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.

To learn more about our grant funding, please review the program guidelines which 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.

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)

Online Application for ELF Grant Program Now Open

The 2019-21 online application for the ELF Grant program is now open to eligible organizations.

To apply, please click here to go to the ZoomGrants website. If you have a ZoomGrants account, log in and follow the instructions. If you are a new user, complete the required information for a new ZoomGrants account to create a profile. Once your profile has been created, select 2019-2021 Early Learning Facility (ELF) Grant Program-Eligible Organizations, click the “Apply” button and start your application. The application auto-saves your entries whenever you change fields, so you can comeback anytime to resume work, update responses, edit copy and upload or replace documents, until the application deadline which is 5:00 p.m. December 2, 2019.

Please carefully review and become familiar with the ELF Eligible Organizations Program Grant Guidelines (found above), the ELF PowerPoint with an overview of the program, and the Frequently Asked (FAQ) Document, before you begin the application.

Below are tutorial links to help you become familiar with the ZoomGrants process:

ZoomGrants: A How to Guide for Applicants
ZoomGrants: How to Apply Video
ZoomGrants: How to Upload Documents
ZoomGrants: Tech Tips for Applicants Submitting Applications

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

If you were unable to participate in our webinars, below are the webinar recordings and here is an updated copy of our Q&A webinar transcript.

October ELF Webinar Presentation

November ELF Q&A Webinar

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

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