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Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in New Mexico

Discover new avenues for financial support with this comprehensive guide on childcare grants in New Mexico, including financial resources from government agencies and funding from private foundations.

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in New Mexico

Navigating Childcare Grants in New Mexico

Starting and operating a childcare center can be both rewarding and challenging. One of the most significant hurdles that many childcare providers face is securing the necessary funding to provide high-quality services. 

Fortunately, there are numerous grants available specifically designed to support childcare providers in New Mexico. This blog post guides you through understanding these grants, the resources available, and how to prepare for the application process.

What is a grant?

A grant is a financial award given by government agencies, private foundations, or other organizations to support specific programs or initiatives. Unlike loans, grants do not need to be repaid. 

For childcare providers, grants can offer essential funding for various needs, including facility improvements, staff training, educational materials, and more. Access to these funds can significantly enhance the quality of care you provide, making it a crucial element in your business strategy.

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!

Teacher and toddler playing with toys at daycare.Source

Childcare grants in New Mexico

New Mexico offers a wealth of resources to support childcare providers in their quest for excellence. From state-funded programs to private grants, these resources are designed to help you overcome financial challenges and achieve your mission of providing high-quality child care. 

Grants and resources from government agencies

The New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) is the lead state agency that oversees the distribution of the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) in New Mexico. 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 Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department

The New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department provides various funding opportunities and resources aimed at improving early childhood education and care. Here are some key opportunities:

  • Pre-K Initiative: This initiative focuses on enhancing early childhood education by providing grants that support the establishment and expansion of pre-kindergarten services in the state.
  • FOCUS Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System: The FOCUS program provides a structured framework for providers to enhance their services through a tiered rating system that recognizes incremental improvements. By participating in FOCUS TQRIS, providers can access technical assistance, professional development opportunities, and financial incentives, all aimed at elevating the standards of care and education they offer.
  • Payment Incentive Programs: Early childhood educators working at least 20 hours/week at a program are eligible for payment incentives including the Bilingual Incentive Program, a one time payment of $1,500 for certified bilingual/multilingual early childhood educators or the Wage Supplement Program, an education-based wage supplement. 
  • Child Care Assistance Program: This program offers financial assistance to eligible families in New Mexico to help cover the cost of child care. Providers participating in the program can receive payments directly from the state, reducing administrative overhead and providing reliable funding to support their operations and improvements.

Professional development support

Investing in the professional development of childcare staff is essential for maintaining high-quality early education. Here are resources available to providers in New Mexico:

New Mexico Kids Resource and Referral 

This organization serves as a vital support system for childcare providers and families throughout New Mexico. It offers comprehensive resources, including information on childcare programs, provider referrals, and guidance on accessing financial assistance and other funding opportunities. 

ECECD Scholarships

These scholarships provide financial support for early childhood educators seeking to further their education. By covering expenses such as tuition, books, and fees, these scholarships aim to enhance the qualifications and skills of educators.

Grants from private foundations

In addition to government grants, various private foundations in New Mexico offer funding to support childcare providers. These grants can be used for a wide range of purposes, from facility improvements to program enhancements. Some notable options include:

Daniels Fund

The Daniels Fund offers financial assistance for nonprofit organizations to support a variety of needs, including childcare services.

The Frost Foundation

The Frost Foundation offers grants that aim to enhance the health, education, and well-being of the underserved populations in New Mexico, including support for childcare and early learning initiatives.

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 New Mexico and beyond.

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.

Young girl playing with toys at daycare.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 New Mexico. 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 Mexico 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 Mexico. 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

Grants for childcare providers in New Mexico offer invaluable support, enabling you to enhance the quality of care and expand your services. By understanding the available resources and taking the necessary steps to prepare, you can unlock these opportunities and make a lasting impact on the lives of the children and families you serve.


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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