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Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Hawaii

Exploring grant opportunities can seem overwhelming, but Hawaii provides numerous resources to assist childcare providers within the state. Read on to learn more about the childcare grants in Hawaii.

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Hawaii

Navigating Childcare Grants in Hawaii

Childcare is the backbone of many communities, providing the support necessary for both families and children to thrive. However, the cost and operational challenges of running childcare services can be daunting, particularly in a place like Hawaii, where there is a high cost of living. 

Fortunately, the state of Hawaii offers a range of grants to assist childcare providers in various aspects of their business. This in-depth guide will help you explore childcare grants available to providers in the Aloha State.

What is a grant?

A grant is a sum of money given by an organization, like the government, for a particular purpose. Unlike loans, grants are non-repayable and often serve to support a project or service that benefits the community or advances a shared goal. For childcare providers, these funds can be a lifeline, helping to maintain quality care or expand services to more families.

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 Hawaii

The state of Hawaii is committed to supporting its childcare providers. The resources below are designed to enhance and stabilize the childcare industry in Hawaii, a crucial step in boosting the state’s economy and fostering its local workforce.

Grants and resources from government agencies

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

Hawaii Department of Human Services

The Hawaii Department of Human Services (DHS) offers a variety of programs and grants designed to support childcare providers in delivering high-quality care. 

    • Child Care Connection Hawaii (CCCH): The CCCH works with DHS to provide financial assistance to low-income families in need of childcare services when parents or guardians are working, going to school, or in a job training program. 
  • Preschool Open Doors (POD): The POD program offers subsidies for eligible families with children aged three to five years old who are not yet enrolled in kindergarten.
  • Pre-Plus Program: This public-private partnership provides state-funded preschool classrooms within public school campuses or nearby community settings, and contracts private preschool providers to operate them. This program specifically targets areas where access to quality preschool education is limited, thereby filling a critical gap in early childhood education options. 

Professional development support

Investing in the professional development of childcare staff is crucial for maintaining quality in early childhood education. Below are some notable resources and financial support for early education professionals in Hawaii.

PATCH (People Attentive to Children)

PATCH is the state’s Child Care Resource and Referral Agency, providing support, resources, and connections to childcare providers through training, technical assistance, and scholarship opportunities. 

Early Childhood Educator Stipend

Aimed at supporting current and aspiring early childhood educators, this stipend program provides tuition stipends to individuals pursuing degrees or credentials in early childhood education or a related field.

Grants from private foundations

Beyond government resources, childcare providers in Hawaii can find financial support from private foundations as well. 

Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation

With a deep-seated commitment to fostering community growth and educational development, the Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation offers financial assistance to projects and programs located in Maui County that aim to create robust learning environments for children.

Harold K.L. Castle Foundation

With a focus on education initiatives, this foundation provides grants to programs dedicated to improving educational outcomes for Hawaii’s youngest learners.

Hawaii Community Foundation

The Hawaii Community Foundation plays a key role in boosting the work of childcare providers across Hawaii, acting as a crucial link for philanthropy and community support. This organization not only channels generous donations into meaningful projects but also offers grants specifically designed to enhance early childhood education and support childcare facilities.

The Samuel N. & Mary Castle Foundation

This organization supports early childhood education through grants for innovative programs and initiatives, such as training for providers, capital improvement funds, and resources for families in need of childcare assistance.

Children sitting at a table at daycare with their teacher. The children are using colored pencils to draw on white pieces of paper as the teacher looks on.Source

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 Hawaii. 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 Hawaii 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 Hawaii. 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

Seeking and securing grants can be a viable way for childcare providers in Hawaii to bolster their business and better serve their community. With a deep understanding of the grants available, the application process, and how to prepare, providers can position themselves to make the most of these valuable resources.


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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