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Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Alaska

Childcare grants in Alaska offer essential financial support to enhance the quality of care and promote early childhood development across the state. Learn about available resources and tips to secure funding.

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Alaska

Navigating Childcare Grants in Alaska

Operating a sustainable business is a challenge, especially a childcare business with high costs related to staffing, facilities, and compliance with safety regulations. Balancing these costs while maintaining affordability for families requires careful planning and innovative solutions.

In Alaska, various grant opportunities can help childcare providers thrive. This guide walks you through the different types of grants available, how to prepare for them, and where to find the resources you need.

What is a grant?

A grant is a sum of money given by an organization, often a government body or private foundation, to support a specific purpose. These funds can be used for various initiatives, such as improving facilities, expanding services, or investing in resources.

Unlike loans, grants generally do not need to be repaid, making them an attractive source of funding for childcare providers. This financial assistance can significantly alleviate the burden of expenses, allowing providers to focus more on delivering quality care and educational programs to children.

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 Alaska

Alaska offers a variety of grants and financial assistance programs specifically designed to help childcare providers improve their services. These resources can be used for various purposes, including operational expenses or additional training and professional development for staff. Below, we explore the different resources available in Alaska. 

Grants and resources from government agencies

The Alaska Department of Health, Child Care Program Office (CCPO) is the lead agency that oversees the distribution of the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) in Alaska. 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.

Alaska Department of Health

The Child Care Program Office offers resources and programs to help families access quality child care and supports providers in creating healthy and safe childcare environments. 

  • Child Care Grant Program: This grant program supports childcare providers with monthly cash grants to supplement their program. These funds must be used to enhance the quality of child care, covering expenses such as staff salaries, substitute care costs, health and safety items, supplies and equipment for children, and education and training related to child development.
  • PASS Child Care Assistance Program: This program supports families by offering financial assistance, ensuring that low-income households can afford quality child care. For providers, this program guarantees a stable income stream by subsidizing fees, allowing them to maintain and enhance their services.


Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development

The Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED) plays a pivotal role in bolstering local rural communities through various programs, including the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). This grant aids in the reduction of poverty and the revitalization of low-income communities, offering vital support for childcare programs. By providing financial assistance for operational costs, facility improvements, and staff training, the CSBG helps childcare providers enhance the quality and accessibility of their services. 

Children at daycare exploring science lesson.Source

Professional development support

Investing in the professional development of childcare staff is essential for maintaining high-quality early education. There are various resources in Alaska dedicated to furthering the education and skills of early learning professionals. 


Thread is a statewide childcare resource and referral network in Alaska. This organization provides critical support to childcare providers, including access to training programs, workforce development, grants and funding opportunities, and educational resources.

Alaska SEED

Alaska SEED (System for Early Education Development) is a state-wide system designed to support the professional growth and development of early childhood educators in Alaska.

The benefits to childcare professionals include access to training and educational resources, opportunities for career advancement, and support in meeting state licensing requirements. Alaska SEED also offers training reimbursements, CDA application/renewal awards, and scholarships. 

Grants from private foundations

This section explores the various grants available from private foundations in Alaska, highlighting the specific opportunities for funding and how these grants can support your childcare program's growth and sustainability. 

The Alaska Community Foundation

The Alaska Community Foundation offers a variety of grants focused on improving community well-being, including those that support childcare programs. Their grants are designed to bolster nonprofit organizations, enhance community vitality, and address poverty and social needs through targeted funding initiatives.

The CIRI Foundation

The CIRI Foundation’s Education Project Grant provides funding for educational projects aimed at enhancing learning opportunities and promoting academic achievement among Alaska Native communities.

Rasmuson Foundation

The Rasmuson Foundation funds initiatives and programs that improve the quality of life in Alaska. Their different grant programs fund small and large capital projects, individual artists, and program-related investments. 

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 Alaska. 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 Alaska 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 Alaska. 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

Grants can be a lifeline for childcare providers in Alaska, offering much-needed financial assistance, facility improvements, and professional development opportunities. By understanding the types of grants available and preparing thoroughly, you can secure the funding you need to provide high-quality childcare services.


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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