Initiative Model Spotlights

Early Learning Indiana has engaged a diverse range of providers and advisors who offer proven and promising models serving the interests of infants and toddlers who are willing to share these models with potential applicants. Proposals may include one or more of these models or applicants may develop their own programs or projects based on the needs of infants and toddlers in their community.

Child Care Access and Effectiveness

Early Detection and Intervention

Early Language and Literacy

Parenting Preparation and Support

All Our Kin provides tailored supports to communities seeking to develop and launch staffed family child care networks providing resources and coaching to strengthen the viability, quality and sustainability of family child care. They also provide educational coaching and professional learning opportunities, as well as business development supports including trainings, coaching and a train-the-trainer option. The business development training series is available in English and Spanish. 

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Healthy Families America offers a relationship-based, culturally respectful and family-centered home visiting program that strengthens parent-child relationships, promotes healthy child development and enhances family well-being. Family support specialists use tools for family screenings and assessments in order to better tailor their home visits, resources and referrals to additional services. 

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Through use of “talk pedometer” technology, LENA’s programs help adults to measure a child’s language environment. Strength-based coaching designed specifically for parents – through LENA Start – and early childhood educators – through LENA Growempower participants to implement data-informed practices to increase conversational turns with young children. Programs can be used with dual language learners. 

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The National Black Child Development Institute's Family Empowerment Program was designed to guide and coach parents and caregivers through a strengths-based lens that honors the rich cultural and linguistic strengths of families of color. Throughout a twelve-week program, families are equipped with the knowledge, tools and skills needed to foster their children's learning and development while effectively advocating for them from birth. 

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Nurse Family Partnership supports first-time mothers from early pregnancy through the child’s second birthday. Nurses visit families around 60 times, building strong relationships and addressing needs through a holistic approach concerning multiple aspects of personal and family functioning —including personal and environmental health, parenting, life course development, relationships with family and friends and community connections. The program focuses on low-income households. 

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Parents as Teachers home visiting professionals supports parents and caregivers with information and resources to promote early development, learning and health of young children. Components of the program include personal home visits, group connections, child and caregiver screenings, and access to a resource network. 

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ZERO TO THREE’s LEARN is a suite of professional development opportunities for early childhood educators working in group settings with very young children. Options include online micro-courses and on-site offerings, with add-on support options for coaching and technical assistance. Train-the-trainer courses allow for individuals to become a certified trainer. 

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HealthySteps provides early childhood development support to families through partnerships with pediatric primary care providers. Specialists identify whether children are reaching developmental milestones, help connect families to additional services and answer families’ questions about child development and well-being. The program focuses on infants and toddlers in low-income households. 

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To learn more, join the Model Programs Showcase on April 11. 

Model Programs Webinar
Child Care Access and EffectivenessEarly Detection and InterventionEarly Language and LiteracyParenting Preparation and Support
All Our Kin - Family Child Care Network
Prevent Child Abuse America - Healthy Families America
National Black Child Development Insititute - Family Empowerment Program
Nurse Family Partnership
Parents as Teachers
Zero to Three - LEARN
Zero to Three - Healthy Steps

Data Dashboard

The data dashboard will be live prior to our Data Dashboard Webinar
on Tuesday, April 4.

Frequently Asked Questions


The Early Years Initiative is a competitive grant opportunity, made possible with generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc., 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 and 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).  

Brains are developed over time. Neural pathways developed in the earliest years of life form the basis for connections in the brain that process more complex information as a child learns and grows. A supportive environment and responsive, predictable interactions between very young children and their caregivers reinforce the foundation of a child’s overall development and lifelong learning trajectory. These interactions enable young children to develop skills that are critical to school readiness such as curiosity about the world around them, the ability to persist through a challenge, resilience in the face of adversity and the confidence to explore. Without supportive interactions and environments during this critical phase of growth, the brain does not optimally develop, which can lead to disparities in long-term learning, behavioral competency and health outcomes. 

To be eligible for funding under the Early Years Initiative, an applicant must meet the following criteria:  

  • It must be a public charity described in Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3). Organizations may apply independently or in collaboration, but the lead applicant must meet this requirement. 
  • It must carry out the grant for a charitable purpose aligned with the priorities of the Early Years Initiative as described above.
  • It must be currently serving, or proposing to serve, infants and toddlers, directly or indirectly (e.g. by offering parenting supports).  A lead applicant may provide these services through a partner as long as all eligibility criteria are met.  An applicant need not serve this age group exclusively, but the focus of its proposal must prioritize this population. Applicants may also include community foundations, United Ways and other such organizations that have the stature and capacity to lead, coordinate or otherwise support programs and projects for infants and toddlers. 
  • It must have an annual operating budget of at least $75,000 and have been in operation for at least 12 months on the date of submission.  Organizations that are unable to meet this threshold are encouraged to collaborate with eligible lead applicants to submit a proposal under this Initiative.  

Organizations that have questions about their eligibility for participation in the Early Years Initiative may contact ELI staff at

Yes.  For purposes of this initiative, public charities described in Internal Revenue Code (Code) section 501(c)(3) will be deemed to include institutions that are treated as such under the Code and Treasury Regulations.  Public schools and public higher education institutionswhile typically not receiving formal designations from the Internal Revenue Service as public charities described in Code section 501(c)(3) are treated the same as designated 501(c)(3) public charities for many legal and tax purposes and therefore are eligible to apply under this initiative. 

Any organization that meets all eligibility criteria, including a licensed family child care home, may serve as a lead applicant. Family child care homes that are unable to meet the eligibility requirements are encouraged to collaborate with eligible lead applicants to submit a proposal. For example, as noted in the Request for Proposals, family child care homes serving infants and toddlers in a low child care capacity area might partner with a community foundation or United Way to create a network for services. Please note that this is intended only to serve as an example. Any program or project that addresses the priorities of the Early Years Initiative will be considered.

Yes, current grantees of ELI are eligible to submit for the Early Years Initiative. 

No. Organizations must be currently serving, or proposing to serve, infants and toddlers in Indiana and meet all other eligibility requirements.

All proposals must serve children from birth through age three in Indiana.  There are no other geographic limits on the proposals that may be submittedPlease note, an applicant may submit only one proposal through the Early Years Initiative. However, it may request funding for multiple programs or projects in one proposal. 

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 designed 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 
  • Promoting essential skills through early language strategies 

ELI expects to receive a wide range of proposed programs and projects as part of the Early Years Initiative. Each local community and population has unique assets and needs. Some examples of fundable programs and projects might include, but are not limited to: a community foundation or United Way might facilitate the creation of a network of family child care homes serving infants and toddlers in a low child care capacity area; a faith-based institution might sponsor a program designed to expand parental knowledge of early childhood development and positive parenting practices; an existing home visiting provider might expand services to new geographies; a child care provider might invest in a program to improve language development in its classrooms through tools and practice-based professional development; or a local community-based organization might help deploy early detection tools through its network of community partners.

These potential programs or projects are intended only to serve as examples and are not an exhaustive list of programs or projects. Any program or project that addresses the priorities of the Early Years Initiative will be considered. 

A proposed program or project must serve children between birth and age three, but does not need to serve the entire age range of birth through age three.

The Early Years Initiative serves infants and toddlers (children from birth through age three) in Indiana. The Early Years Initiative has a particular focus on infants and toddlers who are in low-income households, are members of communities of color or are multi-language learners (the “Focus Populations”). Early Years Initiative proposals may serve other populations, but ELI will view more favorably proposals from applicants that serve a significant number of children within the Focus Populations. 

For purposes of this Initiative, a household will be considered low-income if it earns less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.

To assist organizations in considering possible approaches to a proposal, ELI has identified a diverse range of providers and advisors that serve the interests of infants and toddlers, including those listed here

Yes, applicants may propose a program or project not identified by ELI under the Early Years Initiative. The identified models are simply designed to assist organizations considering possible approaches to a proposal. Success of a proposal is not dependent upon the use of an identified model.

Organizations may request grants for a period of up to three years. Grant amounts requested must be appropriate for the intended impact, which would include, among other things:   

  • The number of infants and toddlers to be served with possible grant support and the anticipated impact of the program or project to be provided to these children.    
  • The number of infants and toddlers in the Focus Populations (as defined in the Request for Proposals) and the anticipated impact of the program or project to be provided to these children.   
  • The outcomes of current programs, if any, and the projected outcomes of the expanded program(s).    

ELI expects grant amounts to range from $75,000 to $500,000. 

Grant awards will be distributed to grantees in one payment, upon execution of the grant agreement.

The “Funding Considerations” section of the Request for Proposals outlines the factors that will be considered in reviewing proposals and determining funding recommendations 

For general questions about the Early Years Initiative, please email For questions about specific model programs, please reach out directly to the model program. Learn more here


Interested organizations may submit a proposal HERE. Proposals must meet the requirements specified in the RFP, including the submission of a budget. All proposals must be submitted on the grant platform, Submittable. The application allows for applicants to save the proposal and return to complete it at a later time.

Interested organizations are encouraged to participate in the webinar series and data dashboard office hours. 

This is a competitive grant opportunityEarly Learning Indiana’s team will not offer individual feedback on proposals prior to submission. 

Statewide and community data about infants and toddlers can be found in our Data Dashboard.

Partners are not required. Proposals should include any partners necessary for the successful implementation of the programs or projects. Applicants are encouraged to consider current programs and partners within the target community addressing similar needs as they prepare their proposal. 

In reviewing proposals and determining funding recommendations, ELI staff will take into consideration the following, among other factors:  

  • The number of infants and toddlers who will be served and the potential outcomes for the learning and development of those children.
  • The manner in which one or more Focus Population(s) will be served by the proposal, if applicable.
  • The applicant’s (or applicants’) capabilities to carry out programs and projects of the type and scale being proposed.
  • The feasibility of the program or project plan, including the viability of the timeline and proposed investment, the likelihood of aligning key partners or other critical success factors, and the achievability of the anticipated outcomes.
  • Whether the amount of the requested grant is proportional to the scale and impact of the program or projects to be funded by the grant.
  • Whether the applicant(s) have the ability and commitment to sustain the program or project after funds from the grant are expended. 

Early Years Initiative funding is not intended to support an organization's general operations, but rather to launch or scale programs and projects targeting the needs of infants and toddlers. Grants may be used to support expenses such as start-up costs, salaries and benefits, equipment, supplies, capital improvements and professional services necessary to carry out your program or project plan. Grant administration funds must not exceed 10% of your overall budget.   

Applicants are not required to demonstrate a financial match; however, ELI encourages applicants to seek complementary funding from public or other private sources for the proposed program or project.


Interested and eligible applicants must apply by 5 p.m. ET on June 15, 2023, to be considered for funding. 

Funding decisions are expected to be made by August 31, 2023. 

Applicants may request grants for a period of up to three years. All programs or projects should be completed by August 31, 2026. 

Implementation and Reporting

To make the most of this unprecedented opportunity to serve infants and toddlers, grantees of the Early Years Initiative will contribute to the collective learning of ELI and others by participating in reporting, program evaluation and communication efforts. ELI will also provide technical assistance to Early Years Initiative grantees throughout the duration of the grant, including training, consultation and other resources.


From time to time throughout the grant implementation period, ELI will convene grantees to create communities of practice among individuals undertaking activities through the Early Years Initiative. These convenings will enable grantees to share successes, troubleshoot challenges and gather lessons learned from their peers. ELI plans to cover all expenses associated with these convenings. 

Grantees will be required to submit periodic and annual narrative reports, as well as data points on outcomes specific to their programs or projects and budget. Updates will be submitted through MetaCX, Submittable and other designated platforms.