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, 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.

2023-2025 Early Learning Facilities Funding Availability

Anticipated Grant Rounds
Eligible Organizations Expansion GrantsFall 2023*$42,050,000
Minor Renovation Non-Expansion GrantsWinter 2023*$5,000,000
* Timelines are subject to change.

Eligible Organizations Funding Round Planning Timeline:

Grant Program Information for Early Learning and Child Care Providers

2023-2025 Eligible Organizations Competitive Grant

Opening 7:00AM, August 1, 2023 in ZoomGrants

Pre-Applications Closed at 5:00PM on August 22, 2023. Only approved pre-applications are eligible to proceed to the General Application.

General Applications must be received by 6:00 PM on Monday, October 16, 2023.
Applications received after this date and time will not be accepted for any reason.

Awards are expected to be announced in late winter 2024.
Please do not contact program staff for updates. Updates will be provided by email through ZoomGrants and posted here.

Click Here to Open the Grant Application in ZoomGrants 
(Application will be available starting at 7:00AM August 1, 2023)

Program Guidelines:

Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO):

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

Early Learning Facilities Grant Program Virtual Workshop Resources:

Click here for the press release with a list of the 2021-2023 Eligible Organization awardees.

Technical 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

Pre-Applications must be received in ZoomGrants by 5:00PM Tuesday, August 22, 2023.
Applications received after this date and time will not be accepted for any reason.
If approved to proceed to the General Application, eligible applicants will be notified by Friday, September 1, 2023.

***Family Home Facilities may not request more than 50% of the home’s current appraised value***

2023-2025 Minor Renovations Grant

This program is currently under development and is scheduled to be released in the winter of 2024. 
Please sign up for email updates on this page (in the right column) to be notified of program updates.

Public School District Funding Round

Congratulations to the following School Districts who received awards in the 2023-2025 Public School District Funding Round:

DistrictProject NameAmount
Bethel School DistrictElementary #19 Preschool Addition$1,036,800
Highline Public SchoolsValley View Early Learning Expansion$776,640
Issaquah School DistrictHolley Street Early Learning Center$1,014,720
Orondo School DistrictOld School House Early Learning Center$1,036,800
South Bend School DistrictInclusive Outdoor Education and Play$288,000
Toppenish School DistrictToppenish Preschool and ECEAP$1,036,800
Total Awarded$5,189,760

The next Public Schools funding round is anticipated to open in Spring of 2024.


Refer to the Funding Round Planning Timeline below to get a head start on planning and please sign up for email updates on this webpage to be notified of future grant opportunities.

Funding Round Planning Timeline (PDF).

2023-2025 Early Learning Facilities Funding

Funding  CategoryTotal AppropriationNumber of Projects Awarded
Public School Districts$5,189,7606
Direct Appropriation$17,236,0008
Eligible Organizations$42,050,000TBD
Minor Renovations$5,000,000TBD


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 2021-23 Program Legislation:
SHB 1080, Sections 1057 and 1083                                        ESHB 1370

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


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

Kelcy Shaffer
ECEAP Operations Manager
Phone: 360-407-3663

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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