A group of Toledo organizations are discussing a joint application for the local Head Start grant, a turnaround from what had been a contentious competition over the federal funds.
The groups have been meeting quietly for several months, Toledo Community Foundation's Executive Director Keith Burwell said. Those meetings culminated Wednesday with a joint session that included U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, director of the Office of Head Start, and representatives of the group, which includes Toledo Public Schools, the Economic Opportunity Planning Association of Greater Toledo, the YMCA/JCC, the University of Toledo, community action agency WSOS, and others.
For decades, the federally funded program was administered locally by the Economic Opportunity Planning Association of Greater Toledo. The local $13 million grant was one of dozens that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initially put up for competition in 2011, but none of the bids, including those from EOPA and TPS, was selected.
After that decision, HHS announced a re-competition. Applicants have until Oct. 21 to submit bids.
While the members of the group have not yet committed to submit a joint or collaborative application, they have agreed to talk about a collaboration and be transparent with each other. They are exploring the hiring of a consultant that would help determine citywide needs and help craft an application.