Early Learning Program

The Early Learning Facilities program supports Washington’s commitment of developing additional high quality early learning opportunities for children from low-income households.

Children in a classroom with learning materials

Our Program

The program aims to help Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) contractors and Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) subsidy providers to expand, remodel, purchase, or construct early learning facilities and classrooms.Commerce’s Early Learning Facilities Grant program consists of four parts:

  • Direct appropriations from the legislature
  • A grant and loan program operated by
  • Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)
  • A competitive grant program for eligible organizations
  • A K-12 school program

Funding Availability Information

K-12 School Districts

The 2021-23 ELF Grant program for K-12 school districts is now closed.

To learn more about the school district funding opportunity, please review the 2021-23 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’ve also produced a number of webinars and that material is provided at the links below.

Webinar Materials
June 24, 2020 Webinar Transcript – Community Capital Facilities
June 24, 2020 Webinar Presentation – Community Capital Facilities
June 24, 2020 Webinar Transcript – DCYF
June 24, 2020 Webinar Q&A
June 24, 2020 Webinar Recording – Community Capital Facilities
June 24, 2020 Webinar Recording – DCYF

We are now in the process of reviewing submitted applications for the 2021-2023 K-12 School District funding round. Once we have completed the review of applications, we will submit a list of ranked projects 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.

Eligible Organizations

The 2019-21 ELF Grant program is now closed to eligible organizations. The next round will be tentatively Spring 2021. To learn more about eligible organizations funding opportunity please review our program guidelines. 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 Child Care Home
• Child Care Center
• 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.


Commerce has selected a three CDFI partnership of Washington Community Reinvestment Association, Enterprise Community Partners, and Craft 3 to run our loan program. Only eligible organizations can apply for this opportunity directly with the CDFI. More information will be provided about this option soon, so stayed tuned!

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


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

Program Staff

Department of Commerce
Kristin Ramos
Program Manager
Phone: 360-515-6504

Lindsey Erickson
Program Manager
Phone: 564-999-3200

Tanya Mercier
Community Projects Supervisor
Phone: 360-704-0139

Matt Mazur-Hart
Behavioral Health and Early Learning Section Manager
Phone: 360-742-9099

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

Lisa Hall
Early Learning Facilities (ELF) Specialist
Office: 509-789-3829 | Cell: 509-342-5007

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