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Early Learning Indiana Awards $1.6M to 17 organizations to address local child care access gaps

Grants will help communities increase child care access, choice and affordability

INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 30, 2021) — After releasing its August 2021 “Closing the Gap: An Assessment of Indiana’s Early Learning Opportunities” report, Early Learning Indiana announced today the 17 organizations receiving Closing the Gap grants to address local child care access issues in their communities, increase capacity and quality, and ensure affordability and choice for families. The funding is made possible through a 2019 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support Early Learning Indiana’s statewide work to improve access to high-quality early learning programs in Indiana.

“The challenge is great, but the opportunity to build a system of more equitable access for Hoosier children is even greater,” said Maureen Weber, president and CEO of Early Learning Indiana. “Our Closing the Gap grant recipients have put together collaborative solutions to solve some of the greatest barriers to access to high-quality early learning in their communities, and we are proud to help kick start their work.”

The 17 grant recipients represent 18 unique counties in Indiana. In total, their proposals will create 926 new child care seats for 269 infants and toddlers and 657 preschool and pre-K children. These recipients have proposed strategies to address a variety of community-level access issues, including providing high-quality early learning services to families experiencing homelessness, offering care options that prioritize extended hours to accommodate parents who work late shifts, and building an intergenerational model connecting early learners to seniors.

Grant recipients include:

  • Adams County Economic Development Corporation – Adams Co.
  • Mental Health America of Boone County — Boone Co.
  • Lewis Cass Schools (Lewis Cass Early Learning Academy) — Cass Co.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Harrison-Crawford Counties — Crawford Co.
  • Greene County Foundation — Greene Co.
  • TOTally Kids Childcare at St. Mark’s — Hendricks Co.
  • Henry County Child Care Network — Henry Co.
  • Bona Vista Programs — Howard Co.
  • Appleseed Childhood Education, Inc. — Jasper Co.
  • LaunchPad Child Care and Early Learning Coalition — Kosciusko Co.
  • Wee Care Early Learning Ministry — Marion Co.
  • Monroe County United Ministries — Monroe Co.
  • First5 of the Rush County Community Foundation — Rush Co.
  • Scott County School District 2 — Scott Co.
  • ABC & ME — Tipton Co.
  • Union County College Corner Joint School District — Union Co.
  • United Way of the Wabash Valley, Inc. — Vigo Co.

Early Learning Indiana’s Closing the Gap report centered around the Early Learning Access Index, which helped qualify and quantify child care access throughout the state, assessing the additional factors of quality, affordability and choice as well.

Notable findings of the report include:

  • The statewide Early Learning Access Index is 60.6 out of 100, equaling moderate access to early learning and care statewide​.
  • In more than two-thirds of Indiana counties, existing child care capacity can serve fewer than half the children ages 0-5 who need care.
  • 14 counties have no high-quality infant/toddler care.

View a PDF of awardees, their locations and project descriptions here.


About Early Learning Indiana
Early Learning Indiana is Indiana’s oldest and largest early childhood education nonprofit, providing leadership, advocacy and early childhood education services to continually improve the early learning landscape in Indiana. Today, Early Learning Indiana operates 10 high-quality Day Early Learning centers, a network of premier community-based schools used to advance the science of early learning, train the next generation of teachers and leaders, and instill essential skills in the children we serve. Through regional and statewide programs, the organization enables early learning providers to build capacity, transform operations and improve learning outcomes. Learn more at

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