May 12, 2022

FMU’s Richardson Center for the Child awarded SC Building Blocks Grant

FMU’s Richardson Center for the Child awarded SC Building Blocks Grant

Francis Marion University’s Gail and Terry Richardson Center for the Child (RCC) is set to receive $142,500 thanks to the SC Building Blocks Grant.


SC Building Blocks Grants are stabilization grants appropriated to states in the American Rescue Plan Act to help support the childcare sector following the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds must be used to cover the main operating expenses of childcare providers in order to ensure better access to childcare.


“This grant is a testament to the quality of the Richardson Center for the Child and the wonderful work done by the staff there,” said Dr. Fred Carter, president of Francis Marion University. “We are immensely proud to have the center as a part of the FMU community, both for the quality child care it provides area families, and for the learning opportunities it affords FMU students.”


The size of the grant was determined by several factors, including the number of children currently enrolled in a facility, the number of infants served there, the facility’s licensed capacity, participation in the ABC quality system, and the number of voucher recipients currently served.


RCC will use the funds to cover costs of personnel, equipment, supplies, goods and services that are integral to the operation of the childcare center. 


“I am grateful for the opportunities this grant will provide for our children and staff,” said Melissa Ward, Director of RCC. “These funds will help ensure that our center continues to operate with the same high standards of quality as we – like other childcare centers – emerge from challenges presented by the pandemic.”  


The grant will be awarded immediately and must be spent by September 30, 2023.


The RCC offers childcare and development for children ranging from infancy to age 4 and plays a critical role in several university research programs. In addition to early childhood education, FMU students in nursing, psychology, and speech-language pathology use the center as a training and lab site.


Many of the RCC employees, including Ward, are graduates of Francis Marion University.


For additional information on the RCC, including how to enroll your child, visit