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Your Guide to Daycare Grants

Daycare grants are a great source of additional funding to improve your childcare program. Learn more about childcare grants and how to find and apply for financial assistance opportunities.

Your Guide to Daycare Grants

Your Guide to Daycare Grants

For many childcare businesses and preschools struggling financially, daycare grants can be welcome sources of supplemental funding. While the application process for grants can be time-consuming, the financial cushion from extra funding makes it well worth the effort. With patience and persistence (and a bit of paperwork), you can access funding from federal, state, local, and corporate sources to help bolster your center’s finances.

This article will cover how to find and apply for grants for your childcare center.

What’s included:

  • Are loans or grants better for your childcare business?
  • Tips for applying for a daycare grant
  • How to find funding for your childcare program

Download a free grant writing guide for childcare programs here!

Are loans or grants better for your childcare business?

When deciding between applying for a loan or a grant for your childcare business, there are several critical distinctions and factors to consider. In the simplest terms, loans require repayment and grants don’t. Both sources of funding can provide valuable financial relief for your business, whether you’re suffering a financial loss, expanding your business, or trying to keep the lights on.

Loans, while readily available, require repayment with interest, which can strain your budget over time. They are, however, more predictable in terms of the amount you can receive and when you can access the funds.

Grants, on the other hand, do not require repayment, making them highly attractive to business owners looking to minimize financial risk and liability. However, grants can be more competitive and may come with specific conditions on who can receive funding and how the funds are used, which could potentially limit flexibility in allocating resources. Additionally, finding a grant that matches your specific project or purpose may take time and effort and some grants are only available for a certain period, which means it can take longer to receive funding than it would with a loan.

Both options offer significant benefits, but it's essential to weigh these against your business's immediate needs, future growth plans, and capacity to meet repayment or usage obligations.

Tips for applying for a daycare grant

Applying for a daycare grant can be a bit more complex than applying for a loan. More guidelines often need to be met to receive additional funding. 

When applying for a childcare grant, keep these tips in mind:

  • Do your research
  • Speak to your audience
  • Stick to the point
  • Follow guidelines
  • Reapply


Do your research

Daycare grant opportunities will rarely fall into your lap. It’s your responsibility to go looking for them. Ideas for researching grant options include:

Not only will you have to do thorough research to find grants, it’s also important to understand where the financial resources are coming from and which organizations or individuals are providing the funding. Look for funders who align with your daycare’s mission and interests. This will require looking into their history, their annual reports, and recent grant information. 

Speak to your audience

Be mindful that everyone you send a grant proposal to might not know the ins and outs of a daycare program. Always speak to your audience. Don’t use niche terms or acronyms. Ensure that they can understand your proposal and relate to the impact of your program.

Stick to the point

Grant funders don’t want to spend unnecessary time reading your proposal in an attempt to figure out your reason for applying. Be concise. Describe your program’s mission, goals, and reasons for funding in a short, detailed manner.

Follow guidelines

Your daycare grant application should stand out within the guidelines that are set by the funder. Make sure you’re in the right geographic area. Double-check that your business has the proper registrations and licensing. Confirm any funding inclusions. As for the most important guideline, make sure you stick to the dates and deadlines set for the proposal and additional paperwork.

Easily access records and reports with brightwheel. The software makes it easy to stay organized with digital record storage and custom reporting. As you apply for grants, you can easily run custom reports with insightful data on attendance, health, developmental progress, and more.


When applying for grants, don’t be discouraged if you get denied. Your next step is to try again. Find out what your application is missing and figure out how you can improve it. This will set you up to create a better proposal each time you apply.

How to find funding for your childcare program

Whether you’re looking to start a childcare program or expand an existing one, federal and state governments offer daycare grants for providers and families. Each state has a lead childcare agency responsible for subsidizing childcare programs. These agencies also provide information on available funds and how to apply. 

Locate the lead agency in your state or check out one of the state-specific childcare grant guides below: 

There are also many local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies that offer information about childcare resources in the community as well as financial assistance, funding opportunities, and other business support to childcare providers. Visit the CCR&R search page to find the agency that serves your local area.

Local Head Start programs often collaborate with childcare centers to provide services and also offer various grants and funding opportunities. Contact the Head Start Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center for more information.

If at first you don’t succeed, try again

Childcare grants are an excellent source of funding for daycare programs. Unlike loans, this capital doesn’t require repayment; however, there could be stricter terms for which it can be used. With both federal and state options for government grants for child care, there are many funding opportunities. Just remember to do your research, follow the guidelines, and be persistent.

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