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Come Back Stronger Fund awards $13.1 million to Indiana early care and learning providers 

Remaining funds are prioritized for critical service gaps and communities with the greatest need.


Media ContactJennifer Erbacher, 812-483-5124,   


Early Learning Indiana today announced the latest grant recipients of the Come Back Stronger Fund that has awarded more than $13.1 million to 1,025 Indiana early childhood education providers. With support from Lilly Endowment Inc.Come Back Stronger Fund grants are reinforcing Indiana’s high-quality early learning programs, especially for the state’s most vulnerable children, by providing financial support for added pandemic-related-safety needsThrough these awarded providers, over 45,300 Hoosier children will continue having high-quality child care experiences. 


The pandemic has proven what we’ve long known to be true – that as parents, early care and learning programs are critical to our family’s wellbeing and our ability to work and move forward as a society,” said Early Learning Indiana President and CEO Maureen Weber. In the best of times, early learning providers operate on razor-thin margins, and COVID-19 has put them in a precarious position with added expenses and lost revenue. These grants are creating ripple effects across our state, from the early care and learning programs receiving them, to the children, families and businesses they serve.” 


Come Back Stronger Fund grants ranged from $2,000-$40,000 based on providers’ total enrollment and the percentage of children they serve from vulnerable family populations, defined as households at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty LevelAwarded providers serve children ages 0-5 and have achieved Paths to QUALITY™ Level 2, 3 or 4 on Indiana’s quality rating system. View a map of all awarded providers here. 


In their grant applications, providers outlined their plans for grant funds, citing opportunities like hiring additional teachers and staff to create smaller group sizes or do daily health screenings; supporting social distancing and safety in classrooms by purchasing and installing hand sanitizer stationsroom dividers and additional washers and dryers for increased laundry needs; offering mental health and coaching services to staff members who struggle with the increased demands of their work; and building out new classrooms to increase the capacity of early learning opportunities in the community. 


Early Learning Indiana has prioritized the fund’s remaining $1.8 million to address critical service gaps and support the communities across Indiana with the greatest need.   


Media Resources




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 nine high-quality Day Early Learning centers, a network of premier community-based lab 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. Moreinformation is available at

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

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