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Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Oklahoma

Grants, whether federally or privately funded, can provide financial support to your business. Explore the various childcare grants in Oklahoma and strengthen your childcare business.

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Oklahoma

Navigating Childcare Grants in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, childcare providers play a crucial role in shaping the future of our children. However, running a childcare facility comes with its own set of financial challenges.

Thankfully, various grants are available to help alleviate some of these burdens, enabling you to provide the best possible care. This guide will walk you through understanding grants, exploring available resources in Oklahoma, and preparing to apply for these opportunities.

What is a grant?

Grants are financial awards given by government agencies, foundations, and organizations to support specific projects or purposes. Unlike loans, grants do not need to be repaid, making them an invaluable resource for childcare providers looking to improve their facilities, enhance their programs, 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 Oklahoma

Oklahoma offers a variety of resources and grant opportunities specifically tailored to support childcare providers. By tapping into these local opportunities, you can access crucial funding that will help enhance the quality of care you provide and ensure your childcare facility thrives.

Grants and resources from government agencies

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

Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Child Care Services

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Child Care Services offers various state-funded resources aimed at supporting childcare providers. Here are some noteworthy programs:

  • Oklahoma Child Care Wage Supplement Program: This wage supplement program is designed to support and incentivize childcare professionals by offering financial supplements to their wages ranging from $400 to $2,200 per year based on educational level and tenure in the field.
  • Reaching for the Stars: This program is Oklahoma's quality rating and improvement system for early childhood education programs. Reaching for the Stars is designed to enhance the quality of child care through a tiered rating structure, professional development, and financial incentives for providers. 
    • Oklahoma Registry Certificate of Achievement and Stipend Program: This program recognizes and rewards childcare providers’ professional growth by offering certificates in various areas of specialized professional development and a $600 payment awarded to qualified professionals for their achievements.
  • Child Care Subsidy: The child care subsidy program provides support to both families and childcare providers by offering financial assistance to low-income families in need of affordable child care. The subsidy helps alleviate the financial burden for families and ensures a steady stream of income for providers.

Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness (OPSR)

The Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) aims to improve the quality of early childhood education and expand access to preschool programs. OPSR will implement the PDG B-5 through a series of subgrants to support numerous initiatives including workforce development, quality enhancements in early learning environments, and expanding access to high-quality preschool programs. 

Group of three toddler girls playing hopscotch outsideSource

Professional development support

Investing in the professional development of childcare staff is essential for maintaining high-quality early education. Here are various resources available in Oklahoma:

Oklahoma Scholars for Excellence in Child Care Scholarship Program

This scholarship program is designed to support the educational advancement of childcare professionals in Oklahoma. This program offers financial assistance for those seeking to earn Child Development Associate (CDA) credentials, associate degrees, or bachelor's degrees related to early childhood education.

Oklahoma Child Care Resource and Referral Association

The Oklahoma Child Care Resource and Referral Association (OCCRRA) is a statewide network of childcare resource and referral agencies that works to support the quality, affordability, and accessibility of early childhood education in Oklahoma. Through their services, providers can access resources such as training opportunities, technical assistance, and referrals for families seeking child care.

Grants from private foundations

Several private foundations offer grants specifically for childcare providers in Oklahoma. Some prominent ones include:

Inasmuch Foundation

The Inasmuch Foundation supports organizations that serve the Oklahoma City metro area. One of their grant making focus areas is improving access to high quality educational experiences, including early childhood education.

Kirkpatrick Foundation

The Kirkpatrick Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting initiatives that enhance the quality of life in communities located in Central Oklahoma. They offer a variety of grants in areas such as arts and culture, education, animal welfare, and environmental preservation. 

George Kaiser Family Foundation

The George Kaiser Family Foundation focuses on tackling the root causes of poverty through initiatives in early childhood education, community health, and social services. By providing grants and support, the foundation aims to create lasting impact and improve the quality of life for underserved populations, particularly in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Toddler looking at a colorful picture bookSource

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 Oklahoma. 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 Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma. 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 offer a vital lifeline for childcare providers in Oklahoma, enabling you to enhance your services and invest in professional development. By taking the time to understand the available resources and preparing a strong application, you can secure the funding needed to continue providing high-quality care for the children in your community.


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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