Children in a classroom with learning materials

Our Program

The Early Learning Facilities program supports Washington’s commitment of developing additional high quality early learning opportunities for low-income children. The goal of this program is to enable Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP) contractors and child care providers to expand, remodel, purchase, or construct early learning facilities and classrooms necessary to support state-funded early learning opportunities for low-income children.

Commerce’s Early Learning Facilities Grant program consists of four parts:
• Direct appropriations from the legislature
• A grant and loan program operated by a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)
• A competitive grant program
• A K-12 school program

Program Eligibility

The Early Learning Facilities program, funds projects for only eligible organizations and K-12 school districts.

Eligible Organizations

Eligible organizations may apply for grants through a competitive application process directly with Commerce or a grant or a loan through a CDFI. Commerce has selected a three CDFI partnership of Enterprise Community Partners, Craft 3, and the Washington Community Reinvestment Association. We are currently working to get under contract with them and will provide more information once resources are available.

Download the 2017-2019 Eligible Organizations Early Learning Facilities Grant Program Guidelines. (PDF)

Eligible organizations include:
• ECEAP providers
• Working Connections Child Care providers who are eligible to receive state subsidies
• Licensed early learning centers not currently participating in ECEAP, but intend to do so
• Developers of housing and community facilities
• Community and technical colleges
• Educational Service Districts (ESD)
• Local governments
• Federally recognized tribes in the state
• Religious affiliated entities.

Our capital grants cover:
• No more than $10,000 for facility pre-design
• No more than $100,000 for minor renovations and repairs
• No more than $800,000 for major construction, major renovation, and facility purchase

School Districts

Commerce, in collaboration with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, will submit a ranked and prioritized list of school district early learning facilities projects to the legislature for future funding. This list will be provided to the legislature by September 15. These projects will be selected from a competitive round of applications.

Activities eligible for funding include:
• No more than $800,000 for major construction, purchase, and renovation

Download the 2017-2019 K-12 School District Early Learning Facilities Grant Program Guidelines (PDF).

Online application for ELF Grant now open

The 2017-2019 ELF program online application is now open to K-12 school districts and eligible organizations.

To apply, please use this link to go to the ZoomGrants website. If you have a ZoomGrants account, log in and follow the instructions. If you are a new user, complete the required information for a new ZoomGrants account to create a profile. Once your profile has been created, select the ELF Grant, click the “Apply” button and start your application. The application auto-saves your entries whenever you change fields, so you can comeback anytime to resume work, update responses, edit copy and upload or replace documents, until the application deadline which is 5 p.m. August 15, 2018.

Depending on which grant you are applying for, make sure to become familiar with the K-12 school district guidelines or the eligible organizations guidelines before you begin the application. Also, please review our ELF Frequently Asked Questions document (PDF) for additional information about the program.

Below are tutorial links to help you become familiar with the ZoomGrants process:

ZoomGrants: A How to Guide for Applicants
ZoomGrants How to Apply Video
ZoomGrants How to Upload Documents

How you can learn more about our program

Please click here to view the Skype webinar from June 27, 2018.

Starting the week of June 25, you can schedule to have a private 30-minute technical assistance phone call with our team during the application window. If you are interested in this opportunity, please send an email here to schedule an appointment.

If you have any questions, please email, and have a great summer!

Related Law


Program Staff

Department of Commerce

Katrina Perez
Phone: 360-725-3024

Pat Gibbon
Phone: 360-725-3023

Department of Early Learning

Tracie Kenney
Phone: 360-407-3660

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