banner svg (1)

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in New York

The state of New York provides various financial assistance opportunities to childcare programs. Learn more about available grants for childcare providers in New York and how to navigate the application process.

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in New York

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in New York

Childcare providers are the unsung heroes of our communities, nurturing the next generation while allowing parents to contribute to the economy. Yet, the challenges they face are often overlooked. Securing the necessary resources to maintain quality care and education can be a tough task. 

Fortunately, in New York, there are plenty of grants and financial support available to ease the burden on childcare providers, offering everything from capital for facility upgrades to funds for professional development. In this article, we explore how childcare providers in New York can find grants and other financial resources and apply for this necessary funding.

What is a grant?

Before we jump into the specific grants available to New York childcare providers, it's crucial to understand what a grant entitles and how it differs from a loan. 

A grant is a non-repayable fund provided as a form of financial assistance. Unlike loans, grants are not expected to be paid back, making them an incredibly valuable resource for those in need of financial support. When awarded a grant, providers can essentially access funds to improve their services without the weight of debt.

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!

Children drawing with markers at a table with their teacher in a daycare classroom.Source

Childcare grants in New York

Several government agencies in New York play pivotal roles in supporting childcare providers through grants and financial assistance. Here is a list of key organizations to consider when seeking grants for childcare services:

Grants and resources from government agencies

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) is the lead state agency in New York that oversees the distribution of the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). 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 York State Office of Children and Family Services

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) offers various grants to childcare providers, including those to aid in improving childcare quality.

  • Workforce Retention Grant: Aimed at stabilizing the childcare sector, the Workforce Retention Grant addresses one of the most pressing challenges faced by providers: retaining skilled staff. The grant offers bonus payments to childcare workers in caregiving roles ranging from $2,300 to $3,000, as well as funding to support programs’ efforts to recruit new staff. With this grant, providers can allocate funds towards staff retention strategies, such as offering competitive salaries and benefits.
  • Child Care Capital Program: The Child Care Capital Program supports childcare providers seeking to enhance their facilities and services. This program is designed to offer financial assistance for the design, construction, renovation, expansion, improvement, equipment, and other capital assets for existing or proposed non-profit or for-profit childcare centers. This can ease the financial burdens associated with facility upgrades and give providers the opportunity to increase capacity and serve more families.

New York State Education Department (NYSED)

The NYSED supports educational programs for early childhood and offers grants for program enhancements. They list funding opportunities for prekindergarten through 12th grade education on their website here

Professional development support

Investing in the professional development of childcare staff is crucial for maintaining quality in early childhood education. There are various grant and initiative programs in the state of New York that cover expenses related to education and training, including pursuing higher education degrees or specialized credentials and certificates. 

Educational Incentive Program (EIP)

The Educational Incentive Program (EIP) is a scholarship administered by OCFS to help childcare program staff and caregivers afford training to enhance child care quality. Eligibility depends on working in a New York State or New York City licensed program, income, and chosen training. EIP scholarships can be used to pay for college courses, training for a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, or other approved conferences and workshops. 


The QUALITYstarsNY program is a comprehensive quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) designed to support and evaluate the quality of childcare and early learning providers in New York. Participation in the program grants providers access to professional development opportunities, age-appropriate, high quality furnishings, developmentally-appropriate classroom materials and books, and targeted technical assistance to enhance their practices.

New York Works for Children (NYWFC)

New York Works for Children (NYWFC) is dedicated to advancing the childcare and early education workforce in New York. The organization provides access to a comprehensive range of professional development and career advancement resources.

Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&R) 

New York’s Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&R) offer support to both providers and families in all counties of New York. These agencies can connect providers with training and licensing assistance and help families find providers to fit their needs.

Two toddlers sitting on the floor with teacher at a childcare center.Source

Grants from private foundations

Several private foundations in New York recognize the importance of early childhood education and support childcare providers through grants and financial assistance. 

The New York Community Trust

The New York Community Trust is a public charity and grantmaking community foundation. The Trust offers grants to nonprofits supporting a variety of issues including poverty, education, justice, health, arts, environment, elderly, and children and teens.

Robin Hood

Robin Hood offers various grant opportunities for organizations focused on poverty alleviation, including programs that support early childhood education and care.

The Pinkerton Foundation 

Started in 1966, the Pinkerton Foundation is a grantmaking foundation that provides financial support to community-based programs in New York City that support children, youth, and families in economically disadvantaged areas.

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 York 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 New York. 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 York 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 York. 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 York can be a lifeline, providing the financial support needed to deliver high-quality care and learning opportunities. By understanding the resources available and preparing diligently, childcare providers can access the funds necessary to make their centers the best they can be.


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.

Brightwheel is the complete solution for early education providers, enabling you to streamline your center’s operations and build a stand-out reputation. Brightwheel connects the most critical aspects of running your center—including sign in and out, parent communications, tuition billing, and licensing and compliance—in one easy-to-use tool, along with providing best-in-class customer support and coaching. Brightwheel is trusted by thousands of early education centers and millions of parents. Learn more at

Subscribe to the brightwheel blog