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Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in New Hampshire

Discover how grants can open new doors for childcare providers in New Hampshire, creating better opportunities for growth. From extra funding to scholarships, these grants can have a big impact on your business.

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in New Hampshire

Navigating Childcare Grants in New Hampshire

Running a childcare center is both a rewarding and challenging venture. For providers in New Hampshire, accessing financial support can be crucial in ensuring quality care and sustainable operations.

This article explores the various childcare grants available in New Hampshire, offering providers insightful tips on how to secure these funds. Read on to discover valuable resources, understand the application process, and enhance your childcare services with much-needed financial backing.

What is a grant?

Grants are financial awards given by government agencies, private organizations, or foundations to support specific projects or initiatives. Unlike loans, they do not need to be repaid, making them an attractive option for childcare providers looking to enhance their facilities, invest in professional development, or manage operational costs. Understanding the nature of grants and how they can be utilized is the first step in capitalizing on these opportunities.

Grants often come with specific criteria and guidelines that applicants must meet. They are designed to support activities that align with the grantor's mission, such as improving educational outcomes or increasing access to quality childcare. By securing grants, childcare providers can gain the financial support needed to implement impactful changes.

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 New Hampshire

New Hampshire offers a variety of resources for childcare providers seeking grants. These resources come from both government agencies and private foundations, each offering unique opportunities to enhance childcare services across the state. Below, we explore some of the key sources of financial assistance available to childcare providers in New Hampshire.

Grants and resources from government agencies

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is the lead agency that oversees the distribution of the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) in New Hampshire. 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.

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

The New Hampshire DHHS is an important resource for families and childcare providers. Through the NH Connections consumer education website and other programs, DHHS offers a variety of grants and resources to enhance the quality of care, support workforce development, and promote health and safety standards in childcare settings. 

  • Opportunities to Succeed Grant: This grant is designed to help childcare providers enhance their programs and facilities and offers funding for a variety of improvements, including curriculum development, facility upgrades, and staff training.
  • Child Care Workforce Grant: Funding from this grant supports the recruitment, retention, and development of childcare professionals. Funds can be used for staff bonus, wages increases, or benefits. 
  • NH Child Care Scholarship Program: This program assists eligible families with the cost of child care and enables providers to receive consistent payments.
  • Granite Steps for Quality: Granite Steps for Quality is the tiered quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) for childcare providers in New Hampshire. This system aims to elevate the quality of early childhood education through structured support and mentorship. Participating providers who achieve and maintain high standards are eligible to receive financial incentives.

Babies at daycare


Professional development support

Investing in professional development is crucial for childcare providers to stay updated on best practices and improve the quality of care. New Hampshire offers resources specifically for professional development, helping providers enhance their skills and knowledge.

NH Connections

NH Connections serves as a comprehensive resource hub for childcare providers and offers information on available grants, professional development opportunities, and best practices.

State Early Learning Alliance (SELA) of New Hampshire

The State Early Learning Alliance (SELA) of New Hampshire brings together childcare providers, educators, and community partners to enhance the quality and accessibility of early childhood education across the state. By leveraging collective resources and expertise, SELA aims to address common challenges faced by childcare providers, including administrative efficiency, access to professional development, and the implementation of best practices in early education.

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

The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood NH program supports the educational advancement of childcare professionals in New Hampshire. Funded by the New Hampshire DHHS, this scholarship program provides financial assistance to early childhood educators pursuing higher education degrees and certifications. 

By covering a significant portion of tuition costs, books, and other educational expenses, T.E.A.C.H. aims to alleviate the financial burden on childcare providers, enabling them to invest in their professional growth. 

Grants from private foundations

Private foundations are key contributors to funding childcare programs in New Hampshire. These grants support projects that enhance the quality of childcare services and promote early childhood development. Here are some examples: 

The Bean Foundation

The Bean Foundation offers several types of grants including the Bean Foundation Grant that supports programs in the areas of arts and humanities, education, environment, health, and human services located in Manchester and Amherst. They also offer an Educational Enhancement Mini Grant that supports or expands classroom curriculum or enrichment programs.

Cogswell Benevolent Trust

The Cogswell Benevolent Trust supports New Hampshire based nonprofit organizations that have a charitable or educational purpose.

The Mascoma Bank Foundation

The Mascoma Bank Foundation funds projects that create positive change in communities they serve including the Connecticut River Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire from Keene to Lancaster. Typical projects may include facility and infrastructure improvements, new construction, and capital campaigns.

New Hampshire Charitable Foundation

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation focuses on a variety of areas including education, health, community development, environmental sustainability, and social services. They aim to enhance the quality of life for residents and support initiatives that promote equity and opportunity throughout the state.

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 New Hampshire. 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 New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire. 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

Securing financial assistance through grants can be a game-changer for childcare providers in New Hampshire. By tapping into resources such as government programs, private foundations, and professional development opportunities, providers can significantly enhance the quality of care they offer.


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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