising planning and development of long-term financial plans.
  • Community Action Opportunities
    Buncombe and Madison counties
    Grant Amount: $99,500
    Fiscal Year 2018
    to enhance the social-emotional competence skills of more than 530 preschool-age children in 27 Head Start classrooms.

  • Southwestern Child Development Commission
    Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties
    Grant Amount: $150,000 over three years
    Fiscal Year 2018
    to fund the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) program to serve low-income, first-time mothers.

  • Verner Center for Early Learning 
    Buncombe County 
    Grant Amount: $7,500 
    Fiscal Year 2018
    to engage Walker Wilson Consulting to assist with planning for its Executive Director transition, and to increase its capacity to achieve its mission under new leadership.
  • Buncombe Partnership for Children 
    Buncombe County
    Grant Amount: $30,000
    Fiscal Year 2017
    for consulting costs to support a county-wide plan to ensure that high-quality, accessible and affordable preschool is available to all three- and four-year-olds.   
  • Smart Start of Henderson County
    Henderson County
    Grant Amount: $8,000
    Fiscal Year 2017
    to engage HunterKemper Consulting to assist in developing a three-year strategic plan, along with a plan for implementation.
  • Smart Start of Transylvania County
    Transylvania County
    Grant Amount: $100,000 over two years
    Fiscal Year 2017
    to partner with the United Way of Transylvania to implement the Smartly United Early Childhood Collective, a collective impact model for addressing early childhood opportunities in Transylvania County to raise the quality of care and improve outcomes for children. 

  • Southwestern Child Development Commission
    WNC Region
    Grant Amount: $75,000
    Fiscal Year 2017
    to educate and engage stakeholders about improving access to quality, affordable early childhood education in WNC.  Funds will be shared with four organizations: Children First/Communities In Schools of Buncombe Co., Verner Center for Early Learning, Children & Family Resource Center of Henderson Co. and Pisgah Legal Services. 

  • Grants Since Inception

To learn more about our Early Childhood Development focus area, please contact:

Philip Belcher
Vice President, Programs

The Buncombe County Partnership for Children was awarded $30,000 to support a county-wide, multi-faceted plan to ensure that a high-quality, accessible and affordable preschool is available to all 3 and 4 year olds in Buncombe County. High-quality preschools are built on teacher-child relationships, provide children with support and tools to deal with trauma and become resilient, use proven methods, collaborate with others and focus on developing the whole child. 

Communities that invest in high-quality preschool programs reduce high school dropout rates, special/remedial education costs, discipline issues, medical costs and costs for law enforcement, courts, and incarceration. Local economies further benefit from a workforce that is well educated, stable and productive. The Plan is currently being shared with the community to secure buy-in and feedback and to pursue financial support for implementation.  Photo courtesy of Buncombe County Partnership for Children.
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