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.
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.
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 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 Category||Total Appropriation||Number of Projects Awarded|
|K-12 School Districts||$4,186,000||9|
Funding Round Awardees
Department of Commerce
Community Projects Supervisor
Behavioral Health and Early Learning Section Manager
Department of Children, Youth, and Families
Community Funded ECEAP/Early Learning Facilities Specialist
ECEAP Operations Manager
Enterprise Community Partners
ChildCare Aware Washington