Capital Improvement Grants - Qualistar

Capital Improvement Grants

Early childhood education programs often operate on tight profit margins and many lack the budgetary flexibility required for costly improvements to the building, classroom, or playground. Qualistar’s grants are competitive opportunities for early childhood education programs and offer important capital improvement funding.

Apply for a grant

Why Learning Environments Matter

Environmental psychology and architectural researchers have shown a correlation between school design and student achievement and teacher retention. Children need well-designed spaces to promote active learning and in an industry challenged to retain experienced teachers, facilities can contribute to a positive work environment, and enhance job satisfaction. High-quality learning environments also convey a sense of value while creating a setting where children are able to thrive.

Well-designed facilities can:

  • Enhance child development and quality
  • Provide a positive workplace in a field challenged by high turnover
  • Encourage family involvement


We award capital improvement grants throughout the year for both indoor and outdoor improvement projects. For some grants, applicants must show evidence of matching dollars or other sources of funding for the project. We encourage you to review the requirements for each grant and find the one or more that best meets your need. To ensure applicants are prepared and understand the guidelines, we host several informational webinars to guide potential applicants through the process.

Capital Improvement Grants

Qualistar Capital Improvement Grant

This grant is for Colorado-based 501(c)(3) organizations that serve children younger than age five and are in need of permanent facility improvements.

Download Application

Health and Safety Checklist
Learning Environment Readiness Checklist Chart
QCap Completion Report Template

Application Deadline: We are not accepting applications at this time

Healthy Beginnings, Active Futures Grant

This grant is for Colorado-based nonprofit and for profit early childhood education programs, including family child care, that serve children younger than age five and are in need of outdoor facility improvements.

Please note there are two different applications for this round. If you are a family child care provider, please select the family child care application. Webinars will also be separate. Please contact Shannon Hall with any questions.

Download Application (Center-based)

Download Application (Family Child Care)

Completion Report Template

Application Deadline: We are not accepting applications at this time


We welcome your questions about capital improvement grants for education before you apply.
Please contact us at

Early Childhood Health Outdoors

Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO)

Healthy. Natural. Affordable. These are the foundations of Colorado’s ECHO Initiative. ECHO strives to ensure all young children in Colorado have daily access to quality outdoor learning environments where play and learning support development across all domains. The Initiative includes grants, training, and landscape design assistance.

To learn about the various ways to become involved in the ECHO Initiative, please visit and review ECHO: Eligibility and Information .

The next request for applications to be a Seed Grant Site will be available on January 7, 2019 on  


Training Opportunities:


Training at ECHO Demonstration Sites:

Are you interested in learning more about engaging young children in outdoor spaces?  Join us at ECHO Demonstration Sites for trainings for early childhood professionals.  Participants will gain first-hand knowledge to begin to naturalize their outdoor settings and hands on experience to learn how to work with children outdoors.

No trainings are currently scheduled.  Please check back soon for updated training opportunities.


Creating Dynamic Outdoor Spaces for Young Children: Supporting Implementation Training

As early childhood professionals, we recognize the importance of the outdoors for the cognitive, physical, and social emotional development of young children.  However, in many child care programs the outdoor play space for young children is often overlooked and underutilized.  In this 3-hour hands-on training, you will learn how to assess and analyze an outdoor space, be able to identify best practices in outdoor learning environments and begin to reimagine the outdoors into a dynamic, flexible and natural environment that engages children.  The tools and experiences from this training will allow you to support child care programs in various settings and help ensure young children have access to high quality outdoor learning environments.

Training Outline:

Part I – Site Analysis: Learn how to assess and anaylze an outdoor play space by using the Preschool Outdoor Environment Measurement (POEMS) Scale.

Part II – Best Practices: Using the Preventing Obesity by Design model, participants will learn about activity settings and ways to promote physical activity in the outdoor environment.

Part III – Action Planning: Learn how to break down large goals into meaningful and manageable incremental change, and use community mapping to identify resources and local supports.

Audience: Directors, Coaches, Child Care Health Consultants, Licensing Specialists, Lead Teachers

This training is provided at no cost to participants.

Upcoming Opportunities: 

Fort Collins

Date and Time: Saturday, December 8, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Location: Early Childhood Council of Larimer County, 2850 McClelland Dr #3400, Fort Collins, CO 80525

Click here to register.


2018 Annual ECHO Summit:

Thank you to all who attended the ECHO Summit.  It was inspiring and motivating to see so many individuals dedicated to improving their outdoor spaces for young children.


Join us for a specialized training for family child care providers:  

Are you interested in learning natural and affordable ways you can engage children in outdoor spaces in your family child care home?  Join us for Nature Play at Home to learn how to implement a naturalized outdoor learning environment in your own backyard.  Participants will gain hands on knowledge of different play settings they can add to their outdoor spaces and easy ways to create a dynamic and engaging outdoor space.  Each participant will leave with materials to start implementing right away.  Click on the link below for more details and to register.

We do not have a Nature Play at Home scheduled at the moment.  When one is scheduled, it will be posted here.


If you have questions regarding ECHO, please email

This opportunity is available through a partnership between Qualistar, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Natural Learning Initiative. To learn more, please visit

Recent Recipients

Changing early childhood education, one place at a time.

On behalf of the board of directors, staff, and the families we serve, thank you for your grant award to Family Star to support our renovation and relocation to a new building. Your gift truly helped launch our capital campaign and has inspired other foundations and individuals to make contributions- further increasing the impact of your gift! It is through support of organizations like yours that Family Star has been able to provide an inclusive Montessori education program to Denver children, in addition to a wide range of family support services for over 20 years…and will continue to do so for many more.

Ginny Trierweiler, Ph.D.
President & CEO
Family Star Montessori School

The changes to the Toddler classroom have been an uplifting and empowering experience for our whole school. We could not be happier with the results and are thrilled to be able to provide quality Montessori education to these young children in a functional, safe space. We are truly thankful to Qualistar for this opportunity.

Montessori School
Chaffee County

A teacher observed, “the transformation in the Big Room is significant due to the installation of new lights. The most dramatic change is the absence of a constant buzz emitted from old lights. The sound was an irritant and we now have a more peaceful and calm environment. The new lights also give an even brightness to our space. Very cheerful and welcoming!” On behalf of the Board of Trustees, staff, families, and children we serve, thank you for your grant award to Paddington Station Preschool to upgrade lighting at our school.

Deb Deverell, Ph.D., Head of School
Paddington Station Preschool