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Fund for Quality

Expanding early childhood education in Philadelphia


The Fund for Quality (FFQ) is a partnership between Reinvestment Fund and Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), with funding from the William Penn Foundation, and Vanguard Strong Start for Kids Program. Through the provision of business planning 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 nurture 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 assist with 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 as needed, 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 June 30, 2022, Fund for Quality has added more than 2,865 new child care seats in Philadelphia


Since 2014, FFQ has come to serve as an important source of financial support and technical assistance for ECE providers, and has been a key driver of the expansion of high-quality childcare seats in underserved, low-income neighborhoods across Philadelphia. Fund for Quality has supported 53 high-quality expansion projects for early childhood education providers, which are anticipated to create over 3,000 new high-quality seats by 2023.

Philadelphia has seen tremendous growth in the number of high-quality seats in recent years—from 22,744 (25% of total) in 2013 to 33,938 (37% of total) in 2021, according to the most recent Childcare Gap Analysis of Childcare Map data, an increase of 11,194 seats.

FFQ directly supported roughly a quarter of the increase in high-quality seats during this timeframe. On top of this, a research study by Policy Solutions also found that the presence of an FFQ site, or a site benefiting from another ECE program such as the Philadelphia ECE Loan Fund, correlates with nearby providers increasing their STAR rating as well.


Organizations first apply to the Planning Phase of the program, and must meet the following eligibility criteria:

Existing high-quality operator (STAR 3 and 4) at over 50% of sites
Serving low-income populations

(over 50% of children served receiving subsidy funding including CCW, Head Start, Early Head Start, PreK Counts, and PHLpreK)

Positive attendance trends and strong business plan
Organizational capacity for expansion
Projects that will increase licensed capacity by 40 or more
Ownership or long-term lease on property and landlord consent for renovations

In addition, the program aims to support organizations serving vulnerable populations, and located in areas with large high quality shortage on Childcare Map.



The Fund for Quality program is currently operating on a 2-year funding cycle (July 2022 through June 2024), to support expansion projects that applied but could not be accepted in the last cycle due to their project timeline.

We are not currently in an open application cycle but want to hear about your project.

At this time, we are collecting a list of potential projects and are interested in learning more to determine feasibility and alignment with FFQ’s mission should additional cycles occur. If you have an expansion project and are interested in getting on a Fund for Quality potential pipeline list, please complete an Interest Form.

If you have an identified expansion site, we will set up a time to have a conversation. This may lead to a feasibility assessment site visit with an FFQ licensing consultant. (Please note that FFQ can only coordinate one licensing consultation visit per organization). Participation in the feasibility assessment will also offer your program expert feedback to consider if pursuing expansion independently.

Childcare Center Design Guide

Childcare Center Design Guide

July 2017

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

January 2020

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.



Childcare Map 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