Early Childhood Care LVCF Grantmaking

Early Childhood Care

For All Lehigh Valley Families

Grantmaking | Working towards accessible, affordable early childhood care for all Lehigh Valley Families

The Community Foundation is committed to working collaboratively to address the crisis in early childhood care and early learning. We envision a future where all Lehigh Valley families can experience accessible and affordable early childhood care. As a part of LVCF’s work in early childcare, LVCF is focusing funding on this area, in addition to working on initiatives with partners to advance our vision of quality, affordable early childhood care for all families.  

LVCF hosted a grant information & networking session on Wednesday, December 13th at the Bethlehem Public Library’s main branch in the Cohen Room, to explain LVCF’s focus on Early Childhood Care and network with the early childhood community. Thank you to all who attended.

Funding Priorities for the 2023-2024 Cycle

Early Childhood  

Early childhood is one of the most critical periods of a child’s development. Ninety percent of the brain has developed by age 5. In addition to the importance of quality childcare for children and their families, quality childcare is a fundamental requirement of a vibrant, healthy economy. Yet, in the Lehigh Valley, and across the country, there is a crisis occurring in early childhood education. There are simply not enough high-quality childcare centers for the number of children that need care in the Lehigh Valley.  

In the Lehigh Valley,  

• 260 open staff positions
•  90 closed childcare classrooms  
• 1,495 children currently sit on waitlists  
• 1,662 additional children could be served if the programs were fully staffed.*

The crisis state of early childcare is impacting children, families, communities, and the entire region’s economy. Children are not able to be in safe, quality care during a critical age, communities are not able to gain increased employment and tax revenue, parents are not able to enter or re-enter the workforce creating worker shortages while also increasing poverty for the region.  

*Data provided by Start Strong PA 

Funding Focus

The critical issues that LVCF is focusing funding on in the 2023-2024 Youth & Families grantmaking cycle for supporting the early childcare sector (ages 0-5) are the following:  

  • Centers that are currently operating high quality childhood centers in the age range of 0-5 years old. Centers should demonstrate how they are actively building capacity to bolster the quality of their childcare services (i.e. improving building conditions, strategies to retain staff, increasing staff salaries, expanding childcare slots, developing programming).
  • Programs that focus on addressing challenging behaviors and/or diagnosed mental health needs in children (ages 0-5) by either offering:
    • Programs or services that equip childcare workers with the necessary resources to care for children with challenging behaviors and/or high mental health needs 
    • Programs or services that provide high-quality care for children with challenging behaviors and/or mental health needs 
  • Organizations that are advocating for improved regulations, funding, or policy for early childcare providers.   

Organizations that are delivering programs or services to address one or more of the above stated issues will be prioritized for receiving a general operating grant.  

Additional Considerations

In addition to those specific areas being addressed, LVCF prioritizes funding for organizations that are:  

Guided by the community they serve 
Learning organizations 
• Serving children and families most at-risk of exiting the safety net 

Examples of children at risk include: immigrant families, LGBTQ+ families, those children who have exited the school system, single guardian households, foster care children, very low-income families, children with disabilities, or whose family has been involved in the criminal justice system. 

In order to apply you must:

• Be a qualified charitable organization:  
• 501(c)(3) public charity or verified charitable entity (e.g., schools, colleges and universities, religious institutions, town and municipal governments, etc.) ​   
• Organizations may apply through a fiscal sponsor. ​   
 Deliver early childcare services or programs in Lehigh or/and Northampton county(ies).​ Definition of youth is those who are ages 0-5 years old

Grant Awards

• Funding amount available: Around $150,000   
• Grant amounts will range from $5,000 – $20,000   
• Grants are planned to be general operating awards.   
Funding provided by the following funds or people: 
• The Edward & Inez Donley Fund  
• Walter & Alma Bastian Fund 
• Frances L. Barnard Fund for Children   
• Robert D. & Gwendolyn-Jane Romeril Campership Fund 
• Lucille F. Driver Fund  
• Gross Family Fund

Key Dates

The application opens on Monday, December 4, 2023, and closes on Monday, January 29, 2024.   

Applications can be submitted either by written text or video/voice submissions. 

December 4, 2023 – Applications Launches 

December 13, 2023, 10-11:30 a.m. – Networking & Information Session – in-Person at Bethlehem Area Public Library Main Branch in the Cohen Room. Please RSVP by registering here on Eventbrite

January 19 & 26, 2024 – Early Childcare Virtual Q&A Drop-in session from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM. If you have questions about the grant application or this funding opportunity, please drop in during our Zoom session to speak with a staff member. No registration necessary: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/3420507866

January 29, 2024 – Grant Submission Date 

February 2024 – Evaluators will review proposals 

March 2024 – Notifications of grant award status 

November 2024 – Report submission due on the use and impact of grant funding 

How to Apply

Step 1 -A preview copy of the application questions will be made available upon launch on December 4, 2023.

Step 2 – Apply on the Foundant site.

NEW! — Organizations who wish to apply for this grant MUST complete an Organization Profile Form prior to the Application. To access the profile form, log into Foundant. Click the Apply icon on your homepage and select LVCF Organization Profile Form. Below are PDF previews of the forms.

LVCF Organization Profile Form PDF
Youth and Families Application PDF
• For Foundant guidance, please click here.

Step 3 – Applicants interested in video or voice submissions, please review our Video or Voice Upload Instructions PDF.

Step 4 –Questions:
• Contact Monique Saunders Moreno for technical assistance questions at monique@lvcfoundation.org
• Contact Megan Briggs for grant model questions at megan@lvcfoundation.org

Our Commitment:
Lehigh Valley Community Foundation is committed to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in our grant processes and strives to fund organizations and programs that represent the full diversity of the community. Organizations led by individuals who identify as Black, Brown, Latinx/o/a, Indigenous or a Person of Color; LGBTQ; or a person living with a disability are encouraged to apply. 

How Applications are Evaluated

Applications are evaluated by the Youth & Families advisory grant committee. Members on this committee are representative of both content and context experts in the field of youth and families. The committee representatives include several diverse perspectives including age, geography, race, ethnicity, income, and gender. Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:  

• Area of focus: organization, program or service addresses the critical areas of focus of the grant opportunity
• Population Served: children and families most at-risk of exiting the safety net.  
• Organization guided by the community that they serve. 
• Organization provides high-quality programs & services. 
• Organization is a learning organization.  
• Organization is working towards improved regulations, funding, or policy for early childcare providers. 

Community Leadership | Youth and Families

Foundation staff serve on the Steering Committee for Allentown’s Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP), administered by Community Action Lehigh Valley.  The program is focused on serving youth in center city Allentown.

ASK MEGAN | Learn more about the community investments/grants opportunities at LVCF

Megan Briggs, LVCF Vice President of Community Investments

Megan Briggs
Vice President of Community Investments
Lehigh Valley Community Foundation
840. W. Hamilton Street, Suite 310
Allentown, PA 18101
610 351-5353, ext. 11 | megan@lvcfoundation.org