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 public 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.

Language 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

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

2023-2025 Early Learning Facilities Funding Availability

Funding CategoryAnticipated Application OpeningTotal AppropriationNumber of Projects Awarded
Eligible OrganizationsAugust 2023$42,050,000TBD
Health & Safety Minor RenovationsFebruary 2024$5,000,000TBD
Public School Districts (2025-2027)April 2024$TBDTBD
* Timelines are subject to change.

2023-2025 Health & Safety Minor Renovations Grant

The Health and Safety Minor Renovations funding round is now CLOSED. Those who successfully submitted Pre-Applications by the 5:00PM Pacific Time due date are eligible to proceed to the General Application on ZoomGrants.

Click on this link to access the application in ZoomGrants.

UPDATE: All potential applicants must be able to submit a valid license by DCYF or equivalent certification to ZoomGrants with the General Application by the due date of April 16, 2024.

Awards will be announced approximately August 2024.

Please sign up for email updates on this page (in the right column) to be notified of program updates.

Debriefing Webinar Information

We will host debrief webinars in English, Spanish and Somali on Wednesday, February 28, 2024 to present the most common reasons projects were not selected for funding. The webinars will be recorded to allow as many applicants to view the presentation as possible. We will not be able to provide individual debrief sessions or answer specific questions about your application this time.
English Debrief WebinarSpanish Debrief WebinarSomali Debrief Webinar
Wednesday, February 28, 2024
2:00PM – 3:00PM PST
Register Here
Wednesday, February 28, 2024
2:30PM – 4:30 PM PST
Register Here
Wednesday, February 28, 2024
5:00PM – 6:00PM PST
Register Here

2025-2027 Public School District Funding Round

Please sign up for email updates on this page (in the right column) to be notified of program updates.

2025-2027 Eligible Organizations Competitive Grant

Grant Program Information for Early Learning and Childcare Providers:

2023-2025 Eligible Organizations ELF Funding One-Pager (PDF)

Please sign up for email updates on this page (in the right column) to be notified of program updates.

Awardees from previous grant rounds:

2023-2025 Public School Districts
DistrictProject Name Amount
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

2023-2025 Eligible Organizations

Placeholder for link to the award list, once published.

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

Program Guidelines

Funding Round Awardees

Questions?

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
jody.hitchings@dcyf.wa.gov
Phone: 360-271-4214

Grace Ssebugwawo
Community Funded ECEAP/Early Learning Facilities Specialist
Grace.Ssebugwawo@dcyf.wa.gov
Phone: 360-701-7197

DCYF Child Care / Early Learning Providers Technical Assistance

DCYF Early Learning & Child Care Offices

Enterprise Community Partners
Juanita Salinas-Aguila
Program Director Pacific Northwest
jsalinasaguila@enterprisecommunity.org
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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