Illinois Offers Early Childhood Construction Grants

Sep 23, 2011

By Stephanie Schmit

The Illinois Capital Development Board (CBD) in consultation with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has announced a grants opportunity for child care centers and providers to establish a new facility or renovate or expand a current early childhood facility.

The Early Childhood Construction Grants' aim is to increase early childhood services in underserved areas. This can be accomplished by adding an addition to an existing building, constructing a new building, renovating an existing building, purchasing a building, purchasing or replacing equipment, making safety improvements or converting classrooms.

Eligible applicants include any public school district, private not-for-profit entity with experience providing services to young children and their families, Preschool for All programs, and licensed and licensed-exempted private nonprofit child care centers. Applications will be prioritized based on the needs of the community, the proposed program and the project readiness of the program applying for the grant.

Applicants can apply for up to $5 million in funding with a 10 percent local match. These funds are available from the CBD and ISBE and have the potential to improve the safety and quality of early childhood facilities in Illinois as well as to aid the growth and development of young children. Applications are due on Nov.30, 2011. 

There is a critical need for facilities funding in many low-income and underserved communities. The Latino Policy Forum, for example, has written about the early childhood facilities crisis in Latino communities. Improving the supply of early childhood programs is an important step to expanding access for underserved communities.

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