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Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Oregon

Learn more about childcare grants in Oregon, including how to navigate the application process smoothly and maximize your funding opportunities.

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Oregon

Navigating Childcare Grants in Oregon

As a childcare provider in Oregon, you play a vital role in nurturing the growth and well-being of children. However, running a childcare business comes with its financial challenges.

To support your essential work, various grants are available that can provide much-needed funding. This guide aims to help you navigate the available childcare grants in Oregon, ensuring you can continue to offer the best possible care.

What is a grant?

A grant is a form of financial assistance provided by government agencies, private foundations, or non-profit organizations to support specific activities or projects. Unlike loans, grants do not require repayment, making them an invaluable resource for businesses and organizations looking to expand or improve their services. For childcare providers, grants can cover a broad range of needs, from enhancing facilities to professional development and more.

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 children learning in a preschool classroomSource

Childcare grants in Oregon

Whether you are looking to improve your facilities, invest in staff training, or expand your program, the right grant can make a significant difference. There are various types of grants and other resources available to childcare providers in Oregon that can enhance your services and support your business growth. 

Grants and resources from government agencies

The Oregon Department of Education, Early Learning Division is the lead state agency that oversees the distribution of the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) in Oregon. 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.

Oregon Department of Early Learning and Care

The Oregon Department of Early Learning and Care offers financial assistance specifically tailored to childcare providers:

  • Preschool Promise (PSP): This initiative aims to provide high-quality preschool experiences to children from low-income families. For providers, it offers funding that enables providers to offer free or reduced-cost preschool services to children who might otherwise not have access. Through the program, providers also have access to professional development opportunities and technical assistance.
    • Baby Promise: The Baby Promise program complements the Preschool Promise program and offers free early care and education to infants and toddlers from low-income families. This program supplies critical funding that enables providers to offer high-quality, affordable care to families who need it the most. In addition to financial support, the program includes professional development opportunities, ensuring that caregivers are equipped with the latest training and best practices for early childhood education. 
  • Early Child Equity Fund (ECEF): The Early Child Equity Fund in Oregon is a powerful resource designed to bridge disparities in early childhood education. This fund focuses on supporting providers who serve historically underserved communities, including children from low-income families, children of color, and children with disabilities. Eligible providers can access various forms of support, including grants to improve facilities and enhance program quality, technical assistance for professional development, and resources for family engagement.
  • Employment Related Day Care (ERDC): The ERDC subsidy program helps families afford quality child care and allows participating providers to have a more stable client base and receive consistent subsidy payments. 


Spark is Oregon's quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) designed to help childcare providers elevate the quality of their programs. Spark offers a wealth of resources to support providers including access to grants and other funding opportunities to improve facilities, purchase educational materials, and invest in curriculum development. 

Professional development support

Investing in the professional development of childcare staff is essential for maintaining high-quality early education. Below are some notable organizations supporting providers in Oregon:

Oregon Child Care Alliance (OCCA)

The Oregon Child Care Alliance is an organization dedicated to improving the quality and accessibility of child care services in Oregon. It works to support child care providers through training, resources, group purchasing discounts, business coaching, and advocacy.

One of their programs, the Child Care Educator Business Course, offers extensive training on business management, financial planning, and marketing tailored specifically for child care providers. By participating in this course, providers gain essential skills to run successful and sustainable businesses, as well as up to $3,500 in grant funds. 

Oregon Center for Career Development in Childhood Care and Education (OCCD)

OCCD offers an array of scholarships and grants specifically aimed at helping providers pursue additional credentials and skills through continuous learning opportunities. By accessing these resources, providers can participate in advanced training sessions, workshops, and college courses that enhance their expertise and effectiveness in delivering high-quality early childhood care.

Child Care Resource and Referrals (CCR&Rs)

CCR&R services in Oregon play a pivotal role in supporting childcare providers and ensuring families have access to quality childcare. Located in 15 regions across the state, these services offer a wide variety of resources, including individualized consultations and training sessions, assisting providers with business management practices, connecting them with funding opportunities, and guiding them through the complexities of state regulations.

Grants from private foundations

In addition to government funding, several private foundations in Oregon also support childcare providers through grants. Below are some notable organizations: 

The Collins Foundation

The Collins Foundation provides grants to nonprofits with a commitment to racial equity, including those dedicated to early childhood education and care.

The Ford Family Foundation

The Ford Family Foundation focuses on rural areas in Oregon and Siskiyou County, California, offering grants for early childhood education programs and scholarship opportunities.

Meyer Memorial Trust

This organization prioritizes funding for initiatives that promote equity and inclusion, including grants for early childhood education programs, community-based services, and housing.

Oregon Community Foundation

The Oregon Community Foundation offers general operating support grants and capital projects grants to organizations in the state. 

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 Oregon 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 Oregon. 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 Oregon 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 Oregon. 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

Accessing childcare grants in Oregon can be an excellent way to overcome financial hurdles and enhance your childcare services. With a clear understanding of available resources, thorough preparation, and effective grant proposals, you can secure the funding needed to continue providing high-quality care for 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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