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AFT, Amalgamated Bank, National League of Cities Announce $100 Million Early Childhood Investment

New York, N.Y. — Today, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers; Keith Mestrich, President and CEO of Amalgamated Bank; and Tonja Rucker, program director for the National League of Cities’ Early Childhood Institute for Youth, Education and Families held a press conference at the Clinton Global Initiative 2015 Annual Meeting to announce a major commitment for early childhood education infrastructure.

The AFT, the First Five Years Fund, Invest in US, Amalgamated Bank and the National League of Cities announced a new Early Childhood Expansion Infrastructure Fund commitment. The groups will explore the creation of a $100 million construction loan fund to renovate 350 existing classroom facilities in seven cities and build an additional 250 new classroom facilities in three cities. This commitment is expected to affect approximately 36,000 children in early childhood education programs over the next three years.

“There’s an urgent need to invest in our nation’s infrastructure, and I am proud that the AFT is tackling this head on,” said Weingarten. “We’re helping schools nationwide address one the biggest challenges as early childhood education expands—securing high-quality classrooms to meet the growing needs of these vital programs. This shows what can happen when creative and innovative thinking is applied to America’s most pressing challenges.”

“For nearly 100 years, Amalgamated Bank has worked to uplift and support a middle class that is all too often struggling. We have found, time and again, that investing in education is the first and best step to real, high-quality jobs and stronger communities,” said Mestrich. “Renovating these classrooms is a tangible step to improving the lives of 36,000 children. That’s 36,000 families in urban areas seeing better results; 36,000 small communities growing safer and better, thanks to the work we are doing here today. We couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this work.”

“Investing in our nation’s youngest learners is critical to making sure more children become confident learners and eventually highly productive and successful adults,” said Kris Perry on behalf of the Invest in US campaign. “Expanding opportunities for kids through new facilities allows us to increase access to crucial high-quality early learning programs for children who need it most. We’re proud to contribute to this commitment, and we look forward to seeing how this investment changes the lives of kids across America.”

“The National League of Cities is excited to partner with the American Federation of Teachers, the First Five Years Fund and the Amalgamated Bank of New York to ensure the education of our youngest children is taking place in learning spaces that meet the needs of early education providers, parents and, most importantly, our kids,” said Clarence Anthony, CEO and executive director of the National League of Cities. “We are honored to be here today at CGI’s Annual Meeting for this historic announcement.”

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