The Child Development Association rings in its golden anniversary by turning over a new leaf with a name change and rebranding.

“As we begin to celebrate our 50th anniversary year and think about our next half century, we wanted to update the CDA name to better reflect our mission and work,” said CEO and Executive Director Maggie DeCan.

According to DeCan, “the CDA brand has been refreshed before, but never undergone a name change.”

DeCan recollects that the previous refresh was about 10 years ago.

“For the last 6 months the board and staff worked on developing our strategic priorities, vision, mission and values,” she said.

Commonly known as the “CDA,” the staff and board developed our new five year strategic plan that included increasing enrollment, improving community awareness and engagement and growing sustainable funding on the list of priorities.

According to DeCan, “the idea of a full-fledged name change became an imperative.”

“The goal was to retain the wonderful reputation for excellence that the CDA has built with updated brand communication to more accurately reflect the culture and mission into our next 50 years,” said DeCan.

“We are excited and believe that the new logo and name change to Children’s Development Academy will better convey that we are a school for young children that provides the highest quality early learning and care.”

CDA’s vision statement, “Best Start. Brightest Future. Every Child,” next to the new name and logo, “really brings it all home.”

The intention is “to modernize the name and make it more recognizable.”

“We are a hidden treasure that the new name is designed to shine a light on,” she said.

DeCan describes new board member Steve Harding as “having a heart for kids and education,” resulting in he and his Aimes Scullin O’Haire Advertising colleague, Ryan Mikesell, provided expertise free of charge.

“It is a smiley face just like the expression everyone gets when they see our kids playing on their playground, planting in the learning garden, riding trikes in ‘Kiddie City,’ learning their letters or screaming through our water park in the summer,” said DeCan.

She describes it as “boldly colored and imperfect, like children's artwork.”

The font for the name is also described as childlike.

“It is intended to reflect the generous, high energy, happy individuals who are our children, our staff, our board and our many volunteers and supporters,” said DeCan.

“The word 'association' just does not do justice to all that good that has happened and continues to happen for children every day,” said DeCan.

An additional goal, according to DeCan is “to keep all that is great about the CDA, but also give those initials meaning that were more in line with our focus on high quality early education and preschool.”

She anticipates that the name change “will attract the attention of prospective families, education professionals and supporters to our work” and contribute to their goal of teaching more children.

“Our parents make great sacrifices to get their children the best preschool education available. We don't like to turn anyone away and look for every avenue to enable a child to attend,” said DeCan.

The CDA has four strategic priorities, according to DeCan, first, to do more mission centric work and address the challenges that might deter them from that, grow sustainable funding, be more recognized in the local community and work towards organizational excellence.

With the constant potential for fluctuating funding due to economic and other factors, DeCan and the CDA are focused on efforts to “make our organization as resistant to these occurrences as possible by developing multiple sources of funding to enable us to expand our mission.”

While the change will take effect immediately, according to DeCan, “it will be a process to notify everyone who might do business with us, get every piece of collateral changed out and update the sign on the building.”

There are still costs to accomplish the rebranding for the CDA, which is “still a nonprofit with limited budgets.”

Some of those sources from state funding include: “grants from generous foundations, support from local churches and a growing funnel of support from the north metro Atlanta community of individuals, families and others who give individually,” according to DeCan.

“We certainly wouldn't use a dollar of money that can be applied to a child's tuition scholarship to order new business cards, but we are working to find some generous funders to help us,” DeCan said.

CDA is also in talks with businesses to collaborate with on addressing some needs in a way that works with its budget.

Lastly, CDA is working to improve organizational excellence.

“We want to be a values-driven organization that prioritizes our limited resources based upon good strategic planning and serving the needs of our children,” she said.

Overall, the CDA has set a significant list of milestones to reach within the next year, one they feel is within reach.

The program is aiming for people to “have heard of us, know our work and realize that we are school located in the heart of North Fulton County,” according to DeCan.

She also adds intentions of having “a healthy wait list of families, attracting the highest quality early education professionals, winning the hearts of those who want to invest in the success of these children and the long term improvement of our entire society.”

“We might not get all the way there in the next year, but we are going to try,” she said.

CDA still aims to maintain accessibility, which includes the state funded pre-kindergarten program.

The Child Development Association began in volunteers’ homes fifty years ago and eventually settled in a two-room schoolhouse in the Groveway Community.

Today, that schoolhouse has ten classrooms and two acres of playground and is estimated to serve over 2,000 children annually at its four-acre campus in historic Roswell and two Kids Express drop-in locations.

Children’s Development Academy is located at 89 Grove Way in Roswell.

More information and the option to make tax deductible contributions are available at www.cdakids.org.

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