Since 1997, Lightbridge Academy has provided care and early-childhood educational services to parents and local communities. The brand has been innovators within its industry due to its Circle of Care philosophy and its innovative, technology-aided approach to the classroom.
As an embodiment Lightbridge Academy’s Circle of Care philosophy, the company founded its 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the Lightbridge Foundation, in 2001. Gigi Schweikert, President and COO of Lightbridge Academy, stated that the foundation is an integral aspect of bringing the brand’s Circle of Care mission to life.
“The Foundation is a means to support individuals and families during difficult times,” Schweikert said. “We are there to help them along their journey, whether that’s taking care of young children, raising funds for medical bills, supplying clothing or necessary items or volunteering, we want to be there to let them know they are not alone.”
The Lightbridge Foundation has provided over $500,000 in support to families over its lifespan. Founder and CEO of Lightbridge Academy, Guy Falzarano, and his wife Julia, opened their first child care center offering a high quality early education program along with childcare. They saw a great need to not only care and educate the children but to also support stressed working parents. As the brand grew and the Falzaranos opened more locations and began franchising, they experienced Lightbridge touching lives in more ways than they ever imagined. As the Falzaranos saw more and more parents navigating difficult times, the couple decided that they could do more to ensure that young families were able to thrive. In response, the support from families was phenomenal.
The Foundation quickly took root and parents and staff were excited about participating in local fundraisers while children learned the importance of giving back to others. The organization grew concentrically and evolved to serve the entire local community.
“We are teaching children how to give back,” Schweikert said. “When children are actively engaged in helping others, they learn empathy and how to be better people and contributors to their community. It becomes a way of life not something that they just “do”. Even if we can’t change the whole world, we can change someone’s world just by showing them that we care enough to help. We’re an extended family raising young children and our Circle of Care belief reminds us that everyone within a child’s circle is critical to their development”
All Lightbridge Academy centers participate in fundraising activities that they host throughout the year including bake sales, lemonade stands, cookie sales. A yearly favorite event for all children and staff are the company-wide Field Days with games and festivities that make fundraising and giving back fun while also demonstrating the importance of caring for others.
The Lightbridge Foundation contributes to the culture of care that is pervasive in all Lightbridge Academy centers. In fact, as more families have turned to the organization—and it just keeps giving. The non-profit has also supported the local community high school students with college scholarship for those pursuing degrees in the area of education. Parents and staff also volunteer within the community to help as part of Tooling Around Town projects, hurricane relief, as well as for other disaster recovery.
The first Lightbridge Foundation Gala was held in May 2019 and was a tremendous success, according to Schweikert. There were many heartwarming testimonies from center directors and families whose lives have been changed through the generosity of the Foundation. It was an excellent opportunity for individuals to share the foundation’s positive impact, success in fundraising and plans for the future. The Gala Committee is already looking forward to planning next year’s event.
“When we can help a family financially, that’s great; however, what’s more rewarding is when we can provide the much-needed emotional support integral to bettering one’s health,” said Schweikert. She added that many others have benefitted from the Foundation, including a mother whose triplets were born prematurely and others impacted by the devastating effects of home fires and hurricanes.
Lightbridge Foundation continues to give back to the community and doesn’t see an end in sight. As Lightbridge Academy grows along the Mid-Atlantic coast and beyond, Schweikert emphasized that the Foundation will be there, too. She said that along with the expansion of the brand comes an expansion of its non-profit reach, commenting that an increasing number of communities will benefit from the much-needed services both Lightbridge Academy and the Foundation can provide.
The initial start-up investment for Lightbridge Academy ranges between $549,228 to $767,635 with a franchise fee of $40,000. To learn more about opportunities to partner with Lightbridge, visit https://lightbridgeacademyfranchise.com/.