Commerce to provide funding for community child care projects

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juNE 15, 2020

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Department of Commerce is now accepting applications for the first round of a new competitive Child Care Partnership grant program. Funding will support grants up to $100,000 each for collaborative efforts that expand child care capacity in communities throughout the state.

More than 1,100 child care centers have temporarily closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, bringing an existing crisis of scarcity to a head. Disparities in access to child care are even more pronounced and damaging in economically disadvantaged communities and communities of color.

“We cannot allow a learning gap to persist in Washington state – the long-term costs in human potential for our kids, our communities and our economy are staggering,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown.

Even before COVID-19 and the ensuing financial crisis, many working parents in Washington were either paying more than they could afford, or struggling to even find quality child care facilities and programs near where they live or work. State funds for the new Child Care Partnership grants will invest in local collaborations to develop community-driven action plans to increase capacity access to child care.

“This is a broad, complex societal challenge that demands strong partnerships among local government and tribal leaders, school systems, employers, philanthropies and others to develop and implement programs and projects that will strengthen communities and families,” Brown emphasized.

Who and how to apply

Organizations eligible to apply for grants up to $100,000 are: nonprofit organizations having a 501(c)(3) status; local government entities, educational service districts, and federally recognized tribes. Awards will be up to $100,000. This is the first of two application cycles and projects must be completed by June 30, 2021. A second application round is expected to open mid-August.

Only electronic submissions of the application form and required documents (details below) will be accepted and via a single email to the application coordinator at by 5 p.m. PDT July 10, 2020. Application materials are available here. For questions and more information, contact Mary Baldwin, program coordinator, Community Engagement and Outreach Division, at 360-725-2815 or

Commerce’s work with the state Child Care Collaborative Task Force revealed the need to fund local planning processes to support increased capacity in child care and after-school programs, and to address disparities and unmet needs for children. A detailed child care industry assessment study commissioned by the task force, due out in July, will provide additional data and survey information for the state and prospective community-based partnerships.

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Penny Thomas

Commerce Communications, (206) 256-6106 | Mobile/text: (360) 704-9489