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 Eligible Organizations Competitive Grant

The application for the 2021-2023 Eligible Organizations funding round is now closed. Commerce is now reviewing submitted applications and awards will be announced in March.

2021-2023 Early Learning Facilities Funding

Funding  CategoryTotal AppropriationNumber of Projects Awarded
K-12 School Districts$4,719,0009
Direct Appropriation$1,089.0004
Eligible Organizations$23,911,000TBD
TOTAL$29,719,000TBD

2019-21 Early Learning Facilities Funding

Funding CategoryTotal AppropriationNumber of Projects Awarded  
K-12 School Districts$4,186,0009
Direct Appropriation$9,062,00012
Eligible Organizations$22,248,00047
TOTAL$35,496,00068

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 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

Questions?

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

Program Staff

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

Amy Gutierrez
Program Manager – State Appropriation
Amy.Gutierrez@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 360-280-0010

Olivia Cormier
Program Manager – Federal Appropriation
Olivia.Cormier@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 360-485-3921

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

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