Making early care and learning in Colorado more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable.

The Community Innovation and Resilience for Care and Learning Equity (CIRCLE) Grant program will provide nearly $23 million in grants to child care providers and other community, education, or governmental partners to pursue innovative solutions to challenges worsened by the pandemic. Grants will support projects to make child care more affordable; fill gaps in infant and toddler care; strengthen providers’ financial stability; boost workforce preparation; and contribute to the health and learning of all children, including those with special needs and dual-language learners.

In partnership with the Colorado Department of Human Services – Office of Early Childhood, Early Milestones is the lead agency for this initiative. We will support grantees as they implement innovative solutions to child care challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, emphasizing diversity, equity, and inclusion activities that strengthen partnerships and eliminate barriers. We will also develop local-to-state feedback loops to reduce system-level barriers and partner with grantees to gather data on the impact and outcomes of the initiative.

Community Innovation and Resilience for Care and Learning Equity (CIRCLE) Grants

Nearly 200 organizations across 52 counties – including 106 early care and education providers, 19 early childhood councils, and 63 statewide and local nonprofit organizations – have been awarded $21.5 million in one-year CIRCLE grants (7/1/22-6/30/23) for projects to advance innovation, promote equity, and address tough childcare challenges that have been worsened by the pandemic, including:

  • Pilot innovative approaches to make childcare more affordable
  • Plan for and address gaps in infant and toddler care
  • Boost the ECE workforce by supporting new training, recruitment, and retention efforts
  • Strengthen ECE providers’ business practices by expanding support systems and technical assistance
  • Promote children’s health, social-emotional development, and learning, especially children with special needs and dual language learners, through expanded training and specialized support

Organization Breakdown:

    • 206 grants to 199 unique grantees:
    • 108 grants to ECE providers (106 grantees including 12 school districts)
    • 63 grants to state and local not-for-profits organizations (61 grantees)
    • 4 grants to local governmental entities
    • 20 grants to local early childhood councils (19 grantees)
    • 10 grants to institutions of higher education (8 grantees)

Project Geographic Focus Breakdown:

    • Rural & Frontier: 57 projects (28%)
    • Non-Denver Urban: 31 projects (15%)
    • Denver Metro: 86 projects (42%)
    • Statewide: 32 projects (15%)

About the Funding Opportunity

The CIRCLE Grant program is seeking applicants with innovative ideas to address issues like child care affordability, availability, workforce and other vital issues. All licensed child care providers – including family child care homes, child care centers, and school-based child care programs; CCCAP qualified-exempt providers are invited to apply. The emphasis is on innovative, equity-focused, practice- or systems-building efforts that address early childhood challenges and inform broader change.

CIRCLE Grantees will:

  • Implement innovative projects to address persistent child care challenges while advancing equity for young children, families and the providers who serve them
  • Learn how to collect and use data on the project to analyze performance and adjust for greater effectiveness
  • Receive support and participate in cross-learning communities through technical assistance and evaluation efforts
  • Engage with the Early Milestones team in various ways to share progress, successes, opportunities, and barriers to inform change at the broader state and system level.

We are pleased to announce one more opportunity for licensed early care and education (ECE) providers to apply for the Community Innovation and Resilience for Care and Learning Equity (CIRCLE) Grant program in August 2022. Only licensed ECE providers are eligible to apply. Applications are open now! Please click here for the application and click here for our Frequently Asked Questions. Here is what you need to know: 

  • There is approximately $1 million in grants available. We anticipate making 15-25 awards.  
  •  Only licensed ECE providers who have not previously received a CIRCLE grant are eligible to apply. We strongly encourage family child care home and ECE providers serving rural/frontier counties to apply.  
  • Proposals can request $25,000 to $150,000 and must be related to one of these areas: 
    • Increasing staff retention without a wage/bonus element: supporting reflective supervision, substitute time for teachers to pursue professional development, etc. 
    • Family Child Care Home Coordination & Support: Coaching and training by seasoned family child care home providers to new or potential family child care home providers, mentorship programs for family child care home providers, etc. 
    • Expanding Developmental screenings: training on how to administer developmental screenings in a child care program, purchase of related materials, etc. 
    • Bridge supports for Families in accessing CCAP: temporary scholarship support to families who have applied for and are awaiting CCAP approval, temporary scholarships with case management supports to assist eligible families in getting CCAP, etc.  
    • Specialized Program Supports: contracting specialist support and related training/consultation to improve classroom practices to support children, including early childhood mental health, dual language learners, children with special learning needs, etc. 
    • Expansion of infant/toddler care in preparation for the launch of Universal PreKindergarten in fall 2023: acquiring infant/toddler specific training to expand the number of staff eligible to serve younger children etc. (Please note that requests for capital/facilities improvements and/or general operating requests to hire new staff to serve more children will not be funded through CIRCLE.)  


  • The Application will open August 1, 2022 and close on 5:00 p.m. August 26, 2022. 
  • Awardees will be notified by September 22, 2022. 
  • The grant period will be October 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. 

You may sign up for office hours to talk with a member of Early Milestones Staff about this opportunity at this link. Check out the Frequently Asked Questions page lfor more information.  

Thank you for your interest in CIRCLE!


Nos complace anunciar que habrá una oportunidad más para que los proveedores con licencia de cuidado y educación de la primera infancia soliciten el programa de subvenciones Innovación y Resiliencia Comunitaria para la Equidad del Cuidado y Aprendizaje (CIRCLE, por sus siglas en inglés) en agosto del 2022. Solo los proveedores con licencia de la primera infancia son elegibles para solicitar. ¡Ya se están aceptando solicitudes! Haga clic aquí para ver la aplicación y haga clic aquí para ver nuestras Preguntas frecuentes. Aquí está lo que necesita saber: 

  • Hay aproximadamente $1 millón en subvenciones disponibles. Anticipamos hacer 15-25 premios. 
  • Solo los proveedores con licencia de la primera infancia que no hayan recibido previamente una subvención CIRCLE son elegibles para presentar una solicitud. Alentamos encarecidamente a los proveedores de hogares familiares de cuidado infantil y proveedores de cuidado infantil que prestan servicios en condados rurales/fronterizos a presentar su solicitud. 
  • Las propuestas pueden solicitar de $25,000 a $150,000 y deben estar relacionadas con una de estas áreas: 
    • Aumentar la retención del personal sin un elemento de salario/bonificación: apoyar la supervisión reflexiva, contratar maestros sustitutos para que los maestros participen en desarrollo profesional, etc. 
    • Coordinación y apoyo de hogares familiares de cuidado infantil: orientación y capacitación por parte de proveedores de hogares familiares de cuidado infantil experimentados para proveedores de hogares familiares de cuidado infantil nuevos o potenciales, programas de tutoría para proveedores de hogares familiares de cuidado infantil, etc. 
    • Expansión de las evaluaciones del desarrollo: capacitación sobre cómo administrar las evaluaciones del desarrollo en un programa de cuidado infantil, compra de materiales relacionados, etc. 
    • Puente de apoyo para familias para acceder a CCAP: apoyo de becas temporales para familias que han solicitado y están esperando la aprobación de CCAP, becas temporales con apoyo de administración de casos para ayudar a las familias elegibles a obtener CCAP, etc. 
    • Apoyo especializado para el programa: contratación de apoyo de especialistas y capacitación/consultas relacionadas para mejorar las prácticas en el aula para apoyar a los niños, incluyendo la salud mental de la primera infancia, los niños que aprenden en dos idiomas, los niños con necesidades especiales de aprendizaje, etc. 
    • Expansión del cuidado de bebés/niños pequeños en preparación para el lanzamiento de Prekínder Universal en el otoño de 2023: adquirir capacitación específica para el cuidado de bebés/niños pequeños para ampliar la cantidad de personal elegible para atender a niños más pequeños, etc. (Tenga en cuenta que las solicitudes de mejoras de capital/instalaciones y/o las solicitudes para operativas generales para contratar personal nuevo para atender a más niños no se financiarán a través de CIRCLE). 

Fechas Importantes: 

  • La aplicación abrirá el 1 de agosto del 2022 y cerrará a las 5:00 p.m. el 26 de agosto del 2022. 
  • Los premiados serán notificados el 22 de septiembre del 2022. 
  • El período de concesión será del 1 de octubre del 2022 al 30 de junio del 2023. 

Puede inscribirse para un horario de oficina para hablar con un miembro del personal de Early Milestones sobre esta oportunidad usando este enlace. Consulte la página de Preguntas frecuentes para obtener más información. 

¡Gracias por su interés en las subvenciones CIRCLE! 

Applying for a CIRCLE Grant

Full List of CIRCLE Grantees

Click here to view the 206 CIRCLE grants awarded so far!

Ready to Apply?

Have Questions?

Refer to our frequently asked questions page to learn more about the final round of CIRCLE Grant applications.

Consulte nuestra página de preguntas frecuentes para obtener más información sobre la ronda final de solicitudes de subvenciones CIRCLE.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive updates and information about CIRCLE Grants


This initiative is funded as part of over $275 million from the federal American Rescue Plan and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act. Governor Jared Polis and the Colorado General Assembly created the CIRCLE Grant program in 2021, and the Office of Early Childhood selected Early Milestones to distribute the grants to child care providers and other community, education, or governmental partners

  • Colorado Office of Early Childhood