More than 7,000 children will be able to return to Head Start across the U.S. after philanthropists donated up to $10 million to reopen the early education programs as the government shutdown enters its second week, the National Head Start Association announced Monday.
The shutdown forced Head Start to close seven programs in six states, according to group’s press release. Head Start already suffered major cuts due to sequester funding levels, and the program will likely undergo more if the shutdown continues past Nov. 1.
The donation from Laura and John Arnold should cover all program closures and potential closures due to the shutdown, and the NHSA has pledged that it will repay the Arnolds if funding is restored.
The Arnolds are the co-chairs of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, which donates to a wide range of causes. Laura worked as an oil executive and John as a hedge fund manager before the couple started the foundation.
The executive director of Head start, Yasmina Vinci, urged the Congress to end the shutdown.
“Our elected officials simply must find a fiscal solution that protects, preserves and promotes the promise that quality early learning opportunities like Head Start offer to nearly one million at-risk children each year,” Vinci said in the press release.