Many different funding sources provide grants for opening a day care center. However, grants for for-profit day care centers can be hard to obtain because most grant money is reserved for nonprofit child care facilities. Before applying for grants, a day care center operator must decide on the type of business (private or nonprofit) and create a business plan.
Grants generally have requirements for the child care provider to meet to receive funding approval. Requirements range from a minimum number of children to a certain number of weekly operating hours. Funding organizations may also want detailed business plans and budget information. Check the funding requirements before writing your grant to make sure you meet all the criteria.
Most federal funding comes in the form of community development block grants (CDBG). A CDBG for day care centers provides funds to start, operate or improve child care facilities in underserved areas, low-income neighborhoods or rural communities. Federal grant sources include the U.S. Department of Agriculture (rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (acf.hhs.gov/programs/ccb/), U.S. Small Business Administration (sba.gov/localresources/index.html) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (hud.gov/local/index.cfm).
Each state handles grant funding for child care facilities differently. Most local governments have a health and human services department that handles licensing and grant-making for day care centers. Many state grants for child care mirror federal requirements for income and underserved populations. You can find a state-by-state listing of state-run grant programs and other funding information at the National Network for Child Care (nncc.org/states/stateindex.html) or the National Child Care Information Center (nccic.org/statedata/statepro/index.html).
Several private organizations offer grants for day care centers and early childhood education. The majority of these funding sources only provide support to nonprofit or government-run child care programs. The top grant sources for day care centers include the Annie E. Casey Foundation (aecf.org/AboutUs/GrantInformation.aspx), Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (mott.org/grantseeker.aspx), The David and Lucile Packard Foundation (packard.org/categoryList.aspx?RootCatID=3&CategoryID=63), Foundations Supporting Early Childhood Care and Education (nccic.org/poptopics/foundations.html) and the Rural Community Assistance Corporation (rcac.org/). Additional private funding organizations are listed at the Foundation Center (foundationcenter.org/).
The number of requirements in grant writing can be overwhelming. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has set up a grant writing resource page (ric.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index.php?info_center=5&tax_level=2&tax_subject=319&topic_id=1566#Grant%20Writing%20Resources) to assist beginner grant writers. The resource pages provide information about how to research and plan a day care center so that the grant writing will be successful.
Meagan Van Beest took up writing after graduating with a bachelor's degree in English literature. She has worked in advertising and marketing for the past decade. Her writing has appeared in advertising, brochures, newspapers and online magazines. Currently, as creative director of a design firm, she oversees the graphics, copy writing, and creative direction of print and Web design projects.