By Kerry-Ann Lewis Pearcy, Community Engaged Fellow
Executives Partnering for Children (EPIC) works to harness the capital of Colorado’s business sector to ensure that all children develop into healthy, educated and productive citizens. Child care in Colorado is primarily privately funded , and a large portion of that funding comes through the Child Care Contribution Tax Credit (CCTC). The CCTC encourages donations to fund childcare institutions and provides a tax-advantage of a 50% tax deduction if individuals and organizations donate to child care centers.
EPIC president Gloria Higgins approached the Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning (CCESL) seeking a partnership with the University of Denver (DU). The CCTC was up for reauthorization in 2018 and CCESL’s Scholar Shop provided a vehicle to connect my work to EPIC’s actions on the reauthorization of CCTC. During the 2017-2018 academic year, I had the privilege of being a member of a unique fellowship. Along with 11 other Pios, I was a Community-Engaged Fellow with CCESL. An important part this fellowship was to help forge partnerships with DU’s academicians and the community.
I accepted EPIC’s challenge with the assistance of Research Methods and Statistics (RMS) PhD student Tom Moreno, who was placed with the project for his practicum. Together, we embarked on the task of demonstrating the reach, use, and need for the CCTC. Additionally, I had the remarkable pleasure of working very closely with Gloria on the Colorado Children’s Coalition. The Coalition was comprised of EPIC and other similar institutions whose mandate is to improve the lives of children, and who led the charge on the reauthorization of CCTC.
After months of hard work, Governor Hickenlooper signed the CCTC bill on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 4:20 pm. True to her nature, Gloria extended an invitation to me to be a part of the ceremony. Wide eyed and excited, I was present at the signing of this bill, which has not only come to be the lifeline for so many child care institutions, but has also come to mean so much to me. With the sway of a pen, Governor Hickenlooper signed the bill and the future of young children in Colorado is a little more secured.
My involvement in the bill reauthorization process was small but rewarding. I teach SOWK 4120 – Social Policy Advocacy, Analysis, and Practice at the Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) and this is part of the process that I have my students study. However, beyond studying the legislative process, through the enabling environment created by CCESL, DU was able to partner with EPIC for the public good. Our ‘One Nation’ philosophy is fully embodied and on show when we embrace the community and lend our expertise to help make the state a better place to live, work, and raise our families.
My name is Kerry-Ann Lewis Pearcy and I am a proud Pioneer!