The Come Back Stronger Fund is closed.

Congratulations to our grantees! See who is coming back stronger across Indiana here.

SUPPORTED BY LILLY ENDOWMENT INC.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are far-reaching and long-lasting. Indiana’s early care and learning providers serve one of the most important roles – safely providing critical early learning and care while allowing parents to work. Providers have done their best to weather the storm, yet added expenses and reduced enrollment continue to threaten their long-term sustainability.

Early Learning Indiana is proud to announce a second round of Come Back Stronger Fund grants to help sustain Indiana’s supply of high-quality early care and learning opportunities. The new $12 million effort is made possible through the combination of a new $10.4 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. and funds remaining from the first round of grants.

With the support of Lilly Endowment Inc., the Come Back Stronger Fund awarded over $13.1 million to 1,025 Indiana early childhood education providers from May-August 2020. More than 45,300 Hoosier children have continued to have access to safe, high-quality child care experiences amid the pandemic thanks in part to these grants. Early Learning Indiana expects to have made a total of $25 million in grants to Indiana’s early care and learning providers when the second round of the Come Back Stronger Fund comes to a close.

The support of the Come Back Stronger Fund provides us with the resources that helped to strengthen program offerings; expand our reach to more students; propel the program towards the highest quality, all while preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Alexandra Hall, Academy for Young Achievers, LLC

RESOURCES FOR GRANTEES

Grant Details

In the second round of funding, grant amounts will range from $1,800-$27,000 per site with an additional sum* available to providers with 25% or more of their enrolled children receiving federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) or On My Way Pre-K assistance from the state of Indiana.

Eligible to receive

$ 0

*$900

Eligible to receive

$ 0

*$4,500

Eligible to receive

$ 0

*$6,750

Eligible to receive

$ 0

*$9,000

Award Process

Interested and eligible providers should complete the second round application found                        .

Early Learning Indiana will process applications on a rolling-basis. Providers who did not apply for or receive a grant in the first round will be eligible to apply beginning Feb. 15, 2021.

Approved Uses of Funding

Come Back Stronger Fund grants will help offset new expenses incurred by providers to safely operate and continue delivering high-quality early learning experiences. Eligible organizations may request support across the categories below. Click here to view the detailed Allowable Expenses document.

Replenishing previously existing supplies or offsetting new expenses (including personal protective equipment, individual learning supplies, meal preparation and packaging, cleaning supplies, etc.) that are required to adhere to social distancing and safely serve children and families.

Investing in short-term environmental improvements to allow providers to safely care for children amid regulatory capacity limits and social distancing requirements (e.g. ventilation equipment, temporary space rentals, physical barriers, etc.)

Pay substitute teachers or transitional staff costs related to accommodating limited group sizes and supporting COVID-related recruitment and retention expenses.

Investing in reopening planning efforts, support for family communications highlighting safety practices, mental health supports, or related professional services.

Expand programs to serve more children within existing and new locations in response to a depletion in community supply. This could include expanding operating hours, opening new seats, expanding to new sites or building networks that support other providers.

Design and implement developmentally appropriate activities to compensate for children’s time spent outside of stimulating, educational environments as a result of the pandemic.

Coming Back Stronger Across Indiana

Awarded providers across all rounds are listed on the map below. Click on a county to filter the awards list. (Ctrl/Cmd +Click to select multiple).

Special thanks to the following organizations serving as part of the Come Back Stronger Advisory Committee:

Frequently Asked Questions

General

The Come Back Stronger Fund is a $25 million fund created in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic through the generosity of Lilly Endowment Inc. It is designed to reinforce Indiana’s supply of high-quality early learning opportunities and support providers with added safety-related expenses and COVID-19 challenges.

In the second round of funding, programs are eligible to receive up to $36,000 per site, based on enrollment numbers. Providers with fewer than 20 children qualify for a grant of $1,800; providers caring for 20-50 children can receive $9,000; providers caring for 51-100 children are eligible to receive $18,000; and providers caring for more than 100 children can receive $27,000. All providers whose total child population consists of 25% or more CCDF or On My Way Pre-K enrollments can receive an additional $900, $4,500, $6,750 or $9,000 based on their enrollment numbers, respectively.

The Come Back Stronger Fund Advisory committee includes local, state and national early childhood education leaders. Members on the Advisory Committee are listed on the Come Back Stronger Fund website.

 

Sí, comuníquese con stronger@earlylearningindiana.org con cualquier pregunta e indique que prefiere una respuesta en español.

 

No. You do not need to pay back grant funds. However, awarded programs must comply with the requirements of the grant agreement, including providing financial documentation for expenditures.

 

Please email stronger@earlylearningindiana.org with any questions.

Yes, Early Learning Indiana invites other organizations and individuals to contribute to the fund to help make a bigger impact and award more grants to more programs. If interested in contributing, please contact Emily Nelson at emilyn@earlylearningindiana.org.

No. Organizations may only use funds for allowable expenses in the six support categories.

Application

Interested and eligible providers should apply online. Click here to apply.

Early Learning Indiana will process applications on a rolling-basis. Eligible providers who did not apply for or receive a grant in the first round should apply now.

No. You may only count the children enrolled in your program, ages 0-5. Additionally, if you serve 5-year-olds who attend kindergarten and come to your program before or after school, they also do not count in your enrollment.

Please submit one application for each site.

Yes, Early Learning Indiana will host several upcoming opportunities to support providers. View the “Resources for Grantees” section above. Please send additional requests for technical assistance to stronger@earlylearningindiana.org.

Child care programs require special consideration when it comes to cleaning. For a list of products the EPA has found to be effective against COVID-19, please visit this link. You can also share with your cleaning service OECOSL’s guidance listed here under “Maintain Healthy Operations”.

Eligibility

Providers who did not apply for or receive a grant in the first round will be eligible to apply beginning Feb. 15, 2021.

The focus of this Fund is organizations that have already achieved or are close to achieving high-quality, assuming that if we can help these providers sustain their operations, they will be well-situated to serve families immediately and to help other organizations on the path to improvement. While not the purpose of this Fund, we will continue to invest in other efforts to help organizations pursue quality improvement.

Programs will demonstrate their commitment to advancing beyond Level 2 by uploading their Program Development Plan in their application. The Advisory Committee will also review your organization’s response to the Indiana Self-Assessment Tool (I-SAT) and verify completion of related prerequisite training(s).

Yes. Sites must be Paths to QUALITY Level 2, 3 or 4 at the time of the application.

Programs must be Paths to QUALITY Level 2, 3 or 4 at the time of the application.

Yes, you are eligible to apply if your site meets all other criteria.

Maybe. To be eligible, a program must be either an approved CCDF or On My Way Pre-K provider, or a provider that serves children from households at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Please justify in your grant application why you’re in need of the grant funding to serve vulnerable populations.

No. To be eligible, a program must be either an approved CCDF or On My Way Pre-K provider, or a provider that serves children from vulnerable family populations, defined as households at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Please justify how you serve vulnerable family populations in your application.

No. You may count any child enrolled in your program AND between the ages of 0 and 5. Any child older than 5 does not count in your enrollment total. For example, if your center only serves 3-5-year-olds, you’re eligible to apply under the age criteria and will count those children. Additionally, if you serve 5-year-olds who attend kindergarten and come to your program before or after school, they also do not count in your enrollment.

Yes. Programs that have received state grants or other emergency public funding during the COVID-19 pandemic are still eligible to apply. Come Back Stronger Fund grants are designed to work alongside state assistance grants and other emergency public funding by helping to offset new expenses incurred by providers to safely operate and continue delivering early learning experiences in the wake of the pandemic.

Find data on low capacity areas in the 2018 Indiana Child Care Access Study.

Yes. The Indianapolis PSP could be noted as an example of serving children from households at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. However, you cannot count these children towards CCDF or OMWPK enrollments.

To save a Microsoft Office document (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) as a PDF, click Save As. Under File Format, select PDF. To save a page from a web browser as a PDF, select File, then Print and then Save as PDF. Some web browsers provide an “Export as PDF” option under File. If using a photo on your phone, it should already be a JPEG or PNG format. If the photo is not uploading, make sure to turn off your “live photo” setting, retake the photo and try to submit it again.

Please reach out to your local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency for more information on capacity in your community. Find your agency and contact information here.

Timing

If awarded a Come Back Stronger Fund grant in the second round, grantees must use all funds from both rounds by Oct. 31, 2021. If awarded a Come Back Stronger Fund grant in the first round only, grantees must use all funds by March 31, 2021. Awarded programs must complete grant reporting requirements.

The review committee will process applications on a rolling basis until all funds are allocated, awarding grants in 2-week windows. You will be notified via email of your application status.

Awarded providers in round two of funding will receive funding approximately 30 days after submitting required paperwork.

If you did not receive a confirmation email within an hour of submitting your application, please check all junk and spam folders, then email stronger@earlylearningindiana.org.

The grant is intended to support costs for which there are no other funds available, including expenses associated with operating safely in response to COVID-19.

REPORTING

To claim staffing time as a grant expense, you will need to upload a staffing report or pay stub showing individual hours and pay rates for hours. All staffing hours paid using Come Back Stronger Fund grants must be related to COVID-19 staffing model adjustments.

There will be two reports throughout the grant period – a shorter mid-term progress report and a comprehensive final grant report.