THINK Together acquires new building in deal with Children and Families Commission
Tens of thousands of Orange County’s youngest children will benefit from high-quality early literacy and math programs for at least the next 10 years, the result of an innovative funding arrangement between THINK Together and the Children and Families Commission of Orange County.
Since 2010, the Commission has partnered with THINK Together – a leading academic support provider — to deliver countywide early literacy programs. Earlier this year, the Commission approved a one-time, $5 million allocation of catalytic funding to THINK Together to ensure the sustainability of early literacy and math programs throughout the county.
The two organizations worked together to craft a 10-year partnership, leveraging other funding sources to offset THINK Together’s current operating expenses, and obligating THINK Together to deliver early learning services countywide for the next 10 years.
Purchasing the 52,600-square-foot office complex and making it THINK Together’s new headquarters positions the academic support organization well for the future.
THINK Together currently leases 40,000 square feet at two separate Fourth Street locations. By moving into one complex the organization will save $750,000 in rent annually. The savings will be used to directly fund critically needed early learning programs for at least a decade rent.
“Because we were able to purchase this property for cash, we will now be able to reinvest the money we would have otherwise paid in rent in literacy and math programs for needy school-age children,” said THINK Together CEO Randy Barth. “This purchase is a major milestone for THINK Together as it strengthens our balance sheet making us more financially sustainable while increasing our ability to provide these much-needed programs that are helping to close the achievement gap.”
Because the new building is currently configured for smaller tenants and is 49% occupied, it will take some time before THINK Together will move all its operations onto the property.
In addition to the assistance of the Children and Families Commission, THINK Together was aided by the pro-bono assistance of Board Member Kevin Hayes and his team from Lincoln Properties, as well as assistance from the law firm of Sheppard Mullin to complete the transaction.
“The Commission is investing in long-term programs to sustain the health and early education of young children throughout Orange County,” said Sandra Barry, chair of the Children and Families Commission of Orange County. “Our partnership with THINK Together ensures that early literacy and math programs that are critical to a child’s success, will continue well into the future.”
The Children and Families Commission contracts with THINK Together to provide early learning programs that serve more than 57,000 children and their families countywide. Programs target children ages 0 to 5 and their parents and use highly cost-effective, evidence-based tools to ensure children have basic literacy, vocabulary and math skills to prepare them for kindergarten. THINK Together’s program also includes physical activities (CATCH for Preschool) and science activities to encourage curiosity and critical thinking.
Barth noted that less than half of Orange County’s low-income students have access to quality early childhood education. One in three children enters kindergarten lacking the basic pre-reading and math skills which are proven to be a key factor in determining high school graduation and lifelong success.