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Early Learning Indiana to offer up to $500K in early education grants

By Kirsten Adair, IPB News | Published on in Business, Education, Government
Early Learning Indiana is accepting grant proposals for early education projects throughout the state until June 15. (FILE PHOTO: Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Early Learning Indiana is trying to increase the number of organizations that provide high-quality care for the state’s youngest residents. To accomplish that goal, it is offering grants through a new initiative to fund nonprofit programs that aid in the development and education of children age 3 and younger.

Maureen Weber, CEO of Early Learning Indiana, said the organization is using a $50 million grant from Lilly Endowment to fund the Early Years Initiative.

“We’re really interested in projects and programs from all around the state that do any of a number of things that might help to influence the learning and development of infants and toddlers,” she said.

Weber said those projects could include ideas like home visit and parent preparation programs, child care support, early literacy programs, and detection and intervention for children with disabilities.

“What we know is that the first years of life really are the most essential for healthy brain development,” Weber said. “That is a time of rapid growth for young children. As parents, we know this. So, it’s just really essential that we are providing the right ingredients to children when they’re in these very earliest years so that we set that foundation for all future learning.”

READ MORE: Report: No county in Indiana offers ‘adequate’ access to high-quality early learning

To receive grants, organizations must meet the requirements listed in Early Learning Indiana’s request for proposals. Weber said organizations that do not meet the requirements but would still like to apply for a grant can partner with organizations that do meet the requirements.

Grant awards will range from $75,000 to $500,000 over the course of up to three years.

Early Learning Indiana will review proposals later this summer and announce grant recipients around the beginning of September.

The Lilly Endowment also provides funding for Indiana Public Broadcasting News.

Kirsten is our education reporter. Contact her at kadair@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @kirsten_adair.