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Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Maryland

Discover how childcare grants in Maryland can enhance your childcare business, providing not just financial aid but professional development for you and your staff.

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Maryland

Navigating Childcare Grants in Maryland

Finding and applying for grants and other funding resources can be a challenging task for childcare providers. In Maryland, the state is committed to high-quality early childhood education, offering a variety of grants to support providers.  

This article serves as a detailed guide to both financial and professional development childcare grants in Maryland. Whether you’re a new childcare business or experienced provider, we’ll simplify the idea of grants and guide you through a list of available opportunities.

What is a grant?

A grant is a form of financial aid that doesn't require repayment, provided certain conditions are met. For childcare providers, grants can be a lifeline, offering much-needed funds to enhance the learning environment, upskill staff, or even cover operational expenses. 

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 Maryland

Maryland has a reputation for its steadfast support of early childhood education, with a number of resources aimed at helping childcare providers succeed. In the below section, we cover grants and resources from government agencies, professional development support, and financial assistance from private foundations.

Grants and resources from government agencies

The Maryland State Department of Education is the lead state agency that oversees the distribution of the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) in Maryland. 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.

Maryland State Department of Education

The Maryland Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood has several grant programs, each designed to address specific needs within the early education industry.

    • Child Care Quality Incentive Grant: Aimed at improving the overall quality of childcare services, the Child Care Quality Incentive Grant (CCQIG) offers financial incentives to providers who achieve or maintain a high level of excellence as defined by Maryland EXCELS, the state's quality rating and improvement system.
    • Licensing Compliance Grants: The state is launching a new grant opportunity soon that will support quality improvements, start up costs, and sustainability for family child care and center-based programs. 
  • Pre-K Grant Programs: Maryland has introduced several grant programs specifically aimed at expanding and enhancing pre-k services. The Push to Pre-K initiative is specifically available to childcare providers and offers guidance and assistance to access grants and meet requirements.
  • Child Care Scholarship Program (CCS): The CCS program provides financial assistance to eligible families for child care, meaning providers can benefit from a more consistent revenue stream. By participating, providers can expand their client base to include families who might not otherwise afford child care, contributing to greater enrollment stability.

Child Care Capital Support Revolving Loan Fund

Although different from a grant, this financing resource offers no-interest loans to providers that participate in the state’s Child Care Scholarship Program for capital expenses related to a childcare facility including acquisition, expansion, renovation, and new construction. This is a convenient, cost-effective option for providers that are maintaining or growing their program enrollment.

Professional development support

Investing in the professional development of childcare staff is crucial for maintaining quality in early childhood education. As staff benefits from advanced training, the quality of your program is positively impacted as well. Below are examples of available professional development resources in Maryland.

Child Care Career and Professional Development Fund

The Child Care Career and Professional Development Fund (CCCPDF) supports childcare professionals seeking to advance their expertise in early childhood education. The fund makes direct payments to participating colleges or universities in Maryland for providers earning a college degree in early childhood education, child development, elementary education or special education. 

Maryland Child Care Credential Program

The Child Care Credential Program recognizes providers who have completed the required training and education, meeting standards for quality early childhood education. Incentives in the form bonuses are available to participants who achieve credential level two and higher.

Maryland Family Network

The Maryland Family Network offers childcare related resources to families, providers, and advocates. Providers can access their local Child Care Resource Centers, find training, access funding and other resources to start a childcare program, and connect with families looking for child care. 

Grants from private foundations

Maryland's commitment to early childhood education is bolstered not only by state initiatives but also by the generous support of private foundations. Below, we highlight some key players: 

Abell Foundation

This foundation is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Baltimore, supporting innovative projects that address the needs of young children, including those in childcare settings.

The Community Foundation of Frederick County

Known for its broad support of community programs, the Community Foundation of Frederick County provides grants for a wide range of interests, including education programs providing direct benefits to Frederick County, Maryland.

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 Maryland 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 Maryland. 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 Maryland 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 Maryland. 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

As a childcare provider in Maryland, you are surrounded by a wealth of grant opportunities ready for the taking. Investing in yourself and your program not only leads to financial growth but also contributes to the overall improvement of early childhood education across the state.


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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