A philanthropic billionaire couple pledged up to $10 million in an effort to fund Head Start programs that could no longer operate due to the ongoing government shutdown, officials announced on Monday.
Laura and John Arnold provided the money needed to reopen the seven Head Start programs in six states that were expecting to receive their federally allotted grants on Oct. 1 but were forced to close when the government closed many of their own offices on Tuesday, said Sally Aman, a Head Start spokeswoman.
Head Start serves “the poorest of the poor in our country from ages 0-5 to get them ready for kindergarten,” Aman said. She added that over 7,000 children have been affected by the closures.
“The Arnolds … have selflessly stepped up for Head Start children to ensure their path toward kindergarten readiness is not interrupted by the inability of government to get the nation’s fiscal house in order,” said Yasmina Vinci, Executive Director of the National Head Start Association, in a Head Start press release.