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Arts Council named a Family Forward NC Certified Employer for policies supporting working families

[Fayetteville, North Carolina] – The Arts Council of Fayetteville|Cumberland County has been named a Family Forward NC Certified Employer by the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation’s Family Forward NC initiative.

Editorial by North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation

Launched in 2018, Family Forward NC is an innovative initiative to improve children’s health and well-being and keep North Carolina’s businesses competitive. It is an employer-led change to increase access to research-based, family-friendly practices - big and small - that improve workplace productivity, recruitment, and retention; grow a strong economy; and support children’s healthy development. To date, Family Forward NC has engaged with more than 6,900 employers across North Carolina.

A Family Forward NC Employer Certification designates employers that offer policies and practices that support the health and well-being of working families and children. To achieve certification, an employer must offer best-practice policies in one or more of five main areas:

  • paid leave and wages;

  • accommodations for pregnant and breastfeeding workers;

  • child care;

  • health and wellness benefits; and

  • scheduling practices.

Family Forward NC defines best-practice policies through:

  • the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation’s Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Measures of Success and Action Frameworks;

  • guidance from medical organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics or the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; and

  • guidance from our partners in early childhood organizations, including the Child Care Services Association, MomsRising, the North Carolina Breastfeeding Association, and others.

“The Arts Council is excited to join other businesses and nonprofits across North Carolina as a Family Forward organization,” states Kennon Jackson Jr., Executive Vice President of the Arts Council of Fayetteville|Cumberland County. “We are committed to our staff, their families, and our Cumberland County community. We are grateful for the NC Early Childhood Foundation's recognition of our policies and practices that support the health and well-being of working families and children.”

“Employers want to attract and retain the best employees, and they want those employees to be happy and healthy,” said Muffy Grant, Executive Director of the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation.

Yet the U.S. is facing a massive talent shortage that will result in a deficit of millions of workers by 2030, and a childcare crisis coupled with a lack of support like paid leave mean pregnant workers and working parents and caregivers - especially women - are disproportionately forced to change jobs or leave the workforce entirely or are unable to rejoin the workforce after giving birth.

“For children, our future workforce, there is a critical window of time for brain development during the earliest years of life. In fact, the first 2,000 days of a child’s life are so defining that by the time that child turns eight, his or her third-grade reading outcomes can predict future academic achievement and career success,” Grant said. Decades of research have established that children need supportive and supported families and communities to build strong brains, along with health and development on track from birth and high-quality birth-through-age eight learning environments with regular attendance.

For more information about our employee benefits and culture, visit

For more information about Family Forward NC and the Family Forward NC Employer Certification, visit


About the Arts Council of Fayetteville | Cumberland County

The Arts Council of Fayetteville|Cumberland County is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization based in Fayetteville, NC that supports individual creativity, cultural preservation, economic development, and lifelong learning through the ARTS. As a primary steward of public and private funding for arts, cultural, and historical activities in the Cape Fear Region, all

affiliated programs of the Arts Council exemplify our 5 core values: Excellence, Accountability, Transparency, Collaboration, and Innovation.

In the year 2021-22, the Arts Council distributed almost $1 million in grant funds and allocations to Cumberland County arts and culture non-profit organizations, artists, and municipalities.

Grants, programs, and services of the Arts Council are funded in part by contributions from community partners, and through grants from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County, and the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

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