FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2014
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
EDPPlus Grant Helps Daycare Open in Converted Cave City Home
CAVE CITY, ARKANSAS, December 12, 2014 – Christine Cunningham has a heart for children. Before opening her Lil’ Cavemen Preschool and Daycare, Mrs. Cunningham and her husband fostered 73 children over a three-year period.
“I started this business in my home,” Mrs. Cunningham said. “But we live out in the middle of nowhere. When business started slowing down, we had to either close or move [the business] to Cave City.” She said that first year in Cave City, they rented a space but then decided to buy a home and convert it into a daycare. “We wanted to start investing in ourselves.”
Mrs. Cunningham talked with John Beller, president of the Bank of Cave City. “They are a hometown bank, and they have really worked with us. He helped me out when we needed to make modifications on the rental house,” she said. “When we wanted to stop throwing money away on rent, he was very helpful.”
Mr. Beller told the Cunninghams about the Economic Development Program (EDP) advance and the EDPPlus grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas).
“I wouldn’t be open if I hadn’t gotten the loan and the grant,” Mrs. Cunningham said. “We did a lot of work on the center this summer. We added additional hand-washing sinks, a fenced play-yard, and we are adding a safe shelter. We are part of Better Beginnings, which ranks daycares and preschools with star-ratings like hotels. With what we did, we got a three-star rating,” she said.
According to Mr. Beller, Mrs. Cunningham was a good candidate for EDP.
“The EDP program was perfect for her because, while she’d saved enough money for the down payment, she needed additional money to make improvements to the daycare,” Mr. Beller said. “We were able to get it done for her all in one loan package.” In addition to the loan which was funded by the EDP advance, Mrs. Cunningham received a $9,900 EDPPlus grant for her small business, which is located at 515 Laman Street.
EDPPlus grants, which are awarded in conjunction with EDP advances and are offered through FHLB Dallas members like the Bank of Cave City, are noncompetitive and available on a first-come, first-served basis to promote and enhance small- business development and job creation. In 2014, FHLB Dallas made available $1 million in EDPPlus grants through members.
A provision of the EDP required Mrs. Cunningham to receive guidance from a qualified small-business development center. She worked with Laura Miller, center
director of the Arkansas State University Small Business and Technology Development Center.
“Christine was referred to us from John Beller at the Bank of Cave City. He was excellent to work with and demonstrated that he really cares about his customers,” said Ms. Miller. “Christine already had experience with management and financials. We helped her prepare a business plan, financial projections, and loan proposal for her bank. When we last spoke, she said things were going well. I think she pretty much operates at capacity.”
Ms. Miller has been working with the center at Arkansas State since 2000. In her experience, the EDP advance and EDPPlus grant are unique in the industry. “This is really the only grant program I’ve seen that actually gives true grant money to for-profit clients,” she said.
The direct beneficiaries of Lil’ Cavemen’s grant funding range in age from 2 to 5. “We have 10 slots that are ABC, state-funded preschool,” Mrs. Cunningham said. “The other six slots are cash or vouchers. The public school also has an ABC program but it has 60 state-funded slots. There just aren’t a lot of daycares in Cave City, though. We are in a home, not a public school, so the kids feel more comfortable.”
Mr. Beller agreed there was a shortage of day care centers in the c
“There is a significant need in our community for daycare services.” he said. “Christine had operated in a leased space for a year, and she wanted to make more of a commitment to the community by investing in her own space.”
Mr. Beller learned about the grant program through an FHLB Community Development Workshop he attended that included information about the EDP.
“This was our first time to use it,” he said. “I heard about it when I went to an outreach program FHLB Dallas had in Little Rock. Within the month, I talked with Christine and thought the EDP would be perfect for her.”
About the Bank of Cave City
The Bank of Cave City is a community bank serving North Arkansas with locations in Cave City, Evening Shade, Lynn, and Strawberry. Chartered in 1906, the company remains committed to offering and delivering an exceptional banking experience to its neighbors every day. The bank may be contacted at 870.283.5301 or P.O. Box 490, Cave City, Arkansas 72521. The bank’s web address is
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the FHLBank System, created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $37.5 billion as of September 30, 2014, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas website at