New grant to help underserved children age 0-5 across the Tri County

February 20, 2023

Tri County Play Collaborative has received a $5,000 grant from Roper St. Francis Healthcare’s Community Investment program.

Founded in 2021 by a group of organizations with a dedication to early childhood education and a passion for enabling equal access for all children to opportunities to learn through play at cultural institutions, historic sites, and natural habitats, Tri County Play Collaborative provides cultural and outdoor learning-play events and health programs to underserved young children and their families, along with professional development trainings for their teachers and child care professionals. Those served are predominantly Black and Brown, and include children with disabilities.

The new funding will enable the Collaborative to expand three programs it successfully piloted in the autumn of 2021: Swimmerships, Farm Babies, and Birthing Justice.


The grant will allow Tri County Play Collaborative to provide learn-to-swim scholarships to additional Black and Brown families this spring, promoting safety and combatting disproportionate drowning rates for Black and Brown children.


The funds will also allow a second edition of the nonprofit partnership’s popular fall Farm Babies program, where young children will engage in six weeks of culturally relevant play experiences that explore ancestral farming techniques for growing and cooking seasonal, nutrient-dense food.


The grant will also support Black and Latinx pregnancies by providing support during and after pregnancy to young families by Black and Brown doulas, in partnership with Berkeley County’s Beloved Early Education and Care Collective. The inclusion of a doula—a trained professional who assists during pregnancy and labor—during the pregnancy and birthing process has been shown to significantly improve outcomes, including a reduced likelihood of Cesarean birth, better APGAR scores for the baby, and improved postpartum mental health. (APGAR is a test performed at one minute and five minutes after birth to determine how well the baby is doing outside the womb.)

“Roper St. Francis is honored to help support other organizations that promote health and serve our community, so that together we can make a difference in the lives of people and, in particular, the underserved of our community,” wrote Casey Eller, community services program manager for Roper St. Francis Healthcare.



Created by Berkeley County First Steps, Charleston County First Steps, and Dorchester County First Steps, Tri County Play Collaborative is an early childhood partnership between government agencies and nonprofits serving children age 0-5, community organizations, and cultural institutions such as libraries, museums, urban farms, and parks. Founded on the premise that play is beneficial to a young child’s learning, it offers underserved parents and caregivers of young children free or low-cost access to immersive experience to promote early learning through play.

To learn more, visit


As the area’s only private not-for-profit healthcare system, Roper St. Francis Healthcare chooses purpose over profits by putting its extra money back into its system to help meet the health needs of its community. The largest healthcare system features four flagship hospitals: Roper Hospital, Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital, Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital, and Roper St. Francis Berkeley Hospital. Roper St. Francis Healthcare’s 657-bed system consists of 117+ facilities and services across five counties. To learn more, visit