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.

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;  or community, education or governmental organizations with innovative ideas – 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

Grant Awards: We encourage proposals for grants of all sizes. Grants may range from $10,000 to $750,000 and will be for one year. Proposals for grants of various amounts within the funding range are encouraged. The request for proposals was released March 15 for a grant period of June 15, 2022, through June 30, 2023. A second round of grant proposals will be accepted in May 2022.

Grant Period: June 15, 2022, through June 30, 2023

Key Dates:

  • No later than May 6, 2022 – Round 1 awards announced
  • May 12, 2022Intention to Apply Round 2 due date
  • May 23, 2022 (5:00 p.m.) – Round 2 proposal due date
  • No later than June 8, 2022 – Round 2 awards announced
  • June 15, 2022 – Awarded projects start date

Applying for a CIRCLE Grant

Planning to Apply?

Let us know you’re interested by submitting an Intent to Apply form by May 12. This form also allows you to request assistance in the application process.

Ready to Apply?

Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on May 23. Submit your application today.

If you are a child care provider requesting $25,000 or less, click here to submit a streamlined application. This application is also available in Spanish.

Have Questions?

Have questions about CIRCLE Grants eligibility, application support, or other topics? Check out our frequently asked questionsfrequently asked questions – Spanish Version Subvenciones de CIRCLE – Preguntas frecuentes 

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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