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Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Michigan

For childcare providers, the right grant can open up many opportunities. Discover how childcare grants in Michigan can transform the financial landscape of your business.

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Michigan

Navigating Childcare Grants in Michigan

Michigan's childcare sector is vital, offering a secure and nurturing foundation that empowers parents and guardians to confidently join the workforce. Yet, the economic environment presents significant hurdles for childcare providers, whether they are established businesses or new startups.

In this article, we’ll help you navigate the complex array of childcare grants in Michigan, including financial assistance from government agencies and funding from private foundations. 

What is a grant?

Grants are non-repayable funds provided by entities like government departments, corporations, or foundations to recipients—ranging from individuals and businesses to nonprofit organizations. The primary aim of grants is to support specific projects or initiatives.

Childcare providers can utilize grants not only to bolster financial health but also to enact significant enhancements, elevate service quality, or expand community engagement. In an industry where financial resourcefulness is key, adeptly navigating through grant opportunities can substantially impact a business's ability to flourish.

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 Michigan

From state agencies to private entities, a variety of grants are available in Michigan for different aspects of childcare operations. Here, we outline some key financial assistance programs tailored for the childcare sector.

Grants and resources from government agencies

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

Michigan Department of Education

The Michigan Department of Education offers a suite of financial supplementation for eligible childcare providers. Some examples include:

  • Great Start Readiness Program: This program aims to assist providers in offering the Great Start Readiness Program, a Michigan preschool program for four-year-old children from eligible families. Childcare programs have access to Infant Toddler Quality Improvement Grants, marketing resources, incentives, scholarships, and professional development. 

  • MI Tri-Share: The MI Tri-Share Program is an innovative approach to financing childcare, where the cost is equally shared between the employer, the employee, and the state of Michigan. This program is designed to ease the financial burden on childcare providers by ensuring a steady flow of income and making childcare more affordable for working families. It also aims to expand the availability of quality childcare options across the state.

  • Child Development and Care (CDC): The Office of Child Development and Care provides childcare subsidy assistance, helping make quality child care affordable and accessible to the children and families it serves. This subsidy program allows providers to attract a wider range of families and ensures stable income support.

Caring for MI Future

The Caring for MI Future initiative aims to help childcare business owners open 1,000 new or expanded childcare programs by the end of 2024. This initiative focuses on building new childcare facilities, improving existing ones, and supporting childcare professionals with startup funding, resources, hiring, and training.

As part of this initiative, the Our Strong Start program focuses on recruiting new childcare entrepreneurs and helping existing businesses expand by offering licensing and business support, startup funding, and assistance with recruiting and hiring staff.

Professional development support

Investing in the professional development of childcare staff is crucial for maintaining quality in early childhood education.

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

This initiative offers scholarships and compensation incentives for early childhood educators. The grants emphasize continuous education for professionals, while they continue their current employment in a childcare setting. 

Grants from private foundations

Beyond government support, private foundations play a pivotal role in keeping the childcare sector financially afloat. These grants are typically aligned with the foundation's mission, which might encompass areas such as community well-being, children's education, and family support.

Frey Foundation

Based in Grand Rapids, the Frey Foundation supports efforts to enhance child development, early education, and community vitality, making it a potential source of funding for childcare providers.

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 Michigan and beyond.

The Skillman Foundation

Dedicated to improving the lives of Detroit's children, the Skillman Foundation offers grants that support education, safety, and community development, including childcare initiatives.

The Wege Foundation

Focused on sustainability, the arts, and education, the Wege Foundation provides grants that support childcare providers offering extracurricular or enrichment programs that prepare children for the next level of development.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation offers grants focused on improving early childhood education and care. They accept applications at any time and while they work throughout the U.S., two-thirds of their grant-making is concentrated in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, and New Orleans.

Childcare worker sitting with child at a table helping them to draw a shape with a crayon.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 Michigan. 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 Michigan 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 Michigan. 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

For childcare providers in Michigan, the right grant at the right time can unlock a world of possibilities. It can mean opportunities for professional growth, ensuring the best-in-class facilities, or overcoming financial challenges. 

By staying informed of the grants available and investing the necessary time and effort into applications, childcare providers in Michigan can take their business to the next level.


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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