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Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Virginia

For childcare providers, grants can cover operational expenses, pay for facility upgrades, or fund professional development opportunities. Learn about the various childcare grants in Virginia whether you are a new childcare business or established provider.

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Virginia

Navigating Childcare Grants in Virginia

The childcare landscape in Virginia is an intricate patchwork of providers striving to offer the best care for young children while navigating the financial challenges of maintaining high-quality services. Many childcare providers in Virginia are small businesses, and like any small business, they often need financial support to grow and provide the best care possible.

Fortunately, Virginia offers a range of grants and financial support programs designed to help childcare providers flourish. In this article, we’ll list available childcare grants in Virginia to help you take your business to the next level.

What is a grant?

Grants are funds allocated for a particular purpose, which does not have to be repaid. This is in contrast to loans, which are typically repaid with interest. Grants come from various sources, including government agencies, private organizations, and nonprofits, and are awarded based on specific criteria and often require a detailed application process.

Understanding and engaging with the different grants available can be critical to the financial stability and growth of your childcare business.

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 Virginia

In Virginia, childcare providers can tap into a wealth of resources to support their work with young children. Virginia's financial assistance landscape for childcare providers is diverse, comprising a mix of government-led initiatives and private foundation programs.

Grants and resources from government agencies

The Virginia Department of Education is the lead state agency that oversees the distribution of the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) in Virginia. 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.

Virginia Department of Education

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) plays a pivotal role in enhancing early childhood education across the state by offering a variety of grants and financial assistance programs.

  • Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI): The Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) benefits childcare providers by offering financial support to deliver quality preschool education, enhancing their ability to serve four-year-old children from low-income families. It provides resources and training to focus on comprehensive child development, improving the overall quality of early childhood education they offer. 
  • Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP): The Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) provides funds to low-income families to pay for child care. Providers who participate in CCSP are reimbursed for services provided to qualifying families, thus representing a direct financial benefit.
  • VQB5 - Virginia's Quality Measurement and Improvement System: Aimed at continually enhancing the quality of childcare and education, VQB5 is a comprehensive framework designed for childcare providers to assess, measure, and improve their services. The system offers tools and resources to help providers meet the highest standards of care. Another important part of the system is the RecognizeB5 educator incentive that provides direct financial incentives to eligible teachers working in publicly-funded childcare programs.

Virginia Early Childhood Foundation

The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) serves as the state’s public-private partner working to advance the quality of early childhood education in Virginia. VECF offers various grants and financial assistance programs to support childcare providers, including the Ready Regions initiative that focuses on building regional capacity to ensure that all children enter kindergarten ready to learn, and the Mixed Delivery Program that funds full-day, year-round early education services for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Virginia Small Business Financing Authority

The Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VSBFA) offers a unique Child Care Financing Program designed to support the growth and sustainability of childcare services within the state. Through zero interest loans and other grants, childcare providers can access much-needed capital to expand their facilities, improve their services, or cover operational costs. 

Professional development support

Investing in the professional development of childcare staff is crucial for maintaining quality in early childhood education. The state of Virginia offers several avenues for providers to pursue additional training and education:

Virginia Child Care Provider Scholarship Program

This program awards scholarships to early childhood educators who are pursuing a degree in an approved early childhood education program. The goal is to increase the number of qualified teachers and providers in the field, ultimately enhancing the quality of care for young children.

Project Pathfinders Funding Program

Specifically designed for early childhood educators in Virginia, this scholarship provides financial assistance to those seeking to further their education in early childhood development or education fields.

Virginia Infant and Toddler Specialist Network

This statewide network offers training and professional development for infant/toddler caregivers, as well as coaching and mentoring services. 

Grants from private foundations

Alongside government-led programs, there are also several private foundations that offer grants and financial assistance to childcare providers in Virginia. Here are a few notable examples:

Beazley Foundation

The Beazley Foundation Inc., supports various causes in the South Hampton Roads region of Virginia, including education and childcare, focusing on programs that make a meaningful difference in their communities.

Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation

Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation distributes grants in four focus areas (human needs, environmental stewardship, education, community vitality) to organizations within geographic areas where Dominion Energy provides electricity or natural gas service, including Virginia.

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 Virgina and beyond.

Robins Foundation 

The Robins Foundation offers grants to childcare and preschool programs located in Richmond, VA and surrounding counties of Chesterfield, Petersburg, and Henrico.

Teacher playing with building blocks with child. 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 Virginia. 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 Virginia 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 Virginia. 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 Virginia are varied and rich, reflecting the state's commitment to early childhood development and care. By carefully researching and pursuing available grants, you can take significant steps to enhance your business's capacity and quality of care.


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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