Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Bolsters Mental Health Support for Children and Families in Need

The Giving Coast

With 90% of a child’s brain development occurring in the first five years of life, the early experiences and environments in which they have them cause a direct effect on their overall growth and success. As a leader of the Children First Changemaker Collective, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation has made two gifts totaling $100,000. Their generosity will support the agency’s $600,000 challenge match to expand its comprehensive services as well as bolster and enrich mental health services, including the addition of a third Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist. Ranked in the top 1% of more than 1,800 Head Start programs nationwide, Children First serves hundreds of children, ages birth to five, and their families living at or below the Federal Poverty Level ($23,030 for a family of 3) each year. The agency offers services at multiple locations across North Port, Sarasota, and Venice. “After the devastating experiences of the pandemic and more recently, Hurricane Ian, the need for mental health services has been on the rise. As a foundation dedicated to improving the conditions and quality of life for children and their families, we saw an opportunity to provide critical support to those in need through the enhancement of Children First’s mental health services,” says William Villafranco, co-trustee.

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