Presentation of SBA 70th Anniversary Legacy Award Recognition

Dr. Mary Ann Shallcross Smith, owner and founder of Dr. Day Care, received the SBA 70th Anniversary Legacy Recognition Award. 

The presentation took place at Dr. Day Care Smithfield, located at 1201 Douglas Pike, Suite 1, Smithfield Rhode Island, on Wednesday August 30th at 9:30 am.

Dr. Day Care is one of 68 businesses recognized nationally as part of U.S. Small Business Administration’s 70th Anniversary Celebration.

“It’s been said IF you find a job in your lifetime that you’re really passionate about and love to do – then it won’t seem like work but more like play – My WORK is MY PLAY.”

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See the awards ceremony at Capitol TV:

Presentation of SBA 70th Anniversary Legacy Award Recognition

Below you will find the SBA Rhode Island District nomination on behalf of Dr. Day Care and Mary Ann:

Business name:                                  Dr. Day Care Inc.

Business owner(s) names:                 Mary Ann Shallcross Smith, President / Founder

Address (street, city, state, zip):       1201 Douglas Pike, Suite 4, Smithfield, RI 02917

Business website:                               Dr. Day Care • Rhode Island (

Year the business started:                 Incorporated in 2005

Number of employees:                     205

SBA Relationship:                             17 loans total; including 3 504 loans, 2 SBA Express Loans, 12 PP, and 2022 Rhode Island and New England Women Owned Business of the Year.  Executive Staff was also part of the initial emerging leaders’ program.

Why they are nominated:

MARY ANN SHALLCROSS SMITH is the CEO and Founder of the “Dr. Day Care” organization, headquartered in Smithfield but with learning center locations around the state. Mary Ann has nearly 50 years of experience in early childhood, as well as a doctoral degree in Education, Leadership, and Human Development Studies.

RI’s first licensed home-based day care, Mary Ann began offering early childhood care in 1972. In 2005, Mary Ann founded Dr. Day Care Learning Center (the Center), which provides quality care and education for children 6 weeks through 12 years old, 52 weeks of the year. Today there are 171 employees in nine nationally accredited Cen­ters located across Rhode Island (Cumberland, Foster, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence (2), Smithfield, South County, and West Warwick, and there are plans to open a 10th Center in East Greenwich this spring). The Centers serve nutritious meals and offers a special needs program curriculum aligned to state standards and assessment. Mary Ann, named a “Master Leader” in 2015 by Childcare Exchange, manages a professional team that leads the Cen­ters and consults with struggling childcares to assist with prof­itability and regulatory compliance. Most recently, Mary Ann has been writing children’s books – such as “Edgar Gradu­ates,” an early childhood book that enhances a child’s vocab­ulary and the options available for continuing education.

The business has benefitted over the years from the US Small Business Administration’s (SBA) myriad programs and services: in late 2011 the Smithfield early learning center obtained an SBA-backed loan; as part of the Class of 2016, the COO completed the SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative, an intensive executive-level series designed to accelerate the growth of high-potential small businesses in America’s underserved cities; and members of the management team have completed numerous trainings/workshops hosted by SBA grantees SCORE Rhode Island and the Center for Women & Enterprise (the Women’s Business Center).

Like so many other small businesses, in 2020 the pandemic presented one of the most difficult financial chal­lenges for Mary Ann’s business. In March 2020 it had to close all the Centers for three months, leaving the business with limited income and forcing the layoff of most of the employees. Management reacted quickly, and the busi­ness was able to take advantage of COVID relief programs, including the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Since reopening in June 2020, the business has rehired employees, increased enrollment, and increased income almost to pre-pandemic levels.

Because Mary Ann knows how vitally important it is for children to have close links with their community, her busi­ness supports community businesses and gives back to community programs that benefit children of all ages. Dr. Day Care financially supports many local nonprofits, includ­ing the Boys & Girls Club, Foster Forward, Goodwill Inspir­ing Minds, local little league/soccer teams, and Pawtucket and Woonsocket Adopt-A-Family. Also, in 1987, Mary Ann founded Kids Klub, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit school-age pro­gram that offers before and after school care in three local elementary school districts and currently operates seven programs; Kids Klub sites are nationally accredited by The Council On Accreditation.

During her business career, she attended the Community College of Rhode Island, University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College.  She received her doctorate degree in Education (Ed.D.), Leadership and Human Development Studies in 1995 from Nova Southeastern University. She is the leader of over 200 qualified, dedicated teachers and staff. She employs the very best teachers to educate and care for children.

In addition to serving on numerous nonprofit boards (including as Chair of the Executive Board of the Northern RI Chamber of Commerce), Mary Ann gives back time and resources to women in the workforce, hosting a free local TV show “Women’s Business” so women can network and share stories. As an early childhood business consultant, she offers small businesses free insight and guidance about the business of running a childcare center.

Mary Ann’s commitment to children and the childcare industry is unparalleled, and her efforts to support and advocate for Rhode Island’s families and small businesses is legion. Mary Ann is indeed her nickname – ‘Dr. Day Care’.