Upcoming funding opportunities for Early Learning Facilities

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july 8, 2021

Upcoming funding opportunities for Early Learning Facilities

New funding round expected to open this fall

Commerce received a new appropriation in the 2021-23 capital budget for grants to create or expand early learning facilities across the state. Through the Early Learning Facilities (ELF) Program, we will award projects in the following categories:

  • Major Construction / Renovation (maximum award $1 million)
  • Minor Renovation / Predevelopment (maximum award $200,000)
  • Pre-Design (maximum award $20,000)

Projects Must Create New Early Learning Spaces

Grant funds can be used for construction, renovation or the purchase of a facility, as long as the grant will result in an increased number of early learning spaces. Projects must commit to reserving spots for either the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) and/or the Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) Program.

Eligible grant applicants include family child care homes, child care centers, community and technical colleges, educational service districts, local governments, tribes, religiously affiliated organizations and affordable housing developers. Projects already completed are not eligible to apply, and awarded applicants must commit to maintaining the site as an early learning facility for at least ten years.

Start Planning Now

If you are considering applying, please take a look at our website for more information.

The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) and program guidelines will be posted soon. You may also reach out to the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) for information about licensing requirements and ECEAP/WCCC program requirements. You should also start working with your local jurisdiction to ensure your proposed early learning project can be permitted in a timely manner. 

The ELF program has a match goal of at least 25% of total costs coming from non-state sources. We urge interested organizations to begin exploring other funding sources for their projects as soon as possible.


Please review the ELF program webpage, where you will also find contact information if needed. 

We encourage you to check the webpage often and stay signed up on our mailing list (See "Sign up for updates" on the bottom right column of the page) to receive the most current information about the upcoming fall funding round!