YMCA’s Lawson appointed to Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission

Bertram L. Lawson II, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, addresses state legislators and members of the press during a press conference in January 2024, announcing the expansion of the state’s Child and Dependent Care tax credit.

Bertram L. Lawson II, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW), has been appointed to serve on the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission. The Commission is comprised of leaders from across the state and across verticals, including Higher Ed, Healthcare, Finance, Energy, Technology and more – with a goal of expanding access to quality and affordable childcare and early learning, to benefit all Pennsylvanians.

Given the Y’s influential role in childcare and early learning, Lawson’s appointment is especially apt. YGBW, an association of nine YMCAs and Program Centers in Chester County, serves as the largest childcare provider in the county. Childcare services include early learning centers, before and after school enrichment programs and summer camps. Collectively, YMCA associations across the state serve more than 65,000 children, making the YMCA the largest provider in the Commonwealth.

“Childcare is often dismissed as an issue affecting the portion of population with young children. That’s a big misconception,” Lawson explains. “Childcare is the backbone of a thriving economy and matters to children, families, businesses, our economy and all Pennsylvanians.”

According to the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission, the ongoing childcare crisis costs our state’s economy $6.65 billion annually in lost earnings, productivity and revenue.

“I’ve experienced the childcare crisis from all sides – as a working parent, as a major employer in the region and as the leader of the largest childcare provider in Chester County,” continues Lawson. “The issue is very real and very pressing. Without access to affordable and quality childcare, parents aren’t able to hold jobs, employers aren’t able to fill roles and Pennsylvanians aren’t able to thrive.”

Lawson recently stood alongside Gov Shapiro, state legislators and community leaders in support of the expansion of Pennsylvania’s State Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. He brings 27 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, education and youth development to the Early Learning Investment Commission – with 25 years devoted to the YMCA movement. He previously serving as Chief Operating Officer for Mastery Charter Schools Network.

“Bertram’s expertise and leadership will be an asset to the Early Learning Investment Commission,” shares Nathan Brant, CEO of the Pennsylvania State Alliance of YMCAs. “His passion for youth development is contagious. I can’t think of a better leader to represent YMCAs across the state, all childcare providers in the Commonwealth – and the needs of Pennsylvanians.”

“I am honored to accept my appointment to the commission,” Lawson continues. “Education has mattered to me throughout my life. My mother is a retired Head Start teacher and instilled in me the value of a good education at an early age. I’ve devoted my career to building and growing quality youth development programs for children and families – and know firsthand the challenges facing residents of our great state.”

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