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 K-12 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, tribes and for-profit businesses. 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.

2021-2023 K-12 School Districts Competitive Grant

The application for the 2021-2023 K-12 School Districts funding round is now closed. We have completed our review of submitted applications for the 2021-2023 K-12 School District funding round and a ranked list of projects has been submitted to the Legislature for their final funding decision. We will announce those Legislative decisions on this web page following the close of the 2021 Legislative session.

To learn more about this funding opportunity, please review the 2021-2023 K-12 School District Program Guidelines, the 21-23 ELF School District Presentation, the 21-23 ELF School District Application Guidelines presentation, and also our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). We have also produced a number of webinars with material available through the links below.

Webinar Materials
June 24, 2020 Webinar Transcript – Commerce
June 24, 2020 Webinar Presentation – Commerce
June 24, 2020 Webinar Transcript – DCYF
June 24, 2020 Webinar Q&A
June 24, 2020 Webinar Recording – Commerce
June 24, 2020 Webinar Recording – DCYF

2019-2021 Eligible Organizations Competitive Grant

The application for the 2019-2021 Eligible Organizations funding round is now closed. A list of awarded projects is available for download,. See “2017-2017 & 2019-2021 ELF Awarded Projects List” in the right-hand column of this webpage. The next funding round is tentatively scheduled for Fall 2021. See the Eligible Organizations program guidelines for more information about this funding opportunity. Please note information in the guidelines may be subject to change in future rounds.

Eligible Organizations Program Guidelines are available in the following formats:
English | Spanish | Somali

Eligible organizations include:
• Family home providers
• Child care centers
• Early learning providers or centers
• Developers of housing and community facilities
• Community and technical colleges
• Educational Service Districts (ESD)
• Local governments
• Federally recognized tribes
• Religious affiliated entities.

2019-21 Early Learning Facilities Funding

Funding  CategoryTotal AppropriationNumber of Projects Awarded
Eligible Organizations$22,248,00047
K-12 School Districts$4,186,0009
Direct Appropriation$9,062,00012
TOTAL$35,796,00068

Early Learning Project Locations

Early Learning Project Locations
Early Learning Project Locations

CDFI

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

RCW 43.31.565 through RCW 43.31.583

Link to 2019-21 Program Legislation
SHB 1102, Section 1037

Links to 2017-19 Program Legislation
HB 1777
ESSB 6095, Section 1005

Program Guidelines

Funding Round Awardees

Questions?

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

Program Staff

Department of Commerce
Kristin Ramos
Program Manager
Kristin.Ramos@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 360-515-6504

Lindsey Erickson
Program Manager
Lindsey.Erickson@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 564-999-3200

Tanya Mercier
Community Projects Supervisor
Tanya.Mercier@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 360-704-0139

Matt Mazur-Hart
Behavioral Health and Early Learning Section Manager
Matt.Mazur-Hart@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 360-742-9099

Technical Assistance

Department of Children, Youth, and Families
Grace Ssebugwawo
Community Funded ECEAP/Early Learning Facilities Specialist
Grace.Ssebugwawo@dcyf.wa.gov
Phone: 360-701-7197

Lisa Hall
Early Learning Facilities (ELF) Specialist
Lisa.Hall@dcyf.wa.gov
Office: 509-789-3829 | Cell: 509-342-5007

DCYF Early Learning & Child Care Offices

Enterprise Community Partners
Juanita Salinas-Aguila
jsalinasaguila@enterprisecommunitypartners.org
Phone: 206-300-7561

ChildCare Aware Washington
Phone: 253-383-1735

Listings for “Washington State Regional Coalitions for Early Learning”

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