(AURN) -- A day after reporting that ongoing government shutdown had forced the closure of at least 23 of the nation's Head Start programs, comes news of a bailout of sorts from a pair of Houston philanthropists.
Through their foundation, Laura and John Arnold (left) have offered up to $10 million in emergency funding to the National Head Start Association (NHSA) in an effort to keep them open during the shutdown. The personal donation will help keep Head Start and Early Head Start programs, who were forced to close or are facing closure, open.
Head Start services more than 1 million low-income children each year, providing them with meals and health care and getting them ready for elementary school.
In a statement the couple said, “Like everyone else, we are disappointed in the stalemate that has led to the federal government’s shutdown. Our representatives’ inability to resolve their differences has caused severe disruptions in the lives of many low-income Americans. We believe that it is especially unfair that young children from underprivileged communities and working families pay the price for the legislature’s collective failures. In an effort to address this injustice, we will help keep the doors open at Head Start programs across the country this month. We sincerely hope that our government gets back to work in short order, as private dollars cannot in the long term replace government commitments.”
According to a NHSA press release, if Head Start programs receive funding for a 52-week period, Head Start programs will begin to repay the funds from NHSA at no interest through the Arnolds.
In response to the kind gesture, Yasmina Vinci (right), Executive Director of the National Head Start Association. “The Arnolds’ most generous act epitomizes what it means to be an angel investor; they 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.”
Laura and John established the Laura and John Arnold Foundation in 2008. They believe philanthropy should be transformational and should seek through innovation to solve persistent problems in society. As co-founders, Laura and John actively engage in the organization’s overall direction and daily execution. Laura is an attorney and a former oil company executive. John is an investor. They have three children and reside in Houston, Texas.