Flance Early Learning Center*

St. Louis, MO

The I. Jerome and Rosemary Flance Early Childhood Education Center at Murphy Park (“The Flance Center”) is an innovative community facility that offers exceptional care and education for 154 children and their families in a child-focused, center-based, and diverse learning environment. Located in the most distressed zip code in the State of Missouri, the Flance Center carries on the legacy of Dr. Jerry Flance, a tireless advocate for high quality early childhood education and health interventions as the foundation for strong and healthy communities.

While working in the Near North Side neighborhood of St. Louis over two decades, McCormack Baron Salazar and partners became aware of the need for high-quality educational opportunities. The team worked with the St. Louis Board of Education to convert Jefferson Elementary School into a school for children in the immediate neighborhood and private funds were raised to upgrade the school. With the success of Jefferson Elementary School came a growing awareness of the needs of children in the community too young to attend Jefferson. When HUD announced the Capital Fund Education and Training Community Facilities Program (CFCF) grant program, McCormack Baron Salazar, Urban Strategies, Inc. and the Saint Louis Housing Authority saw an opportunity to finally bring a state-of-the-art Early Childhood Education Center to this community.

The $10.26 million Flance Center was financed through a $5 million HUD CFCF grant, $2.48 in private, philanthropic donations to Friends of the Flance Center and a $9.5 million New Market Tax Credit Investment from Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. In addition, an operating reserve was funded with $600,000 from private donations to ensure long-term sustainability and feasibility. The operational model of the Center offers an enriched childcare experience to children from families with a range of incomes (from very low to high), blending various public sources (Head Start, Early Head Start, State of Missouri funds) with tuition and philanthropy. The New Markets Tax Credit investment helps to ensure that 102 low-income children (of the 154 total enrolled) and 200 low-income early childhood care providers will be served annually.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.