The Fund for Quality (FFQ) is a partnership between Reinvestment Fund and Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), supported by funding from the William Penn Foundation, and Vanguard Strong Start for Kids Program. Through the provision of business planning support and facilities-related financing, Fund for Quality supports high-quality early care and education providers with expanding their services to reach more low-income families.
High-quality early learning experiences support positive child development and prepare children for success in school and beyond. Fund for Quality aims to expand the availability of quality early childhood education and care opportunities for low-income families living in the City of Philadelphia.
Providers may apply for planning grants to support organizational planning and project predevelopment to ensure a successful and high-quality expansion project. Based on successful completion of the planning phase, providers will be eligible to apply for capital grant awards of up to $300,000 and/or loan funds to support the expansion project.
Awardees will benefit from the advantages of larger scale business operations, and in turn, will be instrumental in reducing the overwhelming unmet demand for high-quality early care and education services in Philadelphia.
As of December 31, 2020, Fund for Quality has added more than 2,600 new child care seats in Philadelphia
Before applying, please ensure your organization meets the following eligibility criteria:
- Existing high quality operator (Keystone STAR 3 and 4); if multi-site provider, more than 50% of sites at STAR 3 or greater
- Non‐profit or for‐profit organization
- Currently serving low‐income populations (defined as client population of at least 50% subsidy, or waitlist subsidy, Head Start or Pre‐K Counts) or able to demonstrate a commitment to serving low‐income families
- Positive attendance trends and strong business plan
- Organizational capacity for expansion
Before applying, please ensure your expansion project meets the following eligibility criteria:
- Proposed project will increase slot capacity (minimum 20; ideally 40 or more)
- Proposed expansion at a currently licensed facility (applicable to on-site expansions only)
- Proposed project to be located in Philadelphia
- Identification of expansion site
- Demonstration of ownership or long‐term lease of the expansion site (can be forthcoming for a project expansion to new location)
Preference will be given to applications and projects that consider the following:
- Serving vulnerable populations
- Expansion site located in Childcare Map priority areas:
— Lack of high‐quality ECE
— Areas of high‐poverty
— Unmet demand for ECE services
- Project expansion efficiency – evaluation of the projected timeline and projected cost per slot (calculated by total project cost/number of new childcare seats)
- Demonstration of previous program expansion
- Demonstration of sound governance and strong internal controls (including board of directors, advisory, etc)
Due to the current conditions that exist for the ECE sector, as a result of the novel Coronavirus, FFQ is looking to partner with other technical assistance or facility funding programs to help us identify potential high quality expansion projects or high quality expansion projects that are currently underway and experiencing a funding gap in Philadelphia.
Providers with an upcoming or proposed expansion are encouraged to view eligibility criteria. If you know of an organization planning a high quality expansion project for 2021 that meets FFQ eligibility requirements, please contact Jenine Moore, FFQ Project Coordinator, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. While STAR 2 providers are not eligible until they achieve STAR 3, they can enter into the FFQ pipeline so that we can connect directly on the status of their project and move-up.
While the application is rolling, Fund for Quality has submission guidelines based on the intended start date of the expansion classrooms. Providers desiring to have a completed expansion by September 2021 must submit a completed Fund for Quality application by January 31, 2021. For new classroom start dates beyond September 2021. Fund for Quality requires a submitted application at least nine (9) months prior to the intended open date.
Online Application Process
Interested applicants must complete the FFQ Contact Sheet to provide information about their proposed child care expansion project prior to the application submission deadline of 1/31/2021. Please complete the Contact Sheet in the Reinvestment Fund’s grants management platform, Smart Simple, with instructions. A Word version of the Contact Sheet may be provided upon request.
Upon review, FFQ staff will contact you to schedule an appointment to discuss your expansion project and next steps for application submission.
For questions regarding FFQ eligibility or application status please email email@example.com or call Jenine, FFQ Project Coordinator, at 267-773-4399. For questions regarding the FFQ Smart Simple platform please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All applicants must submit one complete application per expansion project.
The application is thorough and will also serve as a needs assessment for proposed projects. Please be sure to respond to all questions. If you do not yet have the information requested, please note the supports your organization will need to acquire or develop the requested information.
Applications must be complete. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
September 2021 Classroom(s) Openings FFQ Application Cut-off date: January 31, 2021
Beyond September 2021 Classroom(s) Openings FFQ Application Cut-off date: No later than 9 months prior to intended start date**
Fund for Quality grantees must complete the Planning Phase in order to qualify for, and have access to, capital improvement funds. Providers should plan accordingly to allow time for the organization to undergo and complete FFQ Planning. The length of the Planning Phase varies based on your organizational and project needs and will be determined by FFQ staff upon acceptance into FFQ Planning.
**Please note: the cut-off deadline is a minimum and will not ensure timely project completion. If the project requires significant planning, renovation or construction, you should have your application submitted at least a year in advance in order to keep your project on schedule. Please check with FFQ staff to understand the best time to submit an application for an expansion project.
Childcare Center Design Guide
This guide may provide a current operating childcare provider or a prospective provider with information for the planning and design of early childhood spaces that highlight the high-quality early childhood care, education, mission, and vision of the center. This guide compiles licensing and regulatory requirements established by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) and the City of Philadelphia, as well as best practice recommendations per the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the Environment Rating Scale (ERS), and Caring for Our Children (CFOC).
Design for All builds upon the 2017 publication concept that a childcare center should encourage ALL children’s social, physical, intellectual, creative, and emotional development through play and learning. Design for All also calls attention to the unique needs of adults with disabilities who work in or visit a childcare center. Design for All should be viewed as a collection of new items that current or prospective providers can incorporate into the renovation or design of a childcare facility. Similar to the 2017 Design Guide, implementing the Design for All concepts will require concurrent consideration of regulatory requirements and recommended practices.
NOTE: Information related to the purchase or construction of a center should be reviewed with professionals such as architects, engineers, zoning officials, and other licensing agencies that have jurisdiction over childcare centers prior to a purchase or when planning for a construction project.
Childcaremap.org is an interactive tool that helps identify the neighborhoods where high-quality care is most scarce, and where investments are most needed. Interested providers seeking expansion projects will utilize this tool to define gaps and outline expansion need in their applications. Also note the addition of the Potential Childcare Facilities information.
For more information or questions on Childcare Map please contact Brian Blacker at email@example.com.