VCLF offering “building bright futures” grants

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The Vermont Community Loan Fund (VCLF) is now accepting applications for Building Bright Spaces for Bright Futures (BBSFBF) 2018 grants. The fund was created in 2002 by the Vermont legislature to increase the quantity and quality of child care and early education programs in Vermont. Since 2006, the fund has awarded over $1.3 million, to 124 child care programs, benefitting over 3,700 children and their families.

The program is funded with revenue generated from the sale of specialty child care license plates, contributions from the general public, and monies provided by the State of Vermont Child Development Division.

The BBSFBF Fund links Vermont families to services, resources, and information, with an emphasis on providing access to high quality early childhood programs. Grants can be used for assistance in starting, relocating, expanding, or improving a child care program’s physical facility and/or accessibility. Grants also may be used for real estate purchase, facility construction, and renovation, as well as pre-development costs, interest rate subsidies, and costs in meeting child care licensing facility requirements.

Grant requests cannot exceed $15,000 or total more than 25 percent of the full project cost. The application process for these funds is very competitive, and funds are limited. Applications must be received by VCLF no later than 3 p.m. on March 30 to be considered.

Basic eligibility requirements include that the applicant be a for-profit or private non-profit operation (family or center), licensed, registered or in the process of becoming so, and located in Vermont.

Grant projects must serve or plan to serve children from families receiving support through the State Child Care Financial Assistance Program.

Projects must be in compliance, or in the process of complying, with all applicable local, state, and federal zoning, accessibility, environmental, and other laws and regulations.

Youth programs should reach out to all children with positive youth development opportunities.

Grants are for programs that participate, or intend to participate, with early childhood councils or community childcare support agencies, and which are members of a local child care provider network.

Funding priorities for this year’s grants are:

— Programs that operate on a full-day/full-year schedule;

— Programs targeting funds to improve their ability to serve infants and toddlers, or children receiving specialized childcare supports;

— Programs that plan to use the funds to meet child care licensing or STARS requirements;

— Programs providing care during non-traditional hours (evenings and/or weekends); and

— Programs seeking to expand the number of child care slots available.

While all qualifying programs are welcome to apply, these factors are used to help determine priorities for grant funding.

All applications will be reviewed for quality of care and regulatory compliance. Applicants must be active participants in the STep Ahead Recognition System (STARS). Special consideration will be given to start-up programs.

Applications can be downloaded from www.VCLF.org. Application information is available from VCLF at (802) 223-4425, or [email protected] — from VCLF.

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