Child Care Innovation and Infrastructure Grants

The Early Childhood and Family Support Division is partnering with 30 child care providers to develop and implement innovative community, area, region and/or business-based strategies which expand child care availability for Montana families.

This project is part of the larger continuum of support for the child care industry in Montana aimed at enhancing the availability, affordability, and accessibility of high-quality child care for children and families in Montana.

The funding targets areas with significant observed shortages of child care capacity, or child care deserts defined as any geographic area where child care supply meets less than a third of the potential demand, care during non-traditional hours, or increasing access for infants, toddlers and vulnerable populations.  

Congratulations to the following award recipients!

Alberton Early Learning Center LLC
Offeror Name Community County Award
Alberton Early Learning Center LLC Alberton Mineral $366,263

Alberton Early Learning Center LLC proposes to fund the expansion of their child care program in Mineral County. The expansion will create additional infant slots and slots for children two years and older, while promoting a high-quality, stable child care environment and will support the workforce in Alberton and surrounding areas.
Big Timber Daycare LLC
Offeror Name Community County Award
Big Timber Daycare LLC Big Timber Sweet Grass $383,788

Big Timber Daycare is a community-based organization caring for children ages 6 months to 12 years. They are proposing to double in size by creating 15 or more additional slots. Big Timber’s services include child-centered, developmentally-oriented, wellness-focused, and evidence-based programming.
Bozeman Montessori
Offeror Name Community County Award
Bozeman Montessori Bozeman Gallatin $275,308

Bozeman Montessori intends to expand their Montessori early childhood center to include a second location. The new site will have spaces for 43 infants and toddlers, which will help address the increasing shortage of infant and toddler care in Bozeman.
Browning Public Schools
Offeror Name Community County Award
Browning Public Schools Browning Glacier $207,568

Browning Public Schools proposes two main primary needs for the funding: the current severe shortage of child care providers in the community and the increasing teacher shortage. BPS said they are hopeful this funding will help address both of those needs by increasing more child care slots, and by attracting more qualified teachers to the district.
Central Montana Childcare Alliance
Offeror Name Community County Award
Central Montana Childcare Alliance Lewistown Fergus, Judith Basin, Petroleum $413,904

Central Montana Childcare Alliance will act as a facilitator, advocate, consultant, and educator to assist existing and new child care providers to improve the quality of childcare programming, expand child care slots, and increase access to care for vulnerable populations in Central Montana.
Community Health Care Center Inc.
Offeror Name Community County Award
Community Health Care Center Inc. Great Falls Cascade $413,676


The Community Health Care Center’s childcare facility project is in partnership with the Alluvion Heath Roosevelt Collaborative Project. This project constitutes the development and implementation of a collaborative site of mutually beneficial services provided by nonprofit organizations at a centralized location. The collaborative proposal includes employer-sponsored childcare and early childhood education, and other clinical and ancillary offerings to support a comprehensive scope of services.

Curious Minds Montessori & Preschool
Offeror Name Community County Award
Curious Minds Montessori & Preschool Hamilton Ravalli $999,200

Curious Minds Montessori and Preschool intends to address availability of infant and toddler care in Ravalli County with three new classrooms, resulting in an increase of 16 infant and 16 toddler slots. Additionally, Curious Minds will offer care specifically for children with sensory and autistic needs. The final goal of the project is a partnership with a secondary location to provide weekend care for children ages infant through 12 years.
Explore Academy LLC
Offeror Name Community County Award
Dino Drop-In LLC Bozeman Gallatin $394,632

Dino Drop-In is expanding their drop-in model to 40 additional slots including 16 infant slots. The program partners with community nonprofits to offer vouchers and extended hours of care on nights and weekends. Dino Drop-In proposes screen-free activities and will use methods of conventional preschools, trained teachers, curated classrooms, and enriching environments to offer the highest quality of care.
Ekalaka Public Schools
Offeror Name Community County Award
Ekalaka Public Schools Ekalaka Carter $163,290

Ekalaka Public Schools proposes to start a new child care facility within the school for this heavily underserved area. The only child care facility in Carter County closed at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year. This proposal would mitigate lost services and positively impact the overall availability of child care services by providing a net increase of services in the community.
Evergreen Kids Corner Inc.
Offeror Name Community County Award
Evergreen Kids Corner Inc. Hamilton Ravalli $142,797

Through innovative collaboration, Evergreen Kids Corner plans to create affordable solutions by providing the community with quality childcare with age-appropriate education, summer enrichment opportunities, and field trips. The 12-week program includes extended hours at two learning sites with slots for over 40 children.
Family Promise of Gallatin Valley Inc.
Offeror Name Community County Award
Family Promise of Gallatin Valley Inc. Bozeman Gallatin $989,734

Rising Stars Early Learning Center, a program of Family Promise of Gallatin Valley, proposes an extension of existing services by opening space to increase enrollment for children aged 3-5, increasing hours of operation, and offering one weekend day each week, effectively creating an additional 40 child care slots, all of which will entail hiring additional staff members. Overall, this project proposes to create 56 affordable, high quality, child care early learning slots.
Flint Creek Childcare Co.
Offeror Name Community County Award
Flint Creek Childcare Co. Philipsburg Granite $1,000,000

Flint Creek Childcare, in collaboration with the Philipsburg Rotary Club, proposes to significantly increase available square footage in their facility, to expand their program to include infant care, increase general enrollment, and expand to weekend service hours. Flint Creek proposed the long-term goal of assisting other communities to expand services in the area.
Florence Crittenton Home and Services
Offeror Name Community County Award
Florence Crittenton Home & Services Helena Lewis & Clark $999,226

Florence Crittenton proposes to improve space in their newly acquired campus and to accommodate improved and expanded services for children, regardless of economic status or child's ability. To accommodate this, a new Child Enrichment Center will be located on the garden floor of the new campus with age-appropriate classrooms that will almost double Florence Crittenton Family Service’s current capacity from 26 to 48 children.
Great Beginnings Montessori School
Offeror Name Community County Award
Great Beginnings Montessori School Bozeman Gallatin $269,091

Great Beginnings Montessori proposes to expand child care slots and add hours of service on Fridays. Great Beginnings plans to offer scholarships to families and bonuses and raises for staff. Partnerships with community business provide under-served populations access to enrichment activities.
Great Falls Chamber of Commerce
Offeror Name Community County Award
Great Falls Chamber of Commerce Great Falls Cascade $413,904


This project will provide an inclusive early child care education, assessment, intervention, and prevention in a shared services one-stop-shop. The program, overseen by the Great Falls Chamber of Commerce will offer service for child care, mental and behavioral health, and services to children with disabilities. The model layers services to ensure children and family needs are met and services made affordable.

Greater Missoula Family YMCA
Offeror Name Community County Award
Greater Missoula Family YMCA Missoula Missoula $798,680

The Greater Missoula Family YMCA proposes to double their child care capacity, create a therapy room and hands-on learning spaces, and update their equipment. The YMCA uses a business-savvy approach to child care that utilizes multiple revenue streams to subsidize costs and provide affordable, quality child care to western Montana families.
Hodges Child Development Center DBA Kid Country CDC
Offeror Name Community County Award
Hodges Child Development Center DBA Kid Country CDC Billings Yellowstone $413,904

Hodges Child Development Center, Kid Kountry, is planning to build onto their 30 years of experience by adding a minimum of 30 additional preschool slots with the option for full day care. Additionally, the program is expecting to increase their service to children with special needs.
Immanuel Lutheran Communities
Offeror Name Community County Award
Immanuel Lutheran Communities Kalispell Flathead $869,770

Immanuel Lutheran Communities proposes to respond to documented community needs for infant and early childhood care during weekdays, as well as affordability of care, by offering subsidized care to its employees who use the center and provide opportunities for local business to reserve slots for their employees.
Jefferson Local Development Corporation
Offeror Name Community County Award
Jefferson Local Development Corporation Whitehall Jefferson $961,549

Jefferson Local Development Corporation and Whitehall Public Schools propose a collaborative effort to establish a quality, affordable child care center in Whitehall through an innovative program that is coordinated with Whitehall’s developing town master plan project. This plan proposes to create more than 60 new child care slots on Whitehall Public School property. The partners have been actively advancing this program within the community, promising strong local partnerships for a child care program in a central location.
Morningstar Learning Center
Offeror Name Community County Award
Morningstar Learning Center Big Sky Gallatin $413,904

Morningstar Learning Center plans to add 7 new infant slots and 4 new slots for children under two years old.  The program’s cross-sector collaboration proposes to establish a platform for quality childcare, family values, workforce support, and accessibility services.
Partnership Health Center
Offeror Name Community County Award
Partnership Health Center Missoula  Missoula  $522,178

Partnership Health Center (PHC) in Missoula proposes to create a Child Care Pilot Program to provide employer-sponsored, business-based child care to their health care workforce on a sliding fee scale to make care more affordable. This project is designed to be duplicated in other healthcare settings and aims to increase the overall availability of affordable, high-quality child care in the community.
Red Lodge Area Community Foundation
Offeror Name Community County Award
Red Lodge Area Community Foundation Red Lodge Carbon $465,330

Red Lodge Area Community Foundation proposes to meet the overwhelming need for childcare slots in the community by establishing and operating a childcare facility to meet the needs of families with infants and parents working evenings, nights, and weekends. The facility will offer programming to support children’s development of motor, learning, and social skills.
St. John's United
Offeror Name Community County Award
St. John's United Billings Yellowstone $970,000

St. John’s United in Billings represents a coalition of large businesses working together to develop an employer-subsidized, membership supported child development center. The state-of-the-art child development center will be embedded within a retirement community and will provide quality programming appropriate for child development inclusive of intergenerational experiences centered around the arts.
St. Peter's Health
Offeror Name Community County Award
St. Peter's Health Helena Lewis & Clark $1,000,000

St. Peter’s Health is designing and will construct a new facility on the campus of St. Peter’s Health that will increase the number of children served from 44 to 104. The design will accommodate the possibility of Phase II and III additions growing the total of children served to over 300 within the next five to seven years.
Supalla Inc.
Offeror Name Community County Award
Supalla Inc. Helena Lewis & Clark $413,904

Supalla, Discovery Kidzone, proposes a new facility in Helena offering extended hours of care and160 new child care slots including 24 slots for infants. The childcare center planned will have services based on play therapy studies to help children become more resilient, and indoor play area, parent education, and a parenting lending library.
The Birds Nest Inc.
Offeror Name Community County Award
The Birds Nest Inc. Kalispell Flathead $1,000,000

The Bird’s Nest is preparing to build a new child care center that will provide Flathead County families with an additional 48 slots for infants 0-2 years old and 72 slots for preschoolers 2-5 years old. Additionally, The Bird’s Nest will offer 32 slots for school aged students over the summer. With the current capacity of Flathead County child care programs unable to meet the care needs for children under age 6, this center will boost the local economy by helping up to 190 parents to return to work.
The Sunshine Academy Inc.
Offeror Name Community County Award
The Sunshine Academy Inc. Laurel & surrounding communities Yellowstone & surrounding counties $370,199

The Sunshine Academy is seeking to develop an in-home provider network program which assists new providers through the process of starting up and running their own child care program. These programs would specifically serve infants and toddlers and have the flexibility to operate during non-traditional hours. This program can be thought of as a “business in a box” that includes training and support to new providers in the implementation of policy, procedures, business practices, curriculum, standards, and enrollment.
The YWCA of Helena
Offeror Name Community County Award
The YWCA of Helena Helena Lewis & Clark $355,611

The YWCA Helena is expanding and professionalizing the Caterpillars Clubhouse. The program will become licensed for 22 children, 4 of which are infants age 0-24 months. The Caterpillars Clubhouse’s target population are families who earn less than 150% of the Federal Poverty Line, have experience in the foster care system, and who have experienced trauma. YWCA Helena is dedicated to providing childcare that exceeds standards and remains a resource for families to gain education or employment.
University of Montana Western
Offeror Name Community County Award
University of Montana Western Dillon Beaverhead $999,920

The University of Montana Western, Canvas Early Learning Center, and The Early Childhood Coalition of Beaverhead County/Zero to Five Chapter are partnering to expand licensed, quality infant and child care in Beaverhead County. The partners will expand the program from zero infants and toddlers to 16 infants and toddlers, and the total capacity for enrollment from 32 children to 50. As part of the innovative child care co-op model, they will offer an in-house sliding fee scale and target lower income families who do not meet eligibility criteria for the Best Beginnings scholarship offered by DPHHS.
Zero to Five - United Way of Missoula County
Offeror Name Community County Award
Zero to Five - United Way of Missoula County Missoula Missoula $413,904

United Way of Missoula County is offering the Missoula Child Care Advantage Project, a collaborative and innovative effort to increase the availability of quality child care slots in the community, especially slots serving infants, toddler, and serving hours outside the 9 am – 5 pm workday. The facility is located in the Cold Springs School and will use a shared-services approach to create 4 classrooms.