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Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Colorado

Discover how childcare grants in Colorado can ease financial burdens and open up new possibilities for your business.

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Colorado

Navigating Childcare Grants in Colorado

Running a childcare business offers a vital service to a community, however, there are often financial constraints when operating this type of business. Childcare grants play a pivotal role, offering financial aid and giving providers the ability to improve their programs and serve more families.  

In this article, we explore childcare grants in Colorado, highlighting the most promising resources and sharing tips on crafting winning grant proposals to support your program’s needs. 

What is a grant?

A grant is financial assistance provided by government agencies, corporations, foundations, or trusts to support specific projects or purposes. Unlike loans, grants do not need to be repaid, making them an invaluable resource for childcare providers looking to expand, improve, or initiate services without the burden of debt. Grants can cover a wide range of needs—from operational expenses and facility upgrades to training staff and implementing innovative programs.

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 Colorado

Childcare providers in Colorado have access to a variety of grants aimed at supporting and enhancing the quality and accessibility of childcare services across the state. Below, we break down these opportunities into categories to help you find the most relevant grants for your needs.

Grants and resources from government agencies

The Colorado Department of Human Services is the lead state agency that oversees the distribution of the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) in Colorado. 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.

Colorado Department of Early Childhood

The Colorado Department of Early Childhood, in partnership with the Colorado Department of Human Services, funds various state programs that support both providers and families in accessing quality child care:

  • Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP): This program offers financial reimbursement to childcare providers serving families that are eligible for the CCCAP.
  • Colorado Shines: This quality rating and improvement system is tailored to help providers enhance the quality of their programs. As participating providers reach higher levels, they can access resources and quality improvement funds to improve their programs.
  • Healthy Child Care Colorado: The Healthy Child Care Colorado initiative aims to promote health and wellness within childcare settings across the state. This initiative offers grants twice a year to childcare providers for both indoor and outdoor improvement projects. 

Group of happy children with teacher in classroom.Source

Professional development support

Investing in the professional development of childcare staff is crucial for maintaining quality in early childhood education. The below resources in Colorado can equip educators with advanced skills and knowledge.

Early Childhood Council Leadership Alliance

The Early Childhood Council Leadership Alliance (ECCLA) supports childcare providers in Colorado through advocacy, networking opportunities, and professional development resources. Providers can access grant and funding opportunities, scholarships, training programs, and more.

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Colorado

This scholarship program allows educators to pursue higher education in the child development field and covers most of the cost of tuition, books, travel, and bonus opportunities.

Grants from private foundations

Beyond government assistance, private foundations also offer impactful grant opportunities dedicated to strengthening Colorado's childcare landscape.

Buell Foundation

The Buell Foundation focuses on early childhood education and development projects within Colorado.

Daniels Fund

The Daniels Fund offers financial assistance for nonprofit organizations to support a variety of needs, including childcare services.

El Pomar Foundation

The El Pomar Foundation provides grants for innovative programs and services aimed at improving the lives of children and families in Colorado.

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 Colorado 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 Colorado. 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 Colorado 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 Colorado. 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 are an excellent resource for childcare providers in Colorado looking to improve their services and facilities, as well as invest in professional development. With research and preparation, childcare grants can help you secure the financial support needed to continue providing high-quality childcare services in your community.


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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