Grants for child care centers can be a limited source of funding, because many day cares are for-profit organizations and most grants are available only to schools and nonprofit organizations. However, grant opportunities do exist for both for-profit and nonprofit child-care centers.
Most grants are awarded for specific purposes, including: capital upgrades, renovations and playgrounds; snacks and meals; and staff development education. For example, the USDA sponsors the Child and Adult Care Food Program to help cover the cost of food.
Grants are also available for child care centers that focus on education. The Lego Children’s Fund provides grants to centers that inspire creativity and innovation among their students.
Although many child care centers are for-profit businesses, some serve low-income families who need these services while the parents work. Grants for these types of organizations allow them to keep fees affordable. One example is California's Low Income Investment Fund, which sponsors the California Preschool Energy Efficiency Program that helps child-care centers and preschools update their appliances to energy-efficient ones. It also provides grants for renovations and upgrades in child-care centers in San Francisco and Alameda.
Foundations are a major source of grants. For example, Rosie’s for All Kids is a foundation that provides funds for equipment and supply upgrades as well as staff development and education, and the Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation funds child-care centers in Pennsylvania. The foundation also co-sponsors a Children’s Tylenol ?National Child Care Teacher Award that honors day-care teachers with innovative ideas.
State governments are another common source of child-care grants. For instance, North Dakota set aside $500,000 for child care centers that can be used for infrastructure or technical assistance. The grant must be matched with funds raised by the organization. And in Nebraska, emergency grants are available for centers that need to make upgrades to comply with licensing standards.
Most child-care center grants are awarded annually, with the expectation that the grant will be used within that year. For instance, the Rosie's for All Kids grant has a 12-month duration. However, some are longer, such as the Annie E. Casey Foundation's multiyear grants that are often awarded to large organizations for capacity building or research.