Hi there, my name is Spiffy, I’m an interplanetary journalist hanging out on Planet Earth. Today I’m interviewing Chelsea Sprayregen, the co-founder and CEO of Pie for Providers from Chicago, Illinois. Let’s dive in!
Spiffy: Welcome to the blog, Chelsea! What challenge is Pie for Providers addressing?
Chelsea: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! To answer your question—in the US, billions of dollars in government child care funding goes unclaimed every year. To get this funding, child care providers have to deal with dehumanizing, tedious paperwork, and they just can't manage all of it, on top of providing high-quality early education for children. Pie for Providers is addressing this problem by building human-centered technology that unlocks billions of dollars across fragmented government funding streams.
Spiffy: Wow, what motivated you to do it?
Chelsea: Our ultimate purpose is to improve pay and working conditions for child care providers, who help their communities thrive. We envision a world in which caregiving work is valued and caregivers are paid accordingly.
Spiffy: Can you elaborate more on that mission and how it’s aiding in the development of a more equitable world?
Chelsea: Child care is a gender, racial, and economic justice issue. Providers are almost all small, women-owned businesses. The families they serve, who qualify for government programs, are largely led by low-income women of color. By helping providers thrive, we're closing opportunity gaps for children and enabling mothers to build wealth for their families.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent company initiative. What impact does it make?
Chelsea: In the past year, we launched the pilot version of our product, and we've served a small group of child care providers. They tell us that our product helps them get every dollar they're owed from the government, and it reduces their stress.
Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from failure?
Chelsea: We first launched our organization as a for profit, and decided to convert to a nonprofit. I learned the importance of building a strong community of supporters, who helped us through that change. I also learned how important it is to stay true to my own purpose.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Chelsea—it’s been an honor!
Chelsea is the Co-founder & CEO of Pie for Providers. Previously, she worked at two early stage social ventures: Promise Venture Studio (as Entrepreneur in Residence) and BeneStream (Public Policy Director). She has an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and a BA from Wesleyan University. Chelsea lives in Chicago with her husband and two cats. (Nominated by Andrea Perdomo at Uncharted. First published on the Ladderworks website on January 20, 2022)
© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Corner here.