Early Learning Coalition Of Manatee County Inc
600 8th Avenue W. Ste. 100
Palmetto FL 34221
To provide and coordinate the services of School Readiness programs in an efficient manner, in order to help all children develop the skills needed to achieve future educational success; to support the role of parents as their child's first and most important teacher; and to continue to improve the quality of services available in the community.
CEO/Executive Director Paul A Sharff
Board Chair Howard Veltz
Board Chair Affiliation Governor Appointee
General Info
Organization DBA
Former Names
School Readiness Coalition
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1997
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Nov 2017
State Registration Yes 0
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $20,625,241.00
Projected Expenses $20,625,241.00
IRS Letter of Determination
ELC Manatee IRS 501(c)3 Determination LetterView
Other Documents
Annual ReportView
Annual ReportView
Annual ReportView
Impact Statement
The Early Learning Coalition administers the School Readiness and Voluntary Prekindergarten programs in Manatee County, providing services to families and early care and education providers in support of high quality opportunities for all children and their families.

Continued NextGen publication - our unique family resource magazine, a go-to resource guide for families with articles on early learning issues, fellow non-profits, community champions, and many other family topics.


In fiscal year 2015-2016, the Coalition reduced the wait list for families needing child care assistance by placing over 650 children into child care programs.


Partnered with the Kiwanis Club of Bradenton the 5th annual Every Child A Reader program, bringing together 69 volunteers and 105classrooms for a morning of reading to children ages 3-5.  Every child received a book to continue the reading relationship with their parents for a total of 2000 books.


Served over 7500 children - providing such services as Child Care Resource and Referral materials on choosing quality child care, assessing family needs, and developmental screening services.

With the Suncoast Grade Level Reading Campaign and through the generosity of the Patterson Foundation, four staff are facilitating Mind in the Making training in Manatee County.


Early Steps to School Success, a program of Save the Children, began operation this year. Early Steps to School Success is a low-cost, targeted approach to enhance school readiness for children in some of Manatee's poorest communities.

Implemented the Nemours Bright Start program 



Increase awareness of the importance of early literacy opportunities for all children.

Increase family involvement in their child's early care and education experiences in child care facilities contracted with the ELC.

Produce an activity calendar for children in VPK to help prepare them for kindergarten and reduce the effects of the summer slide.

Needs Statement
1. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) curriculum will be taught from a mobile Tinkering Van to the early learning classrooms in Manatee County. ELC owns the van that the county schools will use to bring STEAM activities to all preschools. $18,000
2. Wave Fitness is a prevention-driven health and wellness program being piloted in early learning classrooms this summer. Currently 25% of the children in Manatee County are obese. Statistics show well-designed fitness programs used directly at learning locations have significant, direct effects on reducing body mass index levels, preventing obesity, and improving academic success. $7,500
3. Preschool Emergency Alert Response Learning System (PEARLS) is new program for Manatee County child care providers. Through collaboration with three local law enforcement agencies, the PEARLS team will help providers safeguard against any local dangers. PEARLS provides free training to all interested providers. $1,300


Background Statement
Section 411.01 and Chapter 1002, Florida Statutes provides a unified approach to coordinating and enhancing Early Care and Education programs intended to ensure a child's readiness for school.  The Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County was created to fulfill the intent of the legislative requirements at the county level.  The Coalition develops and administers comprehensive School Readiness and Voluntary Prekindergarten programs that prepare children to succeed in school and in life.  This is an ongoing process that involves building on existing services, working in cooperation with other programs for young children and coordinating and integrating program funding and services to achieve efficiency, accountability and maximum effectiveness.  Local funding provided through agencies, such as Manatee County Children's Services and United Way, help to enhance the legislatively mandated programs by providing match dollars to leverage all available federal and state funding. 
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Manatee
Areas Served Comments
Serve families of children birth through 12 and early care and education child care providers in Manatee County
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Education
Secondary Org Type Human Services
Tertiary Org Type
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
What better time to invest in the future of our children than in the first five years?  The need for quality early care and education programs with an emphasis on early literacy and developing strong social/emotional skills has never been as significant as it is right now.  Having been the board chair since 2009, I have seen the impact of the VPK and School Readiness programs on our children and families.  The ELC believes strongly in supporting our child care provider's efforts in developing quality early learning programs that promote family engagement with a strong emphasis on the parent's role as their child's first and most important teacher.  Our Quality Counts for Manatee Children program provides the support and resources needed for our providers to succeed in this endeavor ultimately leading to the success of our children.  By investing in the first 5 years of our children's lives we are investing not only in their futures, but in the futures of generations to come.
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
Our School Readiness and VPK programs not only provide families with financial assistance to allow the caregivers to stay employed or enrolled in school, but also represent an investment in the community of over 19 million dollars annually. 

The quality of our programs have a direct impact on the ability of our
children to enjoy positive early care and education experiences that will help guide them the rest of their lives.

The Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County’s partnerships with the Manatee County Children’s Services Board, Board of County Commissioners, School Board, United Way, city, state,
and federal government bodies and our vast community organizations, are vital to our success. We feel very fortunate for our great relationships, and recognize that we must strive every day to enhance them. By doing so, we achieve a diversity of viewpoints and resources that allow us to meaningfully improve school readiness and early literacy in Manatee County.

While we are proud of our accomplishments to date, we look forward to achieving our goals to increase the awareness of the importance of early literacy, quality early care and afterschool programs and family engagement. The children of Manatee County deserve this investment in their futures!


The Coalition received over 40,000 books from a grant through First Book Marketplace. A book is given to every child that comes to the office or a community event.  Each book has an "I'm a Reader" label inside. Parents receive "Reading Tips" that offers fun ways they can help their children become happy and confident readersChildren’s books are present in the lobby of the Coalition office for parents to read to their children while they wait for their appointment. Our Every Child a Reader event gave 2,000 children a new book read by local dignitaries, business people and community volunteers. Over 5,000 books were distributed at the Lakewood Ranch Halloween Boofest event. Over 400 books were distributed to children attending the story readings by area dignitaries at the Party in the Park. Through a grant from 2017 MLK Day of Service, 1,500 bilingual and culturally sensitive books will be distributed at three local venues celebrating MLK Day.

Budget $30,000
Category Education, General/Other Literacy
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) Children Only (5 - 14 years) Adults
Short Term Success
99% of children who selected a book to take home indicated excitement about reading and pleasure with the process as indicated by staff observations of children.
95% of parents surveyed agreed that the age appropriate book given to their children and the information regarding the importance of early literacy has increased their understanding of the value of reading to their children.  
Long Term Success
Studies show that academic successes at ages nine and ten are attributable to the amount of talk they have from birth to age three, and that the variation in children's verbal and written language abilities is relative to how much and how often families speak with their children. Parents are the child's first and best teacher, and as such benefit from resources and community support to help the child succeed.  Families who read with and to the child, engage in meaningful conversations with the child, and demonstrate positive interactions will have an upward impact on the child's language and literacy skills outcomes, and general school readiness. 
Program Success Monitoring

Book distribution both in the office and at community events is monitored and tracked by ELC staff through its EFS database and customer satisfaction surveys.


Program Success Examples
  • Children selecting their own books smile, show their families their books, and hug their books. 
  • When asked if the child she was carrying wanted a book, a parent at a community event replied, "Why? She can't read?" After a conversation with the parent about the joys of sharing a book with the child, the parent took the book and said she would read it to her. 
  • "My children love reading."  N.O.
  • "I was really pleased with the service."  V.M.
  • "[I] was offered a book of my choice - great service giving free books to kids."  V.T. 
  • "My daughter received a lovely book with beautiful illustrations from her VPK program at Wee World Preschool in Palmetto. The book had a label from the Manatee Early Learning Coalition. I am writing to thank you for sending this book home for my daughter and to let you know how excited she was to receive it! We enjoyed reading the story and completing the activity together. I have attached a picture of us to share the experience with you. In this holiday season where so many children are very focused on toys it was very special to receive a beautiful book and share the excitement of reading and retelling the familiar story with my daughter."

To ensure that children are ready for school, the Coalition currently monitors the development of all school-readiness children under age five using a developmental screening assessment within 45-days of the child's initial enrollment in the Coalition. The screenings are performed by Coalition Developmental Specialists and are usually performed at the child care setting. Children are re-screened each year. The developmental screenings assess children’s communication skills, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, problem-solving skills, and social-emotional well-being. Additionally, the Coalition ensures that all school-readiness children have received vision and hearing screenings. Parents of children whose results indicate they might benefit from further evaluation receive referrals to those community agencies who can evaluate, diagnose, and recommend/provide therapies. Through screening, monitoring, and appropriate referrals, children should enter school ready to learn.

Budget $125,000
Category Human Services, General/Other Child Care
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5)
Short Term Success
90% of families whose children are identified through developmental screening as having possible delays report learning two strategies to use with their children to encourage progress in the affected domain(s) of development. 
Long Term Success
Studies show that the early detection and treatment of children with special needs can save $30,000-$100,000 per child through such things as reduction in the need for special education services, reductions in juvenile and adult incarcerations, and earning power of those completing school. 
85% of children funded through the Coalition (in both School Readiness and VPK programs) in Manatee County enter school ready to learn, with developmental and physical delays having been identified, or referred and in  the process of becoming identified.    
Program Success Monitoring
Child screening is measured by Coalition staff using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (3rd edition) (ASQ).  Vision screenings by Coalition staff use the MTI Photoscreener and/or Welch-Allyn SureSight.  Hearing screenings by Coalition staff using the MAICO Ero Scan or the Grason-Stadler GSI70.  Results are tracked by Coalition staff using an ASQ database in conjunction with the EFS database for the ASQ, and the EFS database in conjunction with provider records for vision and hearing. Tracking is monitored by Coalition staff, Manatee County Government, and Florida's Office of Early Learning.  
Program Success Examples
  • A parent reported that because of the early identification of a vision issue, the child now has been given corrective lenses and is flourishing in her program.
  • Another parent expressed relief that what appeared to be behavior issues were really due to a developmental delay that has now been identified because of our screening.  This child  is now receiving therapy that should enable her to enter regular kindergarten classes and not special education classes.
A parent is a child's first and most important teacher, therefore, the Coalition offers parenting training to support families in helping their children develop to their maximum potentials.  Communication skills, setting appropriate limits, development of pro-social behaviors, building cognitive and literacy skills, appropriate guidance and discipline, and positive handling of life transitions, such as, separation/divorce/loss or starting kindergarten are among the most frequently noted topics of need. Four persons now facilitate Mind in the Making training series in the community. 
Budget $35,000
Category Human Services, General/Other Child Care
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Families Other Named Groups
Short Term Success
  • After having received information on requested topics, 80% of families will indicate satisfaction with and/or ability to use their new knowledge.
  • 99% of families indicate having learned more about child growth and development.
  • 98% of families surveyed indicate having used information presented to enhance their child's school readiness.
  • 98% of families surveyed indicate having learned and/or used new ways to set child behavior limits.
Long Term Success
Research shows that the higher the level of family engagement in their children's education, the higher the outcome for the child across domains, and not just at entry to school but throughout the K-12 spectrum.  Families who use age-appropriate positive interactions with their children have been shown to prepare their children socially and emotionally for future success, as well as nurture the development of positive approaches to learning.  
Program Success Monitoring
  • Child Care Resource and Referral parent needs questionnaire follow-up surveys
  • Verbal reports to Coalition staff as documented in EFS or current database
  • Knowledge gain surveys from parenting classes
Program Success Examples
  •  [I learned] "that boundaries are important in my and my child's life. My fiance's role is important and working as a team creates a healthy life."
  • "I have a better understanding about my kid's growth from hearing other parents, also I learned from the teacher that a lot of what goes on at home has a big effect on how the kids act and how we are the biggest role models they have."
  • "I have begun to understand how to help my children grow and be happy, especially with all of our life's altering circumstances." 

Children deserve and parents should expect high quality care and learning opportunities from the child care facilities and the before/after school programs from which they must choose. The Coalition's Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) asks child care providers to perform a self-study of their operations in seven areas. The scores are combined into one final score and the provider is assigned a star level rating. The star ratings are available to parents to assess the quality of the early child care and education being provided by the facility. The Coalition also offers services to providers to improve and enhance quality. These services include professional development/in-service training opportunities, an annual local early childhood conference, technical assistance both onsite and in the Coalition office, curriculum/materials, such as project-based learning opportunities in before/after school programs, and quality improvement planning, when appropriate. Child care facilities in the QRIS evaluation process are reviewed annually to retain their star rating.

Budget $120,000
Category Human Services, General/Other Child Care
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Short Term Success

The Coalition implemented the QRIS program in 2011. Of the current 23 participants, 96% are at or above a 3-star level.

Long Term Success

Studies of early childhood programs have concluded that the higher the quality of the program, the higher the outcomes for the children. Studies of before/after school programs have demonstrated that students attending high-quality programs improved reading and math grades, as well as improved performance on state assessments. The ultimate goal would be to have 100% participation by School Readiness providers in the QRIS program with all participants performing at 3, 4, or 5 star levels, and 100% of before/after school programs seeking to enhance school curriculum and programming.

Program Success Monitoring
Review and validation of the QRIS self-study includes onsite observations and ratings using the Environment Rating Scales. In before/after school programs, the School-Age Environment Rating Scale is used for performance and tracking observations. Monitoring is performed by Coalition and Manatee County staff.
Program Success Examples
"We have been diligently working on it for the last month and have come across many areas that we need and have improved on. As good as we all think we are, there always seems to be areas of improvement. So, I wanted to say thank you, thank you for choosing us and thank you for implementing this in Manatee County to improve the quality of those of us that serve children" stated by a center provider.
"The resources purchased will be used in every aspect of learning for the development of each child in our center” noted by another provider.



Florida is the first state in over 5 years to join the Save the Children Network (STC). The "Early Steps" program is the result of that successful partnership. In 2016 "Early Steps" began in 6 elementary schools and 16 preschools in rural, low-income areas. "Early Steps" is serves low-income pregnant and parenting women and their children under age 5. For pregnant women and parents of infants, prenatal health care, infant care, and infant developmental education and screenings are given through home visits. For parents with children ages 1 to 3, the program continues educating and supporting parents through child play and learning groups, health and nutrition information, early language and literacy development, and parent networking and social support groups. For parents and their children from ages 3 to 5, the program focuses on their preschool experience, making home-school connections, early literacy with the Raising a Reader program, and going to school.

Budget $200,000
Category Education, General/Other Early Childhood Education
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5)
Short Term Success

Since this program's implementation is less than a year, local outcomes cannot be accurately measured at this time.

Long Term Success

Across the nation, the Early Steps program outcomes showed that after one year of participation, 80% of 3-year-olds scored at or above normal in vocabulary acquisition, which remained consistent when assessed again at age 5, even with an average of five societal risk factors.

Program Success Monitoring

In Manatee County, the Early Steps program is being closely monitored by the Coalition Child Development Director, the Florida Office of Early Learning, and the Save the Children organization. After a complete year of services, children aged 3 to 5 are assessed with the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test that is designed for that age level.

Program Success Examples

When Coalition’s Child Development Director asked a new teenage mother in the program about her experience, she called it, “Life-changing! The coordinator has helped me learn parenting skills.” When asked what she would say to others about the program, she said, “It’s an excellent program that helps with parenting skills, but not just with that, they support and understand you, giving you good advice and getting you ready for your baby.”

CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Paul A Sharff
CEO Term Start Oct 2008
CEO/Executive Director Email psharff@elc-manatee.org
Paul Sharff has been an advocate for children for many years.  His dedication to children's issues has led him to serve on the Board of Directors of the Manatee Education Foundation, Take Stock in Children Foundation, Police Athletic League, Stewart Elementary School Advisory Committee, and King Middle School Advisory Committee.  Mr. Sharff has also served as a Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority Commissioner and Vice President of the Manatee County Housing Finance Authority.
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Karen Holman Chief Financial Officer
Sharon Oakes Chief Operations Officer
Pamela Parmenter Quality Initiatives Program Manager
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 38
Part Time Staff 4
Staff Retention Rate % 85
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 0
Volunteers 0
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
The Coalition collaborates with Manatee County Government, Suncoast Workforce, Head Start, Healthy Start, Manatee Chamber of Commerce, Safe Children’s Coalition, State College of Florida and the Foundation for State College of Florida, Whole Child Manatee, Manatee Sheriff’s Department, Kiwanis Club of Bradenton, Manatee Sunrise Kiwanis Club, Manatee Education Foundation, Manatee County Housing Authority, Manatee Children’s Services, HOPE Family Services, Salvation Army, Turning Points, Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness, Jewish Families and Children's Services, Manatee Hope, United Way, School District of Manatee County, Family Partnership Center, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays Foundation, Lions Club of Bradenton, Safe Kids Coalition (All Children’s Hospital), Florida Association for the Education of Young Children, Manatee Association for the Education of Young Children, Florida Family Child Care Home Association, Home Child Care Providers Association of Manatee County, Take Stock in Children, American Red Cross, Family Network on Disabilities, Manatee County Government Children’s Services Advisory Board, Hernando DeSoto Historical Society, Department of Children and Families Child Care Licensing, Pinellas County Schools Child Care Worker Training Program. Our most important collaboration is with our early care and education child care providers in Manatee County. 
Association of Early Learning Coalitions2012
Manatee Chamber of Commerce2012
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
Non Profit of the Year - EducationTampa Bay Business Journal2015
Risk Management Provisions
Fundraising Plan Yes
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years 5
Strategic Plan Adopted Mar 2011
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures Yes
Other Documents
Other Document 2
Document Destruction Policy
Board Chair
Board Chair Howard Veltz
Company Affiliation Governor Appointee
Board Term June 2013 to Apr 2017
Board Chair Email HveltzCPA@yahoo.com
Board Members
Board Members
Robert Bell Private Sector
Patrick Cassella Private Sector
James Chatham M.D.Manatee Diagnostic Center
James Disbro CareerSource Suncoast Designee
Linda Guritz Educator-Retired
Rachel Kendzior Speech Language Pathologist
Debbie Kibler Special Needs Representative
Deborah Ludwig A Readiness Learning Academy, Director
Dr. Carla McGill Manatee County Health Department Designee
Joseph Miller Community Volunteer
Andrew Minor Merrill Lynch
Adam Mohammadbhoy Private Sector Business
Diane Neeves Self-Employed
Dr. Sharon Otis Self-Employed
Jennifer Passmore Manatee County Commissioners Appointee
Kathy Patreka Head Start Director
Timothy Pye ASI Underwriters
Michael Rampino Fire Chief, North River Fire District
Christina Riggio Therapeutic Specialist
Rev. Nathan Speck-Ewer Episcopal Priest and Educator
Len Tabicman Self-Employed
Dr. Robin Thompson Manatee County School District
Howard Veltz Veltz CPA
Mary Beth Wehnes Department of Children & Family Services
Madison Wells Leslie Wells Realty
Lupita Wells Retired
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 24
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 12
Female 14
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 4
Board Term Limits 2
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Board Meeting Attendance % 64
Board Self-Evaluation No
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 75
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 20
Standing Committees
Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction
Board Governance
Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2016
Fiscal Year Ends 2017
Projected Revenue $20,625,241.00
Projected Expenses $20,625,241.00
Organization has Endowment No
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Historical Financial Review
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$18,576,133$19,118,265$18,360,571
Individual Contributions$41,077$20,601$46,176
Investment Income, Net of Losses$0$128$0
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$19,078$8,854$11,205
Revenue In-Kind$87,664$2,200$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$18,156,517$18,644,357$17,609,727
Administration Expense$954,519$860,325$1,036,445
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.991.001.00
Program Expense/Total Expenses95%96%94%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$1,833,859$1,937,394$1,745,968
Current Assets$1,800,510$1,898,276$1,675,958
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$1,656,780$1,631,297$1,418,237
Total Net Assets$177,079$306,097$327,731
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountGovernment Grants - Federal $10,124,394Government Grants - Federal $10,643,263Government Grants - Federal $9,770,875
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountGovernment Grants -State $6,625,520Government Grants - State $6,568,395Government Grants - State $7,022,000
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountGovernment Grants - Local $1,715,026Government grants - Local $1,740,000Government grants - Local $1,567,696
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $125,001 - $150,000
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.091.161.18
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Foundation Foundations and corporations are included with individual contributions as they were not separated in the 990s or audits.  Financial figures were taken from the Federal 990s for tax years 2010 and subsequent years, and from the audited financial statements for tax year 2009 as the organization was deemed exempt from filing a Federal 990 for that year.  For tax years 2011 and 2010, the Federal tax returns and audited financial statements reconcile.
Nonprofit Early Learning Coalition Of Manatee County Inc
Address 600 8th Avenue W. Ste. 100
Palmetto, FL
Phone 941 757-2900