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Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Alabama

Navigating the grant scene can be daunting, but Alabama offers various resources to support childcare providers in the state. Understand the available childcare grants in Alabama to fit your business needs.

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Alabama

Navigating Childcare Grants in Alabama

Childcare providers, from family homes to center-based programs, play an integral role in shaping the future of our youngest learners. Yet, the challenges and costs associated with maintaining quality care often surpass the means available to many of these providers. 

The answer for some can be found in the form of grants—financial lifelines that provide the necessary funds for not only survival but transformation and growth. In this article, we’ll explore various childcare grants in Alabama and the essential steps to take to prepare for the grant application process.

What is a grant?

Grants are often the unsung heroes of financial assistance. Unlike loans, they do not require repayment, and they come from a variety of sources, including federal, state, or local governments, as well as private or nonprofit organizations. For childcare providers in Alabama, understanding the grant landscape can lead to opportunities for funding that can significantly enhance their operations.

The U.S. government’s second and final funding package for fiscal year 2024 includes a $1 billion increase for programs focused on child care and early childhood education¹. This new funding includes an additional $275 million for the Head Start program and $725 million for the Child Care and Development Block Grant which funds state efforts to provide child care to families and improve the quality of care.

Download a free grant writing guide for childcare programs here!

Childcare grants in Alabama

Alabama has a variety of grant programs and other resources aimed at supporting childcare providers in the state. Whether you’re a seasoned childcare provider or new to the field, exploring these grants could significantly impact your service quality and reach.

Grants and resources from government agencies

The Alabama Department of Human Resources is the lead state agency that oversees the distribution of the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) in Alabama. This funding can be in the form of certificates, grants, or contracts to provide childcare services to low-income families or improve the quality of care provided.

Alabama Department of Human Resources

The Alabama Department of Human Resources offers several grant programs specifically designed for childcare providers.

  • Child Care Workforce Stabilization Grant (CCWS): This initiative provides funds directly to childcare providers in Alabama, aiming to stabilize the workforce by offering financial support. The funds must be used to pay bonuses of $3,000 to each full-time staff member and $1,500 to each part-time staff member. 
  • Alabama Quality STARS: This program is Alabama’s quality rating and improvement system which assesses childcare providers on the quality of their service. Participants are able to achieve different levels of star ratings by meeting certain criteria and receive a one-time payment incentive with each level reached.
  • First Class Pre-K: The First Class Pre-K program is a state-funded voluntary program for four-year-olds. The program offers new classroom setup funding up to $125,000 to new programs and tiered annual funding based on student population.
  • Subsidized Child Care Program: This program offers financial assistance to low-income families for childcare, making it accessible and affordable. Providers participating in this program receive consistent payments from the state, ensuring a stable revenue stream.


Professional development support

Investing in the professional development of childcare staff is crucial for maintaining quality in early childhood education. Childcare providers in Alabama have access to a variety of professional development and scholarship opportunities designed to enhance their skills and knowledge. 

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Alabama Scholarship Program

This scholarship program is aimed at childcare providers who are looking to further their education in early childhood development. The scholarship covers tuition, books, and a portion of the recipient's salary while they are attending school.

Childcare Resource Network

This network serves as a vital support system for childcare providers across the state, offering access to a wide range of resources, including training, quality improvement programs, and up-to-date information on childcare regulations.

Grants from private foundations

While government agencies offer significant support for childcare services, private foundations in Alabama also play a crucial role in enhancing the early childhood education landscape.

Alabama Power Foundation

Dedicated to improving the quality of life in Alabama, the Alabama Power Foundation offers grants that support education, including childcare and early learning initiatives. Their focus is on innovative programs that reach underserved communities.

The Daniel Foundation of Alabama

With a broad focus on improving the quality of life in Alabama, the Daniel Foundation offers grants in areas such as education and community development. Childcare providers can apply for funding to support programming and operations that benefit children and families.

Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation

Focused mainly on the Birmingham metro area and the Black Belt, the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation offers grants to nonprofits, including those that provide childcare and early education services. Their goal is to support community development and educational excellence.

The PNC Foundation

Through its Grow Up Great initiative, the PNC Foundation supports early childhood education efforts, offering grants to providers for curriculum development, teacher training, and classroom resources in Alabama and beyond.

Federal grants and funding opportunities

The federal government offers a variety of grants and funding opportunities to support childcare providers across the United States, including Alabama. These grants are designed to improve access to quality childcare, support the professional development of childcare workers, and enhance the learning environments for children under their care. Some key federal funding sources include:

U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) offers discretionary grants that are awarded using a competitive process, as well as student loans or grants to attend college, and formula grants determined by Congress. Here are some helpful resources to explore:

  • ED grants homepage: The ED grants homepage allows you to browse funding opportunities, links to grant applications, and your eligibility status.
  • The website is the central location that provides information on grants across the federal government. You can search for and apply to different funding opportunities, determine your eligibility, and access grant writing tips. 
  • Head Start and Early Head Start Programs: Aimed at promoting school readiness for children under five from low-income families, these programs provide grants directly to public and private non-profit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services. The Office of Head Start (OHS) posts notices of funding opportunities (NOFOs) that seek applications for grand funds. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) manages various financial assistance programs for rural applications. One example is the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program that provides funds to be used to purchase, construct and/or improve essential community facilities like childcare centers, purchase equipment, and pay related project expenses in rural areas with no more than 20,000 residents.

Applying for grants

Applying for childcare grants in Alabama can be a competitive process, as funding is often limited. To increase your chances of receiving a grant, it’s essential to carefully review and follow all application guidelines and requirements. Here are some general steps to take when applying for childcare grants:

  • Meet all licensing requirements: Ensure that your program meets all of the licensing requirements in Alabama. Maintaining licensing compliance shows a commitment to high-quality standards and is often also required for you to be eligible for specific grants and funding opportunities.
  • Do your research and determine your eligibility: Research available grants and determine which ones align with your needs and goals. Before applying, check to see that you meet all the necessary criteria. Most (but not all) government grants are aimed at 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, so be sure to read the eligibility requirements carefully.
  • Gather your documentation: Most grant applications will ask for specific documentation, such as financial statements, demographic information, licenses, and certifications. Be sure to have these prepared in advance. With brightwheel you can quickly and easily access custom reporting to meet your specific needs.
  • Write a compelling grant proposal: Read successful grant applications to learn how to structure your approach. Include an executive summary of your project and clearly define the need or problem your childcare services address. Provide a detailed description of your program and list your objectives and expected outcomes. Follow all grant application instructions, have someone else review your proposal before submitting, and submit your application on time. 

Download a free grant writing guide for childcare programs here!


Additional tips for success

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when applying for grants for your childcare center:

  • Stay informed: Connect and engage with local and state organizations focused on early childhood education. If possible, join their email lists or follow their social media pages, as these organizations will often share grant and funding information as it becomes available. Also, regularly check the websites of federal agencies to stay informed on available grants or programs. 
  • Create a budget: A comprehensive childcare center budget will highlight the financial needs and priorities of your program and give funders a clear understanding of how a grant will be utilized. With a clear picture of your program’s finances, you can also maximize the impact of any funding that is received.
  • Plan a fundraiser: Hosting a fundraising event can raise necessary funds for your program. Have a bake sale, organize a silent auction, or host a trivia night. 
  • Hire a grant proposal writer: If your budget allows, consider hiring a grant proposal writer. A grant proposal writer can craft a compelling narrative about your program and navigate the complexities of the grant application process for you.

Final thoughts

Alabama offers a wealth of resources for childcare providers, from government-funded grants and scholarships to private foundation support. These opportunities underscore a strong commitment to enhancing the quality and accessibility of early childhood education across the state. 

By taking advantage of these financial and educational resources, childcare providers can elevate their services, fostering a future where every child in Alabama has access to high-quality early learning experiences.


1. “Former Preschool Teacher Patty Murray Delivers $1 Billion More to Help Families Find and Afford Child Care & Pre-K”, United States Senate Committee on Appropriations, 03/21/2024.

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