Grants totalling $47 million have been made available by the Washington State Department of Commerce to support the Early Learning Facilities Program.
“Washington’s commitment to developing additional high quality early learning opportunities for children from low-income households” is supported by the program. The money will be used for the Working Connections Child Care Programs and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Programs, all of which fall under the auspices of the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families.
According to Commerce’s webpage for the initiative, the monies are intended to assist care providers “expand, remodel, purchase, or construct early learning facilities and classrooms necessary to support early learning opportunities for children from low-income households.”
Four components make up the funding for the Early Learning Facilities program: 1) Competitive grants to qualified organizations
2) Grants to K–12 education districts that are competitive
3) Direct expenditures made by the Legislature
4) A grant and loan program run by Craft3, Enterprise Community Partners, and Washington Community Reinvestment Association.
The grants are intended for capital project reimbursement, not ongoing or recurring costs.
Purchase, design, engineering, third-party construction management, construction, and capitalized equipment costs are some examples of capital expenditures that may be incurred during the building of early learning centers.
According to the news release, “early learning possibilities for children from low-income households must grow if funding is offered for the acquisition of a facility or property.”
The money will be distributed in two installments: $5 million in Minor Renovation Non-Expansion Grants for Eligible Organizations in the winter of 2023 and $42 million in Eligible Organizations Expansion Grants in the fall of 2023.
K–12 schools, districts, NGOs, tribes, public bodies, and for-profit companies are all eligible for funding.