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Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Mississippi

Grants can improve the quality and reach of your childcare business. Discover how to ease your financial strain with insights on childcare grants in Mississippi tailored specifically for childcare providers.

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Mississippi

Navigating Childcare Grants in Mississippi

Securing funding for your childcare center can be a game-changer, enabling you to improve facilities, expand services, and offer better care. For childcare providers in Mississippi, understanding the available grants and how to apply for them is crucial. 

This guide walks you through different types of grants specifically available in Mississippi, offering actionable insights to help you secure the financial assistance you need.

What is a grant?

Grants are non-repayable funds provided by government agencies, private foundations, or other organizations to support specific projects or initiatives. Unlike loans, grants do not need to be paid back, making them an invaluable resource for childcare providers looking to expand their operations, improve facilities, or invest in professional development.

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 Mississippi

Mississippi offers a variety of grants aimed at helping childcare providers enhance their services. These grants come from both government and private sources and cater to different needs, from facility upgrades to professional development.

Grants and resources from government agencies

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

Mississippi Department of Human Services

The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS), Division of Early Childhood Care and Development administers various programs to support families and providers: 

    • Child Care Payment Program (CCPP): This program assists childcare providers by offering direct payments for services rendered to eligible families. This program helps stabilize childcare operations by ensuring a consistent revenue stream, enabling providers to focus on delivering high-quality care without the financial uncertainty.
    • Direct Incentive Program: The direct incentive program provides monthly incentives to teachers working at a CCPP participating childcare program. 
  • Wonderschool Partnership: In partnership with the MDHS, Wonderschool helps childcare providers launch or grow their businesses. They offer free resources to providers including start-up cost grants, business coaching, and training.

Mississippi LIFT

Mississippi LIFT, funded by the Preschool Development Grant Birth-Five (PDG B-5) renewal, invests in families, communities, and childcare providers through educational resources, training, employment incentives, and support for early childcare teachers. 

The PDG B-5 grant will benefit childcare providers by:

  • Creating a new Quality Support System with input from families and providers
  • Addressing childcare deserts and improving compensation in low-income communities
  • Enhancing early intervention services
  • Unifying the state's early childhood education professional development system
  • Cultivating careers and professional development for early childhood education professionals

Professional development support

Investing in the professional development of childcare staff is essential for maintaining high-quality early education. Mississippi offers a range of resources supporting childcare professionals in their continuous learning and development efforts.

Child Care Resource and Referral 

Mississippi’s Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) centers support both families and childcare providers in the state. These centers refer families to local childcare providers and offer resources and assistance to providers, helping childcare business owners start and improve their programs.

MDHS Scholarship Payment Program 

This program aims to uplift the educational qualifications of childcare employees through scholarships. Qualified applicants may receive up to $1,500 towards obtaining a CDA credential and/or $1,500 for tuition towards obtaining an Early Childhood Development Technology Associate degree from accredited community colleges in Mississippi.

Grants from private foundations

In addition to government resources, Mississippi is home to several private foundations committed to supporting childcare providers through various grants. 

Community Foundation for Mississippi

The Community Foundation for Mississippi provides grants aimed at strengthening community programs, with a special emphasis on enhancing educational opportunities for children in the state.

Entergy Charitable Foundation

The Entergy Charitable Foundation is focused on improving communities through investments in areas of arts and culture, education and workforce development, poverty solutions and social services, healthy families, and community improvement. Their Open Grants program funds local organizations in areas served by Entergy that are committed to enhancing the quality of life for residents.

The Phil Hardin Foundation

The Phil Hardin Foundation supports initiatives that improve educational opportunities, including grants for childcare providers, with a focus on Meridian and Lauderdale County.

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.

Teacher reading a story to preschool children.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 Mississippi. 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 Mississippi 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 Mississippi. 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

Mississippi offers a wealth of resources tailored to childcare providers, ranging from financial assistance and scholarships to private foundation grants. Navigating the world of grants can be daunting, but with the right information and preparation, you can secure the funding you need to elevate your childcare business.


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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