Child Care Capacity Grants

This application is temporarily closed

West Central Initiative believes that a vibrant and sustainable world for all begins in west central Minnesota.

The Child Care Education Capacity Grant Program is a blend of West Central Initiative’s Early Childhood Initiative and economic work.  The objective of the Child Care and Education Capacity Grant program is to retain and expand Rule 3 center and Rule 2, non-residential, multiple-provider pod model child care. 


Applicants must be non-discriminatory, equal opportunity employers and service providers.

  • The care setting must meet the needs of working parents and the community in which it is located.
  • Child care education centers and the multiple-provider pod model must provide full-day, year-round care and education.
  • The child care and education facility must be owned and run by a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization or by a unit of government.  Some special considerations may be made for a for-profit center, but please contact West Central Initiative staff first.
  • Applicants must follow licensing guidelines to be eligible for funding. Centers must be licensed by the state of Minnesota as a Rule 3 child care and education center or licensed through the county as a non-residential, Rule 2, multiple-provider pod model.  Rule 2, individual, family-based care and educators are not eligible for this program.
  • For a non-residential, Rule 2 multiple-provider pod model, the Child Care and Education Capacity Grant must be applied for by the overseeing organization for “common areas” and preparation of the care space, prior to occupation.
  • WCI will not provide child care and education capacity grants to organizations that incorporate religious education into their child care and education services.
  • The child care education facility must be Parent Aware rated or provide documentation that they are pursuing the Parent Aware rating.
  • The child care and education facility must accept Child Care Assistance Program and/or Early Learning Scholarships.
  • WCI grants may not be used to fund existing operating deficits or to reduce existing operating debt.
  • Funds may generally be used as needed in a project for equipment, facilities or cash flow during a “fill-up” period after opening.  If funds are used to renovate leased facilities, a five-year lease is required.
  • Rule 3 child care education center directors are invited to participate in the West Central MN Director’s Association.  This is a good resource for Rule 3 Centers. 


Maximum grant awards are:

  • $37,500 for full-day, year-round Rule 3 Centers.
  • $25,000 for full-day, year-round non-residential, Rule 2 multiple-provider pod model.
  • $10,000 for a before/after-school and summer care center

WCI grants must be matched by cash on a dollar-for-dollar basis.  Donated materials or services needed to meet licensing standards can be counted as match (plumbing services, playground equipment, etc.). • West Central Initiative requires applicants to work with First Children’s Finance to provide a valid, thorough business plan, financial projections or other evidence that their venture is likely to cash flow upon completion.  If you already have a business plan, we ask you to review it with First Children’s Finance. 


Applications are accepted and reviewed on an on-going basis. Complete and thorough requests will usually be processed within six weeks.  Requests should be made with enough lead time for WCI to make a final decision concerning funding before any costs are incurred.  WCI staff generally visit applicants to discuss the proposal prior to WCI’s funding decision.


Download and complete the application on our Applications Page and provide the requested narrative. 

Please call us at 1-218-739-2239 with any question about this application.

Send your complete application and business plan to: 
West Central Initiative, PO Box 318, Fergus Falls, 56538-0318