Early Learning Facilities Program

The Department of Commerce manages funding awarded through direct appropriation and competitive processes that establish new capacity for early learning providers. The Early Learning Facilities (ELF) program supports Washington’s commitment of developing additional high quality early learning opportunities for children from low-income households. Commerce’s partners in the program are the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington Community Reinvestment Association, Enterprise Community Partners, Craft 3 and the Early Learning Facilities Advisory Board.

Children in a classroom with learning materials

Our Program

The Early Learning Facilities (ELF) program aims to help Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) contractors and Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) providers to expand, remodel, purchase, or construct early learning facilities and classrooms necessary to support early learning opportunities for children from low-income households.

Commerce’s ELF program funding opportunities consists of four parts:

  • Competitive grants to eligible organizations
  • Competitive grants to public school districts
  • Direct appropriations from the Legislature
  • A grant and loan program operated by Washington Community Reinvestment Association, Enterprise Community Partners, and Craft3.

Funding Availability Information

ELF funding is open to nonprofits, public entities, K-12 schools and districts, tribes and for-profit businesses. The type of eligible applicant depends on the requirements of the current funding round being released as indicated below. Nonprofit and for-profit business applicants must be registered in the State of Washington. All applicants must be able to meet all applicable licensing and certification requirements under specific RCWs and WACs pertaining to the early learning and childcare services proposed in the facilities to which the funding will be applied.

Grants made by the ELF program are for reimbursement of capital projects only. Capital costs may include acquisition, design, engineering, third-party construction management, and construction and capitalized equipment costs associated with building early learning facilities. If funding is provided for the acquisition of a building or land, the acquisition must have the resulting outcome of a facility that increases early learning opportunities for children from low-income households.

Technical Assistance for Applicants and Grantees

Please see below for different types of technical assistance available for potential applicants and grantees.

Local Area Chambers of Commerce

The Chambers of Commerce in many local areas may be able to provide assistance with the application, pre-contracting and reimbursement documents and processes.

Please click this link to contact the local Chamber of Commerce in your area for more information: https://www.uschamber.com/co/chambers/washington

Small Business Resiliency Network

Partners of the Small Business Resiliency Network (SBRN) provide culturally and linguistically relevant assistance and other business support services at no cost to entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profits – with an emphasis on those owned by historically marginalized and underserved persons – throughout Washington.

Click on this link for the interactive map for assistance in your area:

Child Care Business Feasibility Estimator

Washington STEM is providing a tool to assist child care providers investigate different business approaches. The Estimator is designed to help potential child care business owners understand the likely costs, revenues, and feasibility for their child care business idea.

Click here to access the tool: https://washingtonstem.org/child-care-business-feasibility-estimator/

Language Assistance Available

(English) The Imagine Institute is available to provide language assistance in the applicants preferred language. Please contact The Imagine Institute at 206-492-5249 or email CCSG@imaginewa.org

(Spanish) El Imagine Institute está disponible para brindar asistencia lingüística en el idioma preferido de los solicitantes. Comuníquese con The Imagine Institute llamando al 206-492-5249 o envíe un correo electrónico a CCSG@imaginewa.org

(Somali) Waxay Imagine Institute diyaar kuula tahay in ay bixiso caawimaad luuqadeed codsadayaasha arjiga luuqada ay doorbidayaan. Fadlan la Xariir Imagine Institute ee 206-492-5249 ama emayl CCSG@imaginewa.org

Note: Official grant applications, contracting processes and reimbursement processes are all in English.

Project Development Assistance

For applicants who are unsure which funding round or category is the best suited for their project, we are providing Project Development slides for assistance in determining the appropriate path in their project development:

2023-2025 Early Learning Facilities

Funding CategoryAnticipated Application OpeningTotal AppropriationNumber of Projects Awarded
Eligible OrganizationsAugust 2023$42,050,00049
Health & Safety Minor RenovationsFebruary 2024$5,000,000TBD
Public School Districts (2025-2027)April 2024$TBDTBD
* Timelines are subject to change.

2023-2025 Health & Safety Minor Renovations Grant

The Health and Safety Minor Renovations funding round is now CLOSED

Please sign up for email updates on this page (in the right column) to be notified of program updates.

2025-2027 Public School District Funding Round

The 2025-2027 Biennium Public School District Funding Round will open April 30, 2024.
The Application Period will close at 5:00PM on June 25, 2024.
Click here to access the Application in ZoomGrants after application opening.

Applicants whose projects are recommended for funding to the legislature will be notified in August 2024, and official notifications of awards will be sent following the signing of the Capital Budget.

Please sign up for email updates on this page (in the right column) to be notified of program updates.

2025-2027 Eligible Organizations Competitive Grant

Grant Program Information for Early Learning and Childcare Providers:

2023-2025 Eligible Organizations ELF Funding One-Pager (PDF)

More information coming soon.

Please sign up for email updates on this page (in the right column) to be notified of program updates.


Commerce has selected three CDFI partners, Washington Community Reinvestment Association, Enterprise Community Partners, and Craft 3 to run our loan program. See the WELL Fund Flyer for more information or go to the Washington Early Learning Loan Fund website.

Related Law

Program Guidelines

Funding Round Awardees


For all program related questions, please email: earlylearningfacilities@commerce.wa.gov

Child Care Licensing Information

Department of Children, Youth, and Families

Jody Hitchings
Pre-Licensing Unit Supervisor
Phone: 360-271-4214

Grace Ssebugwawo
Community Funded ECEAP/Early Learning Facilities Specialist
Phone: 360-701-7197

DCYF Child Care / Early Learning Providers Technical Assistance

DCYF Early Learning & Child Care Offices

Enterprise Community Partners
Juanita Salinas-Aguila
Program Director Pacific Northwest
Phone: 206-223-4518

ChildCare Aware Washington
Phone: 253-383-1735

Listings for “Washington State Regional Coalitions for Early Learning”

Washington Communities for Children

USDA and HHS Joint Resource Guide – To strengthen and expand child care facilities in rural communities.

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