Funding & Grants

IDHS Grant Technical Assistance Tools

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has launched a new tool to help organizations across Illinois successfully comply with the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA).

The IDHS Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) Technical Assistance (TA) Learning Management System (LMS) was developed to provide technical assistance and navigation of the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act and the grant application process.

The system is available for self-paced, online learning, with an instructor in a physical classroom or in a virtual classroom online. It includes six modules and the estimated time to complete all modules is approximately 24 hours.

The weblink for self-paced, online learning is available at no cost on the IDHS website under the "Providers" tab, in the "Provider Information" section.

Coronavirus Resources for Child Care Providers

During this time as the nation continues to face challenges related to COVID-19, the Committee for Economic Development (CED) has compiled a clearinghouse of resources in an effort to help child care providers (child care homes and centers) access federal sources for support. Resources will be added to the Coronavirus Resources for Child Care Providers webpage as they become available.

The following documents may be of particular interest given the recently passed FY2021 Consolidated Appropriations & COVID Relief Act (P.L. 116-260):

Early Childhood Funding Commission Town Hall Meetings

Governor Pritzker’s Early Childhood Funding Commission—an appointed group of child care and early education leaders charged with making recommendations that will result in big, meaningful changes that will give parents better child care and early education options hosted two town hall meetings.

The Commission hosted a series of community Town Hall meetings on their draft recommendations. Click on the links below to view the recordings of the Town Hall meetings.

During the town hall meetings, participants had the opportunity to connect directly with members of the Commission to ask questions about their emerging recommendations, that are to:

  • Make it easier to manage and communicate about the quality and availability of child care options by pulling all the programs into one new structure;
  • Make it easier to get public funding for child care to local child care providers; and
  • Urge the state to invest billions more in early childhood so that more providers can provide excellent care to all families who want it, in all parts of the State.

IL GOECD Supporting Gateways to Opportunity Credential Fee Waivers 

Since June of 2020, over 3,000 individuals have taken advantage of this credential fee waiver opportunity, and you can, too! Please share this information with your colleagues, child care programs, family child care providers, and family workers, as there is still time to apply! Next steps: Apply directly online in your Registry (or email your application if you prefer) and send official transcripts to INCCRRA if they are not already on file.

That's it! Two simple steps to apply for your Gateways to Opportunity ECE, Infant Toddler, Illinois Director, Family Specialist, Technical Assistance, or Family Child Care Credential. Apply today! 

Second Round Applications for Child Care Restoration Grants (CCRG)

Second Round Funding Applications for the Child Care Restoration Grants (CCRG) were made available in the afternoon of October 1, 2020 and will close on October 15, 2020. Second round grant funding is limited, and applications will be processed in the order they are received. If a program was found eligible in round one, there is no need to apply again, as you are automatically eligible for the second round. Click here to apply and for the most up-to-date resources about this grant opportunity.

Opportunity for Home Visiting Collaboratives to Implement IRIS

As a part of the Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) Renewal
grant, the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) seeks to
implement the Integrated Referral and Intake System (IRIS) in up to five established
home visiting collaboratives, including those in rural communities that are practicing
some form of coordinated intake processes and are in need of adequate support and
technology to fully develop into coordinated intake communities.

While direct funding is not provided through this pilot, each pilot collaborative will receive access to IRIS and technical assistance support. Click here for more information on the pilot project and here for the application template. Please send any questions or concerns to Deborah Hwang at


Neighborhood Opportunity Fund

The City of Chicago's Neighborhood Opportunity Fund will open for grant applications from entrepreneurs and nonprofit groups on the South, West and Southwest sides September 14, with more than $5 million in funding available. A map of eligible areas can be found on the program's website here.

IRS Home Office Deduction 

As many small business have transitioned to working from home, they might be eligible to claim some of their expenses, including rent, mortgage payments, insurance, utilities and more. To see if you qualify, visit for more information. 

Funding Opportunity & Supports for Early Head Start Expansion

Opportunities to Support the Growth of High-Quality Infant/Toddler Care and Education Through Early Head Start Expansion

As many of you are aware, there is a current federal Funding Opportunity Announcement available to expand Early Head Start Services. A number of organizations are interested in supporting applicants with technical assistance, resources, and interactive webinars, and we want to make sure everyone is aware of these opportunities. 

First, the Illinois Head Start Association is sponsoring two events:

Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Grant Writing Support with the overall goal of supporting you and your agency with submitting a competitive Early Head Start Expansion Grant or Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Grant. 

  • September 3rd, 11:00 - 12:30 pm: Understanding the Ins and Outs of Writing the Early Head Start Expansion or Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership Funding Opportunity Application. Register here.

Writing an Office of Head Start grant application is different and challenging. The many different specifications require special knowledge and an understanding of expectations. The primary goal of this training is to share the “secret sauce” for writing a competitive application. The presenter will walk through the Funding Opportunity Application (FOA) and share best practices on writing these FOA's. Discussion on the following key components will be provided: Overview of Program Models, Community Needs and Objectives, Project Design and Approach, Staffing, Planning and Implementation, Organizational Infrastructure and Management Systems, Start-Up and Implementation Period for All Grantees, 12-month budget request, Budget Narrative.

Meet Your Presenter: Kathleen Liffick, Consultant, Retired Head Start/Early Head Start Director. Kathleen brings exceptional knowledge and expertise to writing Head Start/Early Head Start funding applications. Her years of experience as a Head Start/Early Head Start director support the internal knowledge and perspective needed to write a competitive grant application. Since retirement, Kathleen has provided individualized technical assistance in a variety of areas including grant writing.

  • September 10th, from 11:00 – 12:30 pm, Direct Support/Office Hours: An informal opportunity to "jump on" and ask questions. We know from experience that when you are in the middle of writing a grant application many thoughts or questions bubble up. Use this time to ask about things you might be wondering about or if you are stuck in a certain area. The panel will provide individualized assistance and support your efforts. Each of the panelists providing support has written and been awarded an Early Head Start grant. Don’t miss this opportunity to receive individualized support. Register here.

Support provided by:

Kathleen Liffick, Consultant

Donna Emmons, Associate Head Start Collaboration Director

Lauri Morrison-Frichtl, Executive Director, IL Head Start Association

The grant application is due on September 21st. We encourage you to not wait but to begin writing this application as soon as possible. Follow this link and download the grant application - Early Head Start Expansion/Early Head Start - Child Care Partnerships. Plus, explore the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center for more information and loads of resources. For questions or more information about these events, please contact Lauri Morrison-Frichtl, Executive Director, Illinois Head Start Association at

Additionally, Home Grown and its partners, including the Ounce of Prevention Fund, are offering free peer-to-peer learning sessions for organizations interested in applying for EHS-CCP grants specifically to support family child care providers.

  • On Wednesday, September 2nd from 2:00-3:00 pm ET, the peer-to-peer session will feature panelists from Opportunities Exchange and Early Learning Ventures to help applicants think through plans for addressing management systems requirements in the EHS-CCP application, including collecting, analyzing, and reporting data on child and family outcomes, finances, professional development, etc.
  • On Thursday, September 10th from 2:00-3:00 pm ET, the session will address participant questions about developing EHS-CCP program budgets and meeting the program implementation and timeline requirements.

Check Upcoming Events on Home Grown’s website for registration information. Access many useful Round 4 EHS-CCP application tools and resources here

Finally, in our ongoing efforts to build a system of high-quality programs and service options for families in Illinois, the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) is attempting to develop a snapshot of who is applying for this opportunity, through what models, and in which areas of the state in order to provide support to those applicants and to potentially identify and implement policies to help those programs be successful in the application process as well as in implementation. If you are applying for this opportunity please send an email to our consultant, Karen Yarbrough (, including the number of slots you are applying for, the model you are applying for, and your proposed service area. We appreciate you sharing this information in the interest of building state capacity to serve our youngest children.

Call for Applications: 2020 Lena Start Launch Funds

LENA is a national nonprofit on a mission to help communities accelerate language development in children birth to age three in order to improve their cognitive, social, and emotional health and to close opportunity gaps. Due to COVID-19, communities across the country are looking for new ways to ensure every child has enriching early language experiences. LENA’s launch grants for LENA Start provide funding for family engagement and early language development. These grants can help school districts, libraries, Head Starts, and early childhood education centers offer their families an evidence-based group model program that is helping to create stronger families and increase school readiness.

Click here for more information and to apply for funding. 

For Child Care Providers

FY21 CPR/FA Reimbursement Application - July 1, 2020 - June 1, 2021. Funds are available for providers to take CPR/FA and submit for reimbursement.

FY21 CPR/FA Reimbursement Application English Application | Spanish Application

For Child Care Providers

 The Child Care Restoration Grant Applications are now available! To apply, you will need to login to the Gateways Registry and enter your Director Portal. Access the application by clicking on the Child Care Restoration Grants Application box and then click on "Apply Now" to begin your application. For help navigating through the application, view the Steps to Apply. Additional instructions for how to gain Director Portal access can be found hereApplications will be available through August 14th, 2020.

For Child Care Providers

 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration of Children and Families (ACF), Office of Head Start (OHS) has released the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Grants. Click here for the application. Click here for the announcement. The closing date is September 21, 2020

Child Care Restoration Grant Applications

Child Care Restoration Grant Applications will be available the week of July 20-24, 2020. Visit the Child Care Restoration Grants web page for the most up-to-date information, including FAQs (last updated 7/15/20) and application resources, as well as Technical Assistance PowerPoint slides and links to webinar recordings.

ISBE Frequently Asked Questions for Early Childhood Block Grant Program Grantees

Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund (ICRF) – Final Round Guidelines and Webinars

For the final round of their funding, the ICRF is seeking applicants (a) primarily but not exclusively focused on serving Black and/or Latinx communities outside of Cook and the Collar Counties (DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will); and (b) led by (or in meaningful partnership with organizations led by) Black and/or Latinx individuals.

The ICRF has identified the following five potential focus areas for funding, though applicants are not restricted to these areas and are encouraged to submit proposals for other needs they identify:

· Employment and workforce development

· Connectivity and technology assistance

· Direct cash assistance and build social capital

· Increase access to government benefits

· Mental health and social determinants of health

The deadline to apply for funding is Friday, July 24, 2020, at 12 p.m.

The ICRF will be hosting informational webinars about the application process. The dates and times are:

· Friday, July 10, 9 - 10 a.m.

· Monday, July 13, 3 - 4 p.m.

· Wednesday, July 15, 3 – 4 p.m. To RSVP for a webinar click here - for more information about ICRF funding, please review their Application Overview and/or email any questions to

PPE Available at No Cost* for Child Care Providers in Illinois

IDHS, INCCRRA and the CCR&R System are providing limited cleaning and PPE supplies to child care providers across Illinois. *These supplies can be ordered at no cost; however, providers will need to pay shipping by credit/ debit card. You must be a child care provider providing care in Illinois or getting ready to reopen in phase 3 or 4 of Restore Illinois. This is available to licensed centers, license-exempt centers, licensed home/group homes and license-exempt homes. Child care programs that received a cleaning kit in June are not eligible to place an order until August. Visit the web store. Read the flyer.

Financial Supports and Other Funding Opportunities for Emergency Child Care Providers

We understand the numerous challenges you face during this time, both mentally and financially as you strive to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the children of essential workers. We encourage you to explore the opportunities below, and check back often for updates.

NEW! Child Care Restoration Grants (07/01/2020)

The Governor and the Illinois General Assembly have directed at least $270 million of the state's Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency (CURE) Fund to support the economic health of child care providers as our economy reopens in the coming months. As part of CURE, the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) Program is specifically designed to support businesses who endure lost revenue due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Visit the Child Care Restoration Grants web page for the most up-to-date information about the BIG Program, including Technical Assistance Webinars, application release dates, and answers to frequently asked questions.    

Child Care Restoration Grant Applications will be available the week of July 20 – 24, 2020.  

Technical Assistance Webinars will be held on Monday, July 20, 2020, in English and Spanish. Registration information will be shared soon.

Gov. Pritzker Announces $270 Million Grant Program for Child Care Providers: June 19 Survey Deadline
Take the “Intent to Apply” online survey

On June 10, 2020, Governor Pritzker announced a $270 million grant program for Illinois child care providers. The Child Care Restoration grant program will dedicate at least $270 million of the state's Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency (CURE) Fund to support the economic health of child care providers as the state's economy continues to reopen in the coming weeks and months. As part of CURE, the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) Program is specifically designed to support businesses who endure lost revenue due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

As part of this initiative, the state has created an "Intent to Apply" online survey. The information gathered will help to inform the development of the grants program to be released in July 2020 and providers will receive their first installments later this summer. The opportunity to respond to the survey will close on June 19, 2020 at 5 p.m. All interested child care providers are encouraged to complete the survey. 

Answers to Child Care Providers’ Questions about COVID-19 Relief Funding
- Access Here

The Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development GOECD hosted a webinar that gave an overview of the current federal and state supports available to providers, including for-profit and non-profit, child care and preschool, center- and home-based, licensed and license-exempt. (4.6.20)

Illinois Small Business Emergency Grants and Loans Assistance - DCEO and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) are establishing the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low interest loans of up to $50,000. Businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply.  Successful applicants will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at a below market interest rate for the remainder of a five-year loan term. Starting Friday, March 27th, interested businesses will be able to express interest with the following form.

Small Business Administration (SBA) - Small Business Guidance and Loan Health and government officials are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people. Small businesses are encouraged to do their part to keep their employees, customers, and themselves healthy.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) -  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued this guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for an emergency loan. This sample application shows what information will be needed to apply for emergency loans, and the application process can be reviewed on the U.S. Small Business Administration's website

No Kid Hungry Emergency Grant - This grant request is specifically for school districts and community organizations to submit an inquiry for grants to support nutrition programs in their communities.

FY21 Early Childhood Block Grant RFP - Deadline Extended until April 15, 2020 at 4 p.m.