Current ECHO Fund Grant Opportunities | Agenda for Children

ECHO Fund Grants

The Early Childhood Opportunity (ECHO) Fund is an innovative grant program that seeks to increase access to high-quality early care and education for Louisiana children, birth through age four, by directly funding child care programs and the nonprofits that serve them.

Current ECHO Fund Grant Opportunities

Opportunity #1: Fall 2022 Orleans ECHO Fund Seat Augmentation for Children with Disabilities Grant

The Fall 2022 Orleans ECHO Fund Seat Augmentation for Children with Disabilities Grant will provide grants in amounts between $1,000 to $20,000 to assist licensed Type III Early Learning Centers and Family Child Care Providers with Academic Approval in Orleans Parish. Grants are intended to provide early learning programs with resources to craft an appropriate, intentional, and supportive environment in accordance with IDEA law for currently-enrolled children with exceptional physical or medical needs, children with exceptional cognitive needs, and/or children with exceptional behavioral or emotional needs.

Programs can apply for grants toward expenses related to serving children with disabilities, regardless of the child’s funding source, including, but not limited to:

  • professional development related to serving children with disabilities
  • part-time staff/teacher(s) to provide extra classroom support; materials and equipment (ex. appropriate chairs, sensory materials, ramps)
  • technical assistance
  • reimbursements for services paid for by the program since July 1, 2022 or to close the expense gap on services prior to July 1, 2023; and
  • evaluation services.

The examples provided here are not the only acceptable use of funding, and are shared only as an example. Grant requests will not be awarded for applications seeking funding for ASQ screening kits, standard curriculum kits, technology with no explicit and defined purposes related to meeting the needs of children with disabilities, CDA/ECAC/CNA tuition, or for materials or environments that are not in accordance with the least restrictive environment as outlined by IDEA law.

Quality grant applications must provide a compelling narrative, demonstrate need, and clearly and directly link proposed expenses with suitable, feasible, and specific accommodations aligned with meeting children’s exceptional needs within an appropriate time frame. Applications must not include a child’s or their family’s personal identifiable information (ex. name, birthday, social security number).

All licensed Type III Early Learning Programs and Family Child Care Providers with Academic Approval located in Orleans Parish are welcome to apply.

Apply for the 2022 Seat Augmentation Grant

Seat Augmentation Grant Timeline

  • Wednesday, November 16th, 2022: Application Opens
  • Tuesday, November 29th, 2022: Application Webinar
  • Friday, December 2nd, 2022: Application Deadline
  • Friday, December 16th, 2022: Award Determinations
  • Monday, May 1st, 2023: End of Grant Term; Grant Reports Due

Seat Augmentation Grant Materials and Guidance

  • Applications must be submitted through our application portal no later 11:59 PM Friday, December 2nd, 2022.
  • Please review the grant rubric to understand how grant determinations will be made.
  • Providers may not submit one application to apply for funds on behalf of multiple centers, however, they may submit one application to serve the needs of multiple children within one center, and/or one application per center they operate.

Seat Augmentation Award Notification

Agenda for Children will announce Seat Augmentation for Children with Disabilities Grant awards by Friday, December 16th via email to the contact person named in the grant application. Some applicants may be contacted sooner to clarify information in their application.

Seat Augmentation Grant Term

The term of this grant is Friday, December 16th, 2022 to May 1st, 2023. All funds must be expensed, documented, and reported to Agenda for Children by or before May 1st, 2023. Please contact our team promptly for guidance on allowable use of funds throughout the grant term.
Failure to spend awarded funds by the deadline, spending on unapproved or inappropriate items, or inconsistency in expense reporting may impact your eligibility for future ECHO grant awards and may result in request to return award funds.

Opportunity #2: Orleans Parish Facilities Fund Pilot Grant

The ECHO Orleans Facilities Fund Pilot Grant will provide grants to Family Child Care Providers (FCCs) and licensed Type III Centers to support the physical improvement, expansion, and development of new classrooms and centers. The ECHO Facilities Fund Pilot Grant is made possible through a partnership with Nola C.A.R.E.S. and generous contributions from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, J.P Morgan Chase, and individual donors. Facilities Fund Pilot Grants will provide funding in two different categories: Seed Grants will be awarded up to $20,000 to support FCCs and small Type III Centers licensed to serve fewer than 50 children; Grow Grants will be awarded up to $50,000 to Type III Centers that currently serve less than 50 children that demonstrate a plan to expand to at least 50 seats and centers currently licensed to serve 50 or more children.  Applicants must currently operate an FCC or Type III Early Learning Center in Orleans Parish. Type I and II Centers are not eligible for this grant.

See more about the two funding categories below:

Seed Grants
These grants are for Family Child Care providers (FCCs), as well as Type III Early Learning Centers licensed to serve fewer then 50 children. Grant award amounts are up to $20k. The purpose of the grant is to support FCC and small Type III Center’s capacity and sustainability. Eligible providers can apply for grant funds to provide the following:

  • Cosmetic and minor structural improvements to the program site
    • Grant requests for cosmetic or structural improvements must demonstrate site control: deed, mortgage, or documentation from landlord that improvements are allowable
  • Accessibility improvements (ex: bathrooms, ramps, ADA-compliant doorways)
  • Safety improvements (safety surfaces)
  • Furniture and fixtures to support non-traditional hours (between 6 PM and 7 AM)
  • Play equipment

Grow Grants
These grants are for Commercial-based, licensed Type III Early Learning Centers that currently serve less than 50 children that demonstrate a plan to expand to at least 50 seats and centers currently licensed to serve at least 50 children. Grant award amounts are up to $50k. These grants are designed to support providers that are actively planning to grow the physical location of their centers and increase the number of seats they provide.  Eligible providers can apply for grant funds towards the following:

  • Make physical improvements to existing centers that will actively expand seat capacity
  • Provide construction gap financing and collateralization for loans (ex: SBA requires a 10% down payment for its 7A loan program)
  • Reimburse construction costs incurred by the center owner for new site construction

Applicants must demonstrate site control; proof includes a signed lease that allows for leaseholder improvements, a purchase option agreement, or an active mortgage. For reimbursements, eligible costs must have been incurred no earlier than July 1, 2022. Grants can be used to support up to 25% of the total cost of development and cannot exceed $50k.

Grow grants are offered through a partnership with Nola C.A.R.E.S. and made possible by the funding from the J.P Morgan Chase AdvancingCities initiative.

Apply for the Facilities Fund Pilot Grant

Facilities Fund Pilot Grant Timeline

  • Wednesday, November 16th, 2022: Application Opens
  • Tuesday, November 29th, 2022: Application Webinar
  • Friday, January 6th, 2022: Application Deadline
  • Tuesday, January 31st, 2023: Award Determinations
  • Friday, December 1st, 2023: End of Grant Term; Final Grant Report Due

Facilities Fund Pilot Grant Materials and Guidance

  • Applications must be submitted through our application portal no later 11:59 PM Friday, January 6th, 2023.
  • Please review the relevant grant rubric to understand how grant determinations will be made:
  • Providers may submit one application (either Seed or Grow) per eligible center they operate. Providers may not submit multiple applications (both Seed AND Grow) for one center.

Facilities Fund Pilot Grant Award Notification

Agenda for Children will announce Seat Augmentation for Children with Disabilities Grant awards by Tuesday, January 31st via email to the contact person named in the grant application. Grow grant applicants will be contacted to conduct an interview regarding their submission. Some applicants may also be contacted prior to award announcements to clarify information in their application. 

Facilities Fund Pilot Grant Term

The term of this grant is Tuesday, January 31st to Friday, December 1st, 2023. All funds must be expensed, documented, and reported to Agenda for Children by December 1st, 2023. Please contact our team promptly for guidance about allowable uses of funds throughout the grant term.
Failure to spend awarded funds by the deadline, spending on unapproved or inappropriate items, or inaccurate expense reporting may impact your eligibility for future ECHO grant awards. Programs that do not adhere to reporting and expense guidelines may be required to return award funds.

Grant Resources and FAQs

Quick Reference Guide

 Seat Augmentation Grant for Children with DisabilitiesFacilities Fund Pilot: Seed GrantFacilities Fund Pilot: Grow Grant
Eligibility - Location:Orleans ParishOrleans ParishOrleans Parish
Eligibility - Provider Type:Type III Child Care Centers and FCCS with Academic ApprovalFCCs and Type III Child Care Centers licensed to serve fewer than 50 childrenType III Child Care that currently serve less than 50 children that demonstrate a plan to expand to at least 50 seats and centers currently licensed to serve at least 50 children
Eligible Expenses:Expenses toward program needs for currently-enrolled children with disabilities including, but not limited to:
(1) professional development related to serving children with the needs described;
(2) part-time staff/teacher(s) to provide extra classroom support;
(3) materials and equipment (ex. appropriate chairs, fidgets, ramps);
(4) technical assistance; reimbursements for services paid for by the program since July 1, 2022 or to close the expense gap on services prior to July 1, 2023; and
(5) evaluation services.
(1) Cosmetic and minor structural improvements to their program site
​​​​​​​ or structural improvements;
(2) Accessibility improvements (ex: bathrooms, ramps, ADA-compliant doorways);
(3) Safety improvements (safety surfaces);
(4) Furniture and fixtures to support non-traditional hours (between 6 PM and 7 AM);
(5) Play equipment
(1) Physical improvements to existing centers that will actively expand seat capacity;
(2) Provide construction gap financing and collateralization for loans (ex: SBA requires a 10% down payment for its 7A loan program);
(3) Reimburse construction costs incurred by the center owner for new site construction
Application Launch Date:November 16th, 2022November 16th, 2022November 16th, 2022
Total Grant Amount:Up to $20kUp to $20kUp to $50k
Application Close Date:December 2nd, 2022January 6th, 2023January 6th, 2023
Award Determinations:December 16th, 2022January 31st, 2023January 31st, 2023
Application Link:Seat Augmentation Application LinkFacilities Fund Pilot Seed Application LinkFacilities Fund Pilot Grow Application Link
Application PDF:Seat Augmentation Application PDFSeed Application PDFGrow Application PDF
Rubric:Seat Augmentation RubricSeed Rubric (Type III Center);
Seed Rubric (FCC)
Grow Grant Rubric

Grant FAQs

No. Applications are only accepted via the application portal.

Yes. If you encounter any issues, please contact echofund@agendaforchildren.org for assistance.

No. Providers may not submit one application to apply for funds for multiple centers, however, they may submit one application to serve the needs of multiple children within one center for the seat augmentation grant, and/or one application per center they operate for both grants.

Applicants may edit their submission at any time before the respective application due date. Once the application closes, edits will no longer be accepted.

Providers may submit one application (either Seed or Grow) per eligible center they operate. Providers may not submit multiple applications (both Seed AND Grow) for one center.

A provider who operates multiple centers may apply for a Seed grant for Center #1 and a Grow grant for Center #2. They may also apply for Seed grants for both centers or Grow grants for both centers.

Providers should submit an application for the grant that best fits their needs at this time. Applicants should note that there are a limited number of Grow grants for this pilot program; as such, the award determinations are anticipated to be highly competitive.

Not at this time. However, you may be eligible for future grants through the permanent facilities fund to be launched next summer. Please continue to check back for more details.

If you have an extenuating circumstance and cannot complete the application by this deadline, you must reach out to echofund@agendaforchildren.org to request an extension before Wednesday, November 30, 2022. Due to the number of applications, extensions are not guaranteed, and providers should make every attempt to complete them before the December 2 deadline.

The facilities pilot grants are structured to test the efficacy and impact of the facility fund long term. The pilot grants are organized in two categories: SEED for FCC and Type III Centers that serve fewer than 50 children; GROW for Type III Centers serving 50 or more children or are seeking to expand to serve at least 50 children.  The permanent facility fund that will be released tentatively in the summer of 2023 will also include an additional tiers designed to support the capacity and growth of centers who do not fall into these categories. These grants will include both funds for Technical Assistance and funds for implantation of the identified capacity needs.

Agenda for Children will be hosting several events to help providers navigate the application process. See below:

Event #1: Grant Launch Happy Hour

  • Date: Thursday, November 17th
  • Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
  • Location: Whiskey and Sticks

Event #2: Application Webinar

    • Date: Tuesday, November 29th
    • Time: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
    • Register Here!

Office Hours

  • Providers who would like support regarding the disability supports portion of their application for the Seat Augmentation grant should reach out to Katie Rambeau, Early Childhood Education and Disability Specialist at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, to schedule a consultation. She can be reached via email at krambe@lsuhsc.edu.
  • Office Hours will be available for the Facilities Fund Pilot Grant for those who would like additional guidance. More details to come!

Office Closures

Agenda for Children's offices will be closed from November 19th to November 27th in observance of Thanksgiving. Providers will not be able to receive support by calling Agenda's offices during this closure. However, providers are still welcome to email echofund@agendaforchildren.org during this time. This inbox will be monitored throughout our office closure to ensure providers are still receiving support.

Questions?

Contact the ECHO Team at echofund@agendaforchildren.org

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