Those BIG Little Years

Those BIG Little Years

A child’s brain is hardest at work during the first three years of life, busy creating the foundation for all future learning capacity, social emotional development, and mental and physical health. The experiences of these early years affect not only school achievement, but also lifelong health.   

To maximize this unique period of growth, infants and toddlers need nurturing connections that reinforce their well-being and strengthen their development — at home, in child care and in other community settings.  

Early Learning Indiana, with generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc., has launched the Early Years Initiative, a competitive grant opportunity for organizations to help infants and toddlers develop foundational knowledge and skills that support their future learning and development.  Eligible organizations throughout Indiana are invited to propose new, enhanced or expanded programs or projects that influence healthy brain development and the development of physical, social-emotional and cognitive skills in infants and toddlers (children from birth through age three).

Grant Details

Early Years Initiative proposals must be designed to strengthen foundational learning and development, but can be as varied as the needs of the young children they are intended to serve.  Proposed programs or projects may include, among others, strengthening families through home visiting and parent education programs, ensuring access to supportive child care, supporting early detection of developmental needs or disabilities and implementation of responsive interventions, and promoting essential skills through early language strategies.  Applicants proposing programs or projects that serve a significant number of infants and toddlers who live in low-income households, are members of communities of color, or are multi-language learners will be viewed more favorably. 

Grants will span up to three years with awards ranging from $75,000 to $500,000.

Grants will focus on new, enhanced or expanded programs and projects.

Favor will be given to proposals that meet needs of focus populations.

Lead applicants must be nonprofits proposing to serve infants and toddlers in Indiana.

Grant Timeline

March 8
RFP Opens
March 13
Early Years Initiative Introductory Informational Webinar
April 4-June 15
Data Dashboard Webinar & Office Hours
April 11
Model Programs Webinar
June 15
RFP Closes
August 31
Grantees Announced 

We only have a few short years to set our youngest Hoosiers on a path to thrive in life, and we’re committed to ensuring they have opportunities for the best possible start. This unprecedented initiative will accelerate the scaling of proven programs and bring innovative practices to Indiana — developing stronger and more resilient children who are ready to learn.