A new name will soon adorn the Child Care Associates (CCA) campus that overlooks downtown Fort Worth: Happy Baggett Early Education Center.
“I grew up spending my summers at my grandparents’ home near Race and Sylvania Streets, just blocks from what is now the CCA headquarters. In many ways, this is my childhood neighborhood. When I had the opportunity to rally our community around ensuring this neighborhood had a high-quality early childhood center, my heart leaped. This is exactly what I want to help develop,” said Fort Worth business leader and developer Happy Baggett. “I also love that the campus that will soon bear my name sits on unobstructed riverfront property with stunning views of downtown Fort Worth. What an honor.”
On the verge of undergoing renovations to allow more children to be served there, the campus at 2400 E. 1st Street will ultimately serve 77-85 children with two to three new infant and toddler classrooms. The campus currently serves 61 children ages 0 - 5 years old. The building is 9,000 square feet and was built in 1995.
The Happy Baggett Early Childhood Development Fund (Happy Fund) is targeted to help secure $12 million over the next several years to immediately improve the quality of the 23 existing CCA early childhood campuses, as well as build new campuses in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Currently, those CCA centers serve approximately 2,300 low-income children per year.
“I have developed properties across 1,500 acres in Fort Worth and the Alliance Corridor for the last 26 years. However, I can’t get away from the feeling that I need to be doing more specifically for babies, for our very youngest children in high need neighborhoods. I just want to give to babies in my final days and make sure they are taken care of,” said Baggett. “I believe Child Care Associates is best positioned to make that happen in a meaningful and significant way.”
“When we started visiting with Happy about his legacy, we quickly realized that developing high-quality facilities for our youngest children was in his heart. CCA is humbled that Happy is allowing us to honor his philanthropic and community minded-legacy in this way,” said President and CEO of CCA Kara Waddell. “We thought it was significant that this building overlooks downtown and Happy is such a fixture in downtown. He is an inspiration and has been a supporter of equal education opportunities for those in need for many years.”
Early Childhood Investor Luncheon
Baggett will also serve as Chairman of CCA’s second Annual Early Childhood Investors’ Luncheon that helps raise awareness and support for the organization. This year’s luncheon is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 16 at the downtown Fort Worth Omni. Texas-based Inspirational Comedian Michael Jr. will serve as this year’s keynote speaker.
“Hap and I have been friends for 13 years and met when I was still in banking,” said Rattana Mao, CCA’s director of development. “It’s a full-circle moment and incredibly meaningful to bring together Hap’s vision for development in Fort Worth with CCA’s leadership to develop and improve our early childhood campuses. It’s a bonus to have him serve as our luncheon committee chair this year.”
The 2019 Early Childhood Investors’ Luncheon Committee includes Committee Chairman Baggett with committee members Aneila Banda, Greer Christian, Narron Clark, Rebecca Fazal, Carrie Gurley, Angela Hicks Heikkinen, Rachel Horton, Karen Jasper, JoAnn Jensen, Susan K. Medina, Kajal Mehta, Hannah Mercer, Beth Pulliam, Erin Rahr, Deborah Robinson, Maggie Baggett Shori, Molly Thames, Glenn Williams and Kia Williams.
Child Care Associates is the largest child development nonprofit in North Texas and has served more than 500,000 young children in the past 50 years. Through Head Start and Early Head Start programs, Child Care Associates delivers early education that ensures children who need it most are ready to succeed in school. As a “whole-child, whole-family” program, Child Care Associates offers support in areas such as mental health, emotional development and nutrition for low-income children ages zero - five years old. Child Care Associates operates 23 child development centers in the greater Fort Worth and Arlington-area to serve approximately 2,300 children per year. Partnering with school districts and charter schools, Child Care Associates ensures underprivileged children in Pre-K also receive these whole child, whole family services.