CCSA’s 50th Anniversary Gala Recap and New Name Reveal


Early Years (formerly CCSA) President Dr. Kristi Snuggs

On Saturday, May 18, Child Care Services Association (CCSA) hosted a 50th Anniversary Gala to celebrate 50 years of transformative work and impact in the early care and education field. This celebration honored our past as we are forging our future, which includes a new name and logo for our organization, revealed by our president, Dr. Kristi Snuggs, at the Gala

“Because of the name, ‘Child Care Services Association,’ there have been many times individuals and organizations have confused CCSA for a child care provider or a membership organization. This is something CCSA would like to move away from but still have an identity associated with children, child care and early childhood education at a state and national level. As the board of directors was undergoing the strategic plan, they identified the need to rebrand the organization and lucky for us it has coincided with our 50th anniversary!” Said Dr. Snuggs. “This has been a very challenging process but we think we found a new name and logo that speaks to more of who we are as an organization.”

So, CCSA is now Early Years. Our new name and logo will be rolled out over the next year, and we are excited to include you in our journey!

The 50th Anniversary Gala was the perfect place to reveal this news, with so many of our supporters, staff and special guests in attendance. 

Liz Bell, an early education reporter at the nonprofit publication EducationNC, served as our Master of Ceremonies. The Gala also included a special message from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, a keynote from North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green, an auction featuring children’s art donated by child care centers our organization serves and the presentation of the Jim and Carolyn Hunt Early Childhood Award.

Since 1995, Early Years, formerly CCSA, has been shining a spotlight on extraordinary leaders in North Carolina who are changing the game for our youngest learners with the Jim and Carolyn Hunt Early Childhood Award. This prestigious award, named after none other than the legendary Governor Jim Hunt and First Lady Carolyn Hunt, celebrates their tireless dedication to improving early care and education across the state. It’s a celebration of those who go above and beyond to shape the bright futures of our children. This year, the award was given to two recipients: the BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina Foundation (represented by Jenna Barnes, Director of Early Childhood, and Katie Eyes, Vice President of Program Operations and Strategy) and Sue Russell

The BlueCross and BlueShield of North Carolina Foundation is a private, charitable foundation established as an independent entity by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina in 2000. One of their current priorities is supporting efforts to transform the early care and education system in North Carolina so that it meets the needs of all children and families.

Sue Russell founded the Day Care Services Association in 1974, which later became CCSA, and is now the Early Years we know today. Sue served as our organization’s first president, and she is one of the key leaders and architects of North Carolina’s early childhood system. She has been instrumental in the progress that North Carolina has made in creating a nationally recognized early care and education system that has inspired so many other states. Under her leadership, Early Years developed both the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® and Child Care WAGE$® Projects. These national child care initiatives have been successful in increasing the education, compensation and retention of child care workers.

Our two other former presidents, Anna Carter and Marsha Basloe, were also in attendance. It was a wonderful night celebrating the impact and future of Early Years with so many people who have been part of creating our legacy or been affected by our mission! 

Below are more photos from our event. They feature some of our sponsors, child care providers, board members, staff and a few of the amazing people who helped us bring our 50th Anniversary Gala to life!
Thank you to our 50th Anniversary Gala sponsors!
Thank you to all of our sponsors who made this night possible.
We look forward to sharing the next 50 years of Early Years with you!