$1.4 million coming to local early learning facilities to expand access

The Washington State Department of Commerce, in partnership with the Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF), announced $17.2 million in grants to 39 current and new early learning providers across the state. 

These grants included $800,000 for the YMCA of Grays Harbor and $636,000 to the Joint Pacific County Housing Authority in Raymond.

These grants provide financial support to allow Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) contractors and Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) subsidy providers to plan, expand, remodel, purchase or construct early learning facilities and classrooms.

At the local YMCA, Associate Executive Director Dan Brown tells KXRO that the project will double the YMCA of Grays Harbor’s licensed capacity for childcare which serves children from Pre-K to 12 years of age through a full-day and part-day model.

Franzine Potts, YMCA of Grays Harbor’s CEO, says “This opportunity to expand services in Grays Harbor is a huge win for our Grays Harbor!  It has been evident that availability of Early Learning and Licensed Childcare with diverse payment options has been a growing need in our community.  The Y strives to fill gaps and ensure we continually work towards a better Grays Harbor. This opportunity is one more way in which the YMCA of Grays Harbor can help close this ever growing gap and improve our community.” 

Brown says that the plan is to continue services at the current YMCA of Grays Harbor facility at 2500 Simpson Ave.  The funds from this project will facilitate the purchase of another building and renovation of that site, in the end giving the YMCA two sites in Hoquiam.  

The total project costs are estimated at $1.5 million.  In addition to this grant, an additional $200,000 will come from the Grays Harbor Community Foundation to help fund this project.  

Eric Potts, Executive Director of the Grays Harbor Community Foundation, expressed his support of the project, “Early learning is a new focus of the Grays Harbor Community Foundation.  We can clearly see the value in giving Grays Harbor kids a quality jump start to their education and the ripple effect it will have on our community. The Y does this really well and we are glad to partner together to bring more quality and accessibility early learning opportunities to students and families in Grays Harbor.”

The YMCA Board of Directors approved the submittal of this grant and is in full support of acceptance.  Brian Shay, current YMCA of Grays Harbor CVO, expressed his support of the grant, “On behalf of the entire board we are proud of the staff to win this competitive grant that will enable us to expand early learning in Grays Harbor which is such a critical need in our community and across the state.”

 Franzine went on to express her thanks to the Department of Commerce, Grays Harbor Community Foundation, YMCA staff and board and local organizations who helped support the writing and awarding of this grant. 

If you are interested in donating to help support the project and it’s completion please contact Franzine Potts at the YMCA of Grays Harbor at [email protected] or 360-537-9622 x111. 

 During the Commerce application cycle, the department received 125 applications requesting a total of over $34 million.

“Too many working parents in Washington are either paying more than they can afford or struggling to find quality child care and preschool in their community,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “The first years of life are critical to a child’s long-term development. These grants are a crucial step toward achieving a child care system that works better for all Washington families.”

“High-quality, affordable child care helps to ensure healthy development in the most critical stage of development, and supports the economic security of families with young children,” said DCFY Secretary Ross Hunter. “Quality drives improved outcomes for children and our plan is to support environments that are inclusive and responsive to the various needs of children and families.”

The grant recipients are:

Facilities Pre-Design Grant

  • Greater Trinity Academy – Everett – $10,000
  • Community Child Care Center – Pullman – $10,000
  • Living Well Kent Collaborative – Kent – $10,000
  • Everett Community College – Everett – $10,000
  • Childhaven – $10,000

Minor Renovation or Repair of Existing Early Learning Facilities Grant

  • Wonder Kids LLC – Yakima – $71,817 – 20 spaces
  • Belinda Boston dba Pinwheel Preschool – Renton – $100,000 – 6 spaces
  • The Children’s Center at Burke Gilman Gardens – Seattle – $31,000 – 9 spaces
  • Kaleidoscope Preschool & Child Care Center – Eastsound – $100,000.00 – 12 spaces
  • Little Giggles Daycare – Edgewood – $40,000 – 9 spaces
  • Vision House: Children’s Village Child Care – Renton – $35,250 – 2 spaces
  • First Church of God dba  THE ARK – Walla Walla – $58,909 – 11 spaces
  • Transitional Programs for Women dba Transitions – Spokane – $62,704 – 8 spaces

Major Construction/Renovation/Building Purchase Grant

  • Triumph Treatment Services – Yakima – $800,000 – 18 spaces
  • Community Day School Association dba Launch – Renton – $800,000 – 45 spaces
  • Tiny Tots Development Center – Seattle – $766,605 – 76 spaces
  • Bilingual Learning Center LLC – Kennewick – $200,000 – 70 spaces
  • Bellwether Housing – Seattle – $ $800,000 – 60 spaces
  • Youth and Family Link – Kelso – $650,000 – 34 spaces
  • Lumen Early Learning Center – Spokane – $573,000 – 62 spaces
  • White River Children’s Academy – Enumclaw – $800,000 – 54 spaces
  • Primm ABC Child Care Center – Seattle – $800,000 – 48 spaces
  • Green Gables, LLC – Spokane – $800,000 – 62 spaces
  • Olympic Community Action Programs – Port Townsend – $511,777 – 15 spaces
  • Denise Louie Education Center – Seattle – $800,000 – 59 spaces
  • Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority – Seattle – $800,000 – 50 spaces
  • YMCA of Greater Seattle – Seattle- $800,000 – 124 spaces
  • Bertha’s Daycare – Yakima – $350,000 – 38 spaces
  • Gateway Christian Fellowship & Child Care Center – Shelton – $539,250 – 44 spaces
  • YMCA of Grays Harbor – Hoquiam – $800,000 – 62 spaces
  • West African Community Council – Seattle – $316,086 –17 spaces
  • Smokey Point Daycare and Early Learning Center LLC – Marysville- $800,000 – 52 spaces
  • Rainbow River Childcare LLC – Pasco – $560,000 – 30 spaces
  • Joint Pacific County Housing Authority – Raymond – $636,600 – 13 spaces
  • Whatcom Family YMCA – Bellingham – $800,000 – 5 spaces
  • Bethel Kids Learning Center – Chehalis – $225,000 – 60 spaces
  • Lummi Nation – Bellingham- $800,000 – 20 spaces
  • Educational Opportunities for Children and Families: Fir Grove – Vancouver – $800,000 – 40 spaces
  • University Temple Children’s School – Seattle – $215,440 – 35 spaces

Half of Washington parents who responded to an independent survey initiated by the Washington Child Care Collaborative Task Force said child care is difficult to find and keep. A quarter of respondents said the cost alone kept them from using child care.  The research and the impact to Washington’s employers and economy is detailed in the report The Mounting Costs of Childcare in Washington State.

The task force has undertaken a comprehensive childcare industry assessment and a will develop set of policy recommendations for workforce compensation and Washington’s Working Connections Child Care subsidy program, along with an implementation plan for subsidy changes, due to the governor and Legislature in December this year. Information and updates on task force work are available on the task force web page.

To read more about the Early Learning Facilities grant program, visit Commerce’s webpage.