Grant funding and incentives for childcare providers in Colorado

Tight profit margins and recent workforce shortages have made it a struggle for childcare providers to keep their doors open. This is why access to funding is critical to help childcare providers in Colorado start, maintain and grow their businesses. We have compiled a list of grant opportunities and incentives available to childcare providers in Colorado. 

Colorado Shines Capital Improvement Grants

Accepting grant applications until March 31, 2023 

The Colorado Shines Capital Improvement Grants help childcare programs seeking quality improvement with construction costs. This could include gates and fencing, playground equipment and more. Grant amounts are up to $7,500. To be eligible, providers must reach a minimum of a Colorado Shines Level 2 and accept Colorado Childcare Assistance Program (CCCAP) subsidies. Programs may only apply to this grant once. See an FAQ page for more information here. 

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Licensing Incentive Bonus

Accepting grant applications through June 30, 2023 or until funds run out 

The Licensing Incentive Bonus is a one-time bonus available to unlicensed providers who became newly licensed or CCAP Qualified Exempt. Newly licensed providers will receive a $5,000 grant and CCAP Qualified Exempt will receive a $500 grant. Providers must have become licensed after October 1, 2021 to apply. 

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Improving Indoor Air Quality Grants 

Accepting grant applications until Summer 2023 or until funds run out 

The Improving Indoor Air Quality Grant from the Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) is available to licensed childcare providers open before March 11, 2021. Applications will be scored on multiple criteria, but one factor is the EnviroScreen Score of their county. Grant awards are up to $4,000 for home providers, up to $6,000 for small centers and up to $25,000 for large centers. Projects must be concluded by 9/20/23.

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Buell Foundation Early Childhood Development  

Accepting grant applications through September 1, 2023  

The Buell Foundation Early Childhood Development program provides grant funding between $10,000 and $50,000 to licensed childcare providers that have demonstrated success in helping children thrive. Funding is available in a range of areas, including program and operating support, technical assistance and capital improvements. At least 15% of the families you serve must be low-income, and there is particular focus on programs that target underserved populations or are located in rural areas. There are three application deadlines next year: 1/23/23, 5/1/23 and 9/1/23. Final grant decisions are made four months after each deadline.

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Quality Improvement Incentive 

Accepting grant applications through September 30, 2023 or until funds run out 

The Quality Improvement Incentive is a one-time bonus that is automatically available to licensed childcare providers who are committed to increasing their quality rating through the Colorado Shines program. Providers must have been in operation before March 11, 2021 and have been rated at a Level 2 or below after October 1, 2021. Quality bonus amounts range between $1,500 and $4,000 depending on current level and licensing type. Providers should apply though the Colorado Shines QRIS system. The rating process is completed in 4-6 months. 

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The Amber Grant   

Accepting grant applications on a rolling basis   

The Amber Grant program provides monthly grant funding of $10,000 and annual funding of $25,000 to woman-owned businesses. In September each year, childcare providers are eligible for the additional Business Category: Education & Childcare grant with an award amount of $10,000. 

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Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)    

Accepting applications on a rolling basis 

The CACFP program helps childcare providers cover the cost of two meals and a snack per child per day. The program also offers nutrition education, professional development opportunities, and points through the Colorado Shines Quality Rating Improvement System. 

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Early Childhood Teacher Salary Increase Pilot

The Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) is investing $3 million of the Childcare Development Fund to conduct a livable wage pilot program for teachers serving newborn children through age five. Approximately 30% of childcare programs that apply will be randomly selected to receive funding. Eligible providers will receive an email with an application link that is unique to their program. 

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To learn about additional programs and incentives for childcare providers in Colorado, visit the Growing Forward portal.

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