Early Connections Annual Report 2015-2016 FY



The Year in Review

Early Connections

200 West 11th Street

Erie, PA 16501


Early Connections supports the success of young children and their families through leadership,

advocacy, and quality programs in early care and education.


Early Connections is a leader and innovator in the field of early childhood education and child care with

services, expertise, advocacy and partnerships that promote developmentally appropriate practices to

support children. We are an organization of diverse and multi-culturally competent staff, volunteers and

board members who effectively partner with families, professionals and the community.




Board President

Michael Thomas, Esq.

MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton LLP

Board Vice President

Laura Schaaf

Director of Giving

Barber National Institute

Board Secretary

Cathy Doyle, Esq

Erie Family Law

Board Treasurer

Katie Jones

Community Office Manager

ERIEBANK Harborcreek

Troy Peterson

Vice President, Contact Center Operations

Erie Insurance Group

Michael Plazony

Senior Vice President

Erie Insurance Life Division

Lori M. Hetrick

Vice President of Finance

Village at Luther Square


Darlene E. Kovacs

Executive Director

Michelle Harkins

Associate Executive Director

Family Support Program Supervisor

AJ Milanak

Vice President of Finance

Tracy Robison Chandler

Vice President of Professional Development

Kimberly Beers

Vice President of Outreach/Success By 6

Scholarship Director

Holly Platte

Human Resources Coordinator

Abby Perry

Family Support Case Manager

Jayne Deutsch

Administrative Assistant


Nancy Dalquist

Maggie Heslop

Early Connections, City Center

Kate Beer

Early Connections, Housing Authority

of the City of Erie

Katie Fisher

Early Connections, North East

Stephanie King

Early Connections, West Side

Early Connections is a 501(c)3

nonprofit organization-contributions

to which are tax deductible to the

fullest extent permitted by law.

Carlie Eck

Early Connections, Union City


As Early Connections looks back on a dozen years of service to young children and their

families, we know that our community’s children are bursting with potential for a bright and

productive future. We remain committed to persistently reaching out to children and families,

and to increasing access and opportunity to quality early care and education.

Part of “quality” includes ensuring that young learners are excited about the learning activities in

which they engage, through our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and

Mathematics) initiative and through the many opportunities that each new day brings. This is

how, in every classroom, we “light the fire” of learning in each child.

In this report, we highlight Early Connections’ work during the 2015-2016 year within our

organization and with our many community partners. Everything we do for our learners has, as

its central purpose, the opportunity for multiple avenues of exploration which better prepares

children for school and for their futures. Through our work and our collaborative efforts with the

many organizations and individuals with whom we work, we will continue our commitment to

Erie’s youngest children and to “lighting the fire” of learning in Erie County’s children.

Laura Schaaf

Darlene E. Kovacs

President of the Board of Directors

Executive Director

L. Cappabianca


of Federal Programs


Special Education


Public Schools


Early Connections

Organizational Overview

Early Connections (formerly the YWCA) has operated in Erie County for over

100 years, providing outreach and programming to young children and

families. Currently, Early Connections provides quality STAR 4-level

programming at five sites, four in the City of Erie and one in Union City. Our

sixth site, located in North East, is our newest center and has already been

fast-tracked to STAR 2, and operates using STAR 4 standards. STARS is a

quality rating system used by Pennsylvania to determine the quality of Early

Care and Education sites based on specific standards, with one STAR being

entry level in the system and four STARS being the highest quality. STARS

sets requirements for early childhood programs to promote the best learning

environment and safest setting possible for children, contributing to a child’s

overall success.

At Early Connections’ centers, in the care of caring, qualified staff, children

experience developmentally-appropriate learning activities which fulfill the PA

Early Learning Standards. Currently, we serve approximately 300 children in

our centers, from infant through school age. Five locations include Pre-K

Counts and two provide inclusive classrooms where children with identified

special needs attend programming with “typically-developing” children while

receiving supports to meet their needs. All centers participate in our contract

with Erie County to provide full-time programming for children in our Family

Support program.

Early Connections supports young children's early learning and development

through high quality programming, utilizing years of evidence-based research

that supports long-term positive impacts on a child, especially a child from

poverty (http://www.highscope.org). Young children in Erie County are

considered "high risk" for early school failure (OCDEL Reach and Risk Report,

2015). Research has shown that if children receive a high quality early

childhood education, they are more likely to succeed in school, graduate, and

enter the skilled workforce. Quality early childhood education provides a

positive long-lasting effect on a child’s educational and economic future, in

turn helping improve their community’s economy and future workforce


Early Connections accepts CCIS (subsidy) child care funding for qualified

families, and will direct families to the local resource for subsidy. Currently, EC

also provides up to 30 funded preschool slots for children whose families meet

the qualifications through United Way of Erie County funding. United Way has

also provided Early Connections with Bridge Funding, so that children whose

families are on childcare subsidy wait lists are not forced to wait for

programming, but can immediately become engaged in Early Connections

learning opportunities without interruption.

"Erie’s Public Schools has partnered

with Early Connections for many years

to provide inclusive classrooms for

preschool age children; providing a

quality childhood experience while

meeting children’s individual needs. "

In addition to early learning and

child care, Early Connections


Erie’s Future Fund, a scholarship

program supporting economicallychallenged

families in enrolling their

children in high quality early learning

throughout Erie County.

Success By 6, United Way’s initiative

to ensure that children enter

kindergarten ready to learn and

succeed in school.

Supported Play Groups, funded

through Community Improvement

Zone (CIZ) Race To The Top, to

assist families in helping their children

develop school and social skills.

Erie Free Taxes (Rural Outreach

Component), to increase families’

awareness of and access to no-cost,

professional-quality tax preparation.

Contracts with the Northwest Regional

Key, to provide technical assistance to

child care centers in Erie County and

neighboring counties; professional

development for child care

practitioners; and Child Development

Associate programs for CDA


We welcome questions regarding our

work, and invite you to read our

Annual Report in the pages that

follow. Early Connections is truly

dedicated to creating lifelong learners

through exciting and engaging


Program Highlights 2015-16


Early Connections is proud to have opened a new early care and education center in North East, Pennsylvania, to

serve the families in that area. EC North East provides families in the community with additional options for preschool

and child care programming. As all new centers do, ECNE opened with a STAR 1 rating but quickly progressed to

STAR 2, because from the beginning the program has been dedicated to providing quality child care and early

education for the children enrolled. At the time of this report, the center is preparing to continue moving through this

quality rating system and will achieve STAR 3. A special relationship has developed with Parkside North East where

children and seniors get together regularly to share time and activities.

Our success in the North East area has been strongly bolstered by the 4

N.I.N.E. organization, who provide financial support, materials, and

outreach to families and businesses.

The North East News-Journal annually conducts

a reader’s poll to determine which businesses are

the “best” in the community. Early Connections

was voted Best Daycare/Preschool in the North

East Community for 2015!!


Early Connections successfully applied for and received over 50

new Pre-K Counts expansion slots, allowing additional children to

have the opportunity to enroll in a high-quality, research-based

early learning program. New Pre-K Counts opportunities were made

available at all four Erie centers. In addition, a new partnership was

forged with the Iroquois School District. The district now provides a

Pre-K Counts classroom for 26 young learners, with Early

Connections as grant holder. This partnership has been a great

benefit to the children of Lawrence Park, and has connected Early

Connections and Iroquois for not only the present, but also for

future opportunities.

While we have several community initiatives that are vital to the well-being of early care and education not only at

Early Connections but in Erie County and NW PA in particular, our direct service to children and their families is

our highest priority. We honor the trust families have placed in us by providing the best programs and support

services we can deliver.

Pre-K Counts

Early Connections offers Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts classrooms

at 5 sites, providing opportunities for young children to experience

a high-quality early learning environment. Research shows that

a quality early learning experience gives young children a

greater opportunity for success in school and throughout

life. Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, established by the

Pennsylvania Department of Education, increases

accessibility for young children, especially those

considered to be high-risk, to have these high-quality

experiences. This opportunity is designed for children


• are between age 3 and younger than the entry

age for kindergarten;

• live in a family earning up to 300% of poverty; and

• may also have language barriers, a disability or

developmental delay, or other issues that make them

at risk for failing in school.

Pre-K Counts outcomes continue to show that children enrolled in the initiative are:

• Making outstanding progress throughout their participation in the program;

• Entering kindergarten with appropriate academic and social skills and ready to learn; and

• Continuing to achieve in school and through second grade.

The most recent data released in Pennsylvania is dated 2012-13 and indicates that the percentage of four-yearolds

who had proficient academic and social skills tripled to 82% after participating in Pre-K Counts. Statewide, as

of 2015 there were 13,456 preschoolers enrolled in Pre-K Counts, or 7.8% of eligible children. Erie County

exceeded that percentage – 763 children, or 16.2% of eligible preschoolers participated in Pre-K Counts during the

2014-15 school year. This is the most recent data provided by the Pennsylvania Reach and Risk Report.

During 2015-16, Early Connections provided Pre-K Counts programming for 167 eligible preschoolers at five

centers. Families support the program and are excited by their children’s progress and engagement in learning.

Here is what they had to say:

“Pre-K Counts has impacted me and my

"My child attended the Pre-K Program at

granddaughter truly by using the same

Harbor Homes for two years and at his

principles taught at home: redirecting

first Kindergarten conference the teacher

was more than impressed. He is a great

inappropriate behavior, always

acknowledging her by her name, (Good

friend, gets along well with others, and

Morning, Jayla) and sharing teaching

well prepared academically. I can't say

enough about the wonderful program and

methods that she can continue from

teachers in that building. Having my child

Pre-K to home.”

walk in the door and be successful means

Afreeica Woodard

the world to me as a mom."

Kate M. Beer, M.Ed.

United Way Success By 6

Success By 6 (SB6) continues to maintain and grow

collaborative community partnerships in order to facilitate

Kindergarten Readiness for Erie County children. Existing

partnerships with Erie’s Future Fund, United Way of Erie County,

Penn State Kinship Caregiver committee, the Local Interagency

Coordinating Council (a committee comprised of Early

Intervention Service Providers), and Erie Together allow for

achievement of program plan deliverables and efficient use of

community outreach resources.

The following outreach materials are

distributed at community event by SB6 on a

continuing basis:

Learning is Everywhere calendars and


Kindergarten, Here I Am & Kindergarten,

Here I Come calendars

PA Promise for Children bookmarks and


Early Learning GPS

Be Your Child’s Champion

Erie Together Kindergarten Readiness


United Way of Erie County Prescription

Discount Card

Erie FREE Taxes bookmarks and


Children Do Come with Directions

During the 2015-2016 year, Hooked On Books for Kids Erie (in

existence in Erie for over 20 years), and Success By 6 began

collaborating to provide children with brand new age appropriate

books during outreach events. Success By 6 continues to

promote the Dolly Parton Library to ensure that even more books

continue to arrive in children’s hands from birth to age 5. Also

noteworthy is the merging of the Success By 6 Child Abuse

Prevention Task Force with the Gannon University Child Abuse

Prevention Team; now called the Child Abuse Prevention Task

Force, serving all of Erie County. Success By 6/Early

Connections work with the Task Force to ensure an audience of

children (and beautiful blue pinwheels!) during the annual

proclamation of April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness

month in the City and County of Erie.

During the 2016 Early Learning Expo free books courtesy of

Hooked on Books for Kids Erie were provided to 245 children

from 172 families. The 2016 Early Learning Expo celebrated its

10th year and marked the 3rd year of participation in the event by

the Millcreek Mall and Widget Financial, including 30 vendors, 9

of those being direct early care and education providers. As the

event is held every year in April, which is both Month of the

Young Child and Child Abuse Prevention Month, a pinwheel (the

national symbol of child abuse awareness and prevention) was

provided to every child at the event. The Erie County Public

Library piloted their remote library card sign-ups (using i-Pads)

and Curious George was onsite to greet children and promote


The Kindergarten Readiness Toolkits are now firmly established

in the community as an Erie Together initiative, and Success By

6 continues to promote them at P-3 Governors

Institute/Kindergarten Readiness Teams, and Kindergarten

Registration Events across Erie County. This toolkit contains the

recently revised Success By 6 Children Do Come with Directions

booklet, among a variety of materials designed to inform families

and to provide them with ideas and materials to help their young

children grow in literacy and school readiness.

Connections has been a long-time partner with the Northwest Regional


STARS in the effort to improve the quality of early care and education for


children. Their leadership in working with caregivers through training events


technical assistance has been commendable and a great asset in our region. “


Keystone STARS Technical Assistance

Through an annual contract with the Northwest Regional Key, Early

Connections continues to provide Keystone STARS Technical Assistance

(TA) consulting to early learning and school-age programs in the region.

Technical Assistance is provided to facilities who wish to progress through

Keystone STARS and achieve specific quality levels. Consultation occurs

around the Keystone STARS content areas of Staff Qualifications and

Professional Development, Leadership and Management, Early Learning

and School-Age Programs, and Partnerships with Family and Community.

During 2015-16, Early Connections’ Technical Assistance consultant

provided 515 hours of direct service to 48 facilities.

Training and Technical Assistance research continues to support child care

consultation as a method to improve teacher efficacy and positive child

outcomes. Consultation is provided through multi-faceted one-on-one

coaching and mentoring with early educators and caregivers. Early Connections, in cooperation with the Northwest

Regional Key, had the opportunity to pilot a newly created Professional Development (PD)/Technical Assistance (TA)

Blended Model for the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL). This PD/TA Blended Model pilot

combined prescriptive Professional Development with the one-on-one support and implementation through traditional

STARS Technical Assistance coaching and mentoring. Eight child care centers and two Family Child Care Home

practitioners were afforded the opportunity to participate the Blended Model pilot project. The PD/TA Blended Model

has now expanded to other Professional Development Organizations. They are now following this methodology to

provide support around various classroom and teaching approaches and techniques to early educators in their

catchment areas.

Joyce Miller, Ph.D., CEO Northwest Institute of Research/Northwest Regional Key

Early Connections strives to support and educate the child care workforce through professional development

opportunities for teachers and staff in 20 counties of Northwestern Pennsylvania. One avenue for professional growth

is provided through an asynchronous online Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, which is a 120 hour

course. Upon coursework completion and CDA certification from the National Council for Professional Recognition,

Gannon University will articulate Early Connections CDA coursework into college credits for participants who desire to

continue in the Early Childhood Associate Degree program. The CDA program continues to be an excellent

opportunity for Early Childhood professionals, and during 2015-16, 20 individuals completed the program in two CDA



Keystone STARS (Standards, Training/Professional Development, Assistance, Resources) provides families with a tool

to gauge the quality of early learning programs. The STARS program supports early learing programs in the

commitment to continuous quality improvement. Programs that participate in Keystone STARS care about providing

quality early learning to your child. As programs move up the STARS ladder, they are providing even higher quality

experiences, so your child benefits even more from the program. Early learning programs can earn STAR 1 to a STAR

4 level. At each level, programs have to meet certain research-based quality standards that measure four areas that

make a difference in the quality of care your child receives: Staff Education, Learning Environment, Leadership

Management,and Family and Community Partnerships. As a program moves from STAR 1 to STAR 4, the

requirements in these areas increase.

Quick Facts

During the 2015-2016

school year:

164 scholarship

opportunities were

provided for eligible

children to attend a

quality Pre-K program

for 3 half-days per


Scholarship families

select a Pre-K

program from more

than 40 high-quality

program locations

throughout Erie


New for 2016 -

Summer Scholars

program provided 50

children with 11

weeks of part-time

quality summer care.

Data gathered from

the 2015-2016

scholarship year

revealed that by the

end of the school

year, an average of

92% of our 3 year-old

scholars were in

process or proficient

in the Key Learning

Areas, and an

average of 95% of our

4 year-old scholars

were in process or

proficient in the five

Key Learning Areas.



Erie's Future Fund

Erie’s Future Fund was created in 2011, an outgrowth of the Erie Community Foundation’s Early

Childhood Advisory Panel in partnership with United Way of Erie County, Success By 6, members of

the Early Learning Investment Commission (ELIC), and Erie Together. Community leaders from

corporate, nonprofit and civic sectors sought to address growing concerns about the lack of school

readiness among many children from low-income families entering kindergarten, and the significant

impact this was having now and in the future, on Erie County’s economy and quality of life. They

knew that children living within Erie County are our children and Erie County’s future.

This school year was Erie’s Future Fund’s fourth scholarship year. For the 2015-2016 school year,

with the financial support from within Erie County through individual donations, Pre-K Earned Income

Tax Credits, and cause-related marketing, Erie’s Future Fund provided 164 scholarship opportunities

for qualified children from low-income families to attend a high-quality early childhood education

program. Qualified families were provided with educational resources and support, along a list of

over 40 high-quality program locations. Once the families chose the quality program that best fit their

needs, they enrolled their child; Erie’s Future Fund provided scholarships to them for three-half days

a week during the school year.

New for 2016, with the help of generous donors, Erie’s Future Fund began a Summer Scholars

program. Fifty qualified children were provided the opportunity to attend a high-quality early

childhood education program three half-days a week for up to 11 weeks during the summertime. This

aided in providing adequate nutrition to the scholars and tackling “summer slide,” the loss of

academic skills and learning over the course of summer vacation. With the help of our donors, the

Summer Scholars program will continue each year, helping Erie County children thrive even more.

hank you, donors, for your continued efforts and support to help change our community, one child at

a time!

This year’s scholarship families continued to be diverse and hard-working. They included

grandparents, great grandparents, single moms and fathers, veterans, active members in the

military, varying ethnicities, refugees, families with twins, and families who have experienced a lifealtering

injury or loss of their spouse. Each scholarship family received educational resources and

information about family-friendly events that occurred throughout the community throughout the

lifetime of the scholarship. On-time kindergarten registration was encouraged; if needed, support

with kindergarten registration was also provided. The benefits to scholarship families went beyond

simply helping provide a positive foundation linked to kindergarten readiness skills and school

success. While the children were at school, family members were becoming more engaged in their

child’s education, attending college, securing jobs, advancing their careers, and even serving our


Every year, Erie’s Future Fund gathers scholar testing information that measures Five Key Learning

Areas. The Key Learning Areas were extracted from approved Pennsylvania guidelines that help

children develop and transition from preschool through third grade, and are as follows:

1. Mathematical Thinking and Expression

2. Scientific Thinking and Technology

3. Language and Literacy Development

4. Social and Emotional Development

5. Learning Through Play

The guidelines focus on standards that are research-based and essential to help our children

succeed in school, graduate, and productively contribute to our community. Years of research

have shown that improved kindergarten preparedness and school success eventually leads to an

improved future workforce and community. Thanks to the continued partnerships and the

collaboration efforts of leaders throughout Erie County from 2011 to the present, Erie’s Future Fund

scholars have been provided with a better opportunity to succeed in school, and life.

Community Partnerships


The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Erie County, NAMI, is focused

on fostering personal growth and family stability by supporting and

educating family members and individuals facing the challenges of

mental illness in Erie County. In April, 50 children from Early

Connections enjoyed a morning of music and creative activities with

national music artist Matuto, while helping NAMI to reach out to children

and their families to promote stress management and mental health

awareness to children through music. This was the second year that

Early Connections was invited to attend NAMI’s event. Matuto, a

Brazilian folk musical group, performed for the children for an hour. The

children enjoyed dancing and interacting with their classmates! As part of the grant budget, the children were also

admitted to the Children’s Museum for interactive play, a craft, and healthy snack. Each Early Connections child was

provided with a bag that included information for the family regarding the event and NAMI’s services that are

available to families in Erie County at no cost.

This project was a collaboration between NAMI of Erie County, the Mercyhurst

Institute for Arts and Culture, Erie Arts and Culture and Early Connections.

Support for the program the was provided by an Erie Arts & Culture Project

Grant, community contributions to the Combined Arts & Cultural Campaign,

and the Erie Arts Endowment. Thank you for a great event!


Erie County's Homelessness Management Information System (HMIS)

exists to provide a centralized database for collecting data from housing and service providers in order to

understand homelessness and poverty issues in Erie County. In 2015, over 64 children ages 3-5 within Erie County

were identified to the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS-Erie) as living in a homeless or transient

family situation. A family’s stress associated with the need for food and permanent shelter often leaves children

lacking access to consistent, quality early childhood education, and can hinder the child’s success in kindergarten

and school.

At the beginning of 2016, Early Connections began collaborating with the Erie United Methodist Alliance (EUMA) to

help homeless or transient families provide their children with access to quality early care and education. EUMA has

existed within our community for 130 years, providing services and shelters to help end homelessness to veterans,

youth, children and families, as well as addressing the root causes of poverty. In February, Early Connections

presented information during a EUMA executive staff meeting to mark the beginning of the process to streamline

Early Connections’ application process and enrollment for infants and children from EUMA families that are faced

with homelessness in our community. Early Connections staff look at appropriate financial tuition supports to help

assist the family enroll their children at any of our six locations. While attending, the children are provided with

nutritious snacks and meals, along with quality early care and education. Early Connections staff will also help with

kindergarten enrollment, if needed, providing an easier transition into kindergarten. Early Connections is thankful for

all of the work that EUMA provides to our community, and hopes to continue collaborating to help children from

homeless and transient families.


United Way Erie FREE Taxes is a program established to

assist eligible low to moderate income wage earners claim

the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a cash

refund, by providing them with free tax preparation and

filing services at volunteer tax sites. Created by the federal

government in 1975, the program is the most effective

poverty reduction program in the country. The EITC is a

special federal tax benefit for working people who earn low

to moderate incomes. It is a refundable credit that reduces

or eliminates income taxes they owe.

The Volunteers Income Tax Assistance program (VITA)

works to ensure that eligible tax filers receive all their tax

credits and deductions, including the Child Tax Credit,

Education Tax Credit and Child Care tax deductions.

FREE tax prep services are provided by IRS-certified

volunteers at numerous tax site locations in the community.

Early Connections administers this grant with United

Way as named lead agency, funded by Race To the

Top. Funding provides for supported play groups in

one urban and one rural location. Working with a

facilitator, families and caregivers have the

opportunity to network and to learn to be their child’s

first teacher using developmentally appropriate

activities. This promotes readiness for success in

school, and provides families with a better

understanding of school procedures and

expectations. Many participating families may have

economic or cultural challenges, and the support of

the facilitator and other families are of benefit to

everyone involved. Partners include the Iroquois

School District, the International Institute, YMCA of

Greater Erie, and the Union City Family Support

Center. During 2015-16, 17 families have

participated in Supported Play Groups.

Erie FREE Taxes VITA patron statistics for the

2015 tax filing season indicated that:

2,074 patrons received the EITC

1,029 of the VITA patrons live in rural


Total Tax dollars returned: $9,160,000

Erie FREE Taxes VITA patron statistics for the

2016 tax filing season indicated that:

Federal VITA Returns: 6,030

EITC Claims (incl in above total): 2,136

1,160 of the VITA patrons live in rural


227 patrons had a disability

Total Tax dollars returned: $10,130,000

Tax Filer Savings (est.): $1.63M


Through a contract with Erie County Department of

Human Services (DHS), Early Connections has

been provided with funding to enroll up to twelve

children, infant through school-age, on a full-time

basis. These children might otherwise not have an

opportunity to participate in quality early learning, or

experience the engaging activities provided in

before and after school care. The program is

named Family Support, because of a strong focus

on engaging families in their children’s learning and

in providing activities for the entire family. During

2015-16, 45 children from 25 families were enrolled

over the course of the year, and DHS hopes to

obtain funding to enroll additional children in the

coming year.

"Early Connections is the kind of nonprofit agency that can see beyond its own four walls


Early Connections is thankful for the generosity of our partners…...

The following partners contributed to Early


Jay and Ruth Alberstadt

Amerihealth Caritas

Bianchi Motors

Bort Insurance

David and Nancy Briggs

Desantis Janitor Supply Co.

Douglas Bennett Grant

Donna Douglass

Catherine Doyle

Erie Care Fund

Erie Community Foundation

Erie Gives

Erie Insurance

The Erie School District

Hagan Business Machines, Inc.

Michelle Harkins

Lori Hetrick

Holy Trinity Society

J.J.H.T., Inc.

Katie Jones

Dr. Michael and Nancy Anne Kalista

Bruce & Nancy Kern

George and Kristy Klapsinos

Knights of St. John

Dr. Paul and Darlene Kovacs

John Krol Post 6773

Sacred Heart Ushers Society

Laura Schaaf

William Schaal

Slovak National Club

Society of Holy Trinity

Mike and LeAnn Thomas

United Way of Erie County

Vicary Insurance Agency

Louise K Wells Fund

Wesleyville American Legion Carl Neff

The following partners contributed to Erie's Future

Fund through Pre-K EITC and Individual Donations

American Tinning & Galvanizing

Dennis and Betsy Bort

David and Dr. Nancy Briggs

CA Curtze Co.

Patti English

Erie Insurance

First Niagara

Anna Frantz

Cheryl Hirst

John E. Horan

Humes Chrysler Plymoth Dodge

Connie Kerr-Vogt

Keystone Research Corporation

Klein Plating Works Inc.

Dr. Jim and Gail Kurre

Lilley Broadcasting

Jim and Sue Livingston

Thomas A. McConnell

Dr. Joyce A. Miller, PhD

Northwest Savings Bank

PNC Bank

Robin Scheppner

Scott Enterprises, Inc.

Julie Slomski

Lisa Strong

Thomas Talorico

Mike and Maureen Trott

Thomas and Carol Tupitza

United Way of Erie County

UPMC Health Plan

Jeffrey and Margaret Zibelman

to understand and address the needs of the broader community. They do this by being

unselfish collaborators in the truest sense. At United Way, we call that LIVING UNITED."

Bill Jackson

President, United Way of Erie County

The following partners generously contributed

to Vinyl Palooza 2.0. Proceeds from the event

benefitted Early Connections and Erie's Future

Fund scholarships.

Louis Colaizzo


Erie Insurance - Life Division

Rep Flo and Vicki Fabrizio

Rep Pat and Michelle Harkins

Dr. Paul and Darlene E. Kovacs

McCoys Barrelhouse and Grill

The Plazony Family

Sunflower Club

United Way of Erie County

Friends of Sean Wiley

YMCA of Greater Erie

Stan Zlotkowski III

Ipads were purchased for each of our six

locations….Our children are thankful to

Lori Hetrick

Katie Jones

Dr. Paul and Darlene E. Kovacs

Cathy Doyle

Troy Peterson

Michael Plazony

Dave and Cathy Szymanski

Michael Thomas

Early Connections would like to thank all

of those who provided in-kind donations

to support Vinyl Palooza 2.0 and Early

Connections throughout the year.

Kristen Bole Photography

Chesney Auctioneers

Copyright Printing

Custom Audio

Downtown Partnership

Early Connections Staff

Erie Arts & Culture


Erie Experience Vinyl

Erie Playhouse

French Maids Cleaning Service

General Electric

Hanna Designs

Hooked on Books for Kids

Joe B's Carpets

Kiwanis Club of Erie

McCoys Barrelhouse and Grill

MnM Treasures by Michele Plazony

Michael and Michele Plazony


Quincy Cellars

Retirement Services of Erie

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Teresa's Deli

United Way of Erie County


Yuli by Rayna

Z3 Concepts

Stan Zlotkowski III

We have made every effort to list all grants/gifts received during the period July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016.

We apologize for any errors or omissions and ask you to contact Early Connections Administrative Offices at

814-874-0144 with corrections.

Accredited Under the


Association of Nonprofit

Organizations’ Standards

for Excellence®

Early Connections is proud to be able to display this Seal of Excellence awarded

by the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations. Early Connections

is the first nonprofit organization in this region to be awarded accreditation

under the Standards for Excellence® program, which is bestowed only to the

most well-managed and responsibly governed nonprofit organizations that have

demonstrated continued compliance with 56 specific Standards for Excellence®

based on honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, trust, responsibility, and

accountability. Early Connections has met, complied with, and integrated the

Standards for Excellence® into all its activities to successfully complete this

voluntary accreditation program.

Fiscal Report 2015-2016

Early Connections is a 501(c)3 nonprofit

organization-contributions to which are

tax deductible to the fullest extent

permitted by law. The official registration

and financial information of Early

Connections may be obtained from the

Pennsylvania Department of State by

calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania,

1-800-732-0999. Registration does not

imply endorsement.

Education is not the filling of a pail

but the lighting of a fire.

William Butler Yeats

City Center

704 State Street

Erie, PA 16501

(814) 456-4576

West Side

420 West 6th Street

Erie, PA 16507

(814) 456-5346


Harbor Homes

1841 East 18th Street

Erie, PA 16510

(814) 899-3310

John E Horan

Garden Apartments

730 Tacoma Road

Erie, PA 16511

(814) 454-9713


North East

43 South Lake Street

North East, PA 16428

(814) 315-2915

Union City

16380 Route 8

Union City, PA 16438

(814) 438-7016


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