Children in a classroom with learning materials

Our Program

The Early Learning Facilities program supports Washington’s commitment of developing additional high quality early learning opportunities for children from low-income households. 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 a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)
• A competitive grant program for eligible organizations
• A K-12 school program

2019 – 2021 ELF Grant Program - Eligible Organizations

This year’s grants are only available to eligible organizations through a competitive application process directly with Commerce.

Download the 2019-2021 Early Learning Facilities (ELF) Eligible Organizations Program Grant Guidelines (PDF).

Please note: Translated copies of our guidelines will be available soon in Spanish and 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.

For this year’s upcoming round, there is $17,293,440 available in grant funding. There are three different fundable project types available under the program. Funding will be allocated as follows:

• $100,000 for the Facilities Pre-Design Grant (Maximum grant amount is $10,000)
• $1,910,877 for the minor Renovation or Repair of Existing Early Learning Facilities Grant (Maximum grant amount is $100,000)
• $15,282,563 for Major Construction/Renovation/Building Purchase Grant (Maximum amount is $800,000)

Funding Availability Information

Our ELF online grant application will be available on Tuesday, October 1, 2019. All applications must be submitted electronically through ZoomGrants and are due to Commerce no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 2, 2019.

2019-2021 ELF Grant Program - K-12 School Districts

K-12 school districts are not eligible for the year’s competitive round of funding. Applications for the K-12 school districts track will be available around the spring of 2020. To learn more about this future opportunity, you can review the 2017-19 K-12 School District Program Guidelines.


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!

How you can learn more about our program

We strongly encourage you to carefully read the program guidelines for this upcoming competitive round. More information will be coming soon around technical opportunities.

Other helpful resources to learn more about the program include listening to last year’s Skype webinar and reviewing the transcript of the question and answer portion of the webinar. Also available is the 2017-19 ELF Frequently Asked Questions Document. Please note information provided in these resources are subject to change for this upcoming competitive round.

The best way to stay informed of any program updates is by subscribing to our email listserv (on the right) and frequently checking our website. Please stay tuned for more program information!

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

2017-2019 Grants Results

Click here for a list of awarded recipients.


For all program related questions, please email:

Program Staff

Department of Commerce
Katrina Perez
Program Manager
Phone: 360-725-3024

Pat Gibbon
Program Manager
Phone: 360-725-3023

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

Sign up for updates

To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.