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

Application Deadline: Friday, March 23, 2018.
Qualistar awards this grant twice a year—in the spring and fall.

Learn how to apply at an upcoming technical assistance webinar. Click to register. 

January 19, 2018 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
February 16, 2018 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
March 2, 2018 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
March 14, 2018 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

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)

Application Deadline: Friday, April 20, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.
Qualistar awards this grant twice a year.

Learn how to apply at an upcoming technical assistance webinar. Click to register. 

For center-based programs: From 1:00p.m. to 1:45p.m.
February 8, 2018 
March 9, 2018 
March 30, 2018 
April 11, 2018

For Family Child Care Providers: From 2:00p.m. to 2:45p.m.
February 8, 2018
March 9, 2018
March 30, 2018
April 11, 2018




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

Early Childhood Health Outdoors Initiative

Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO) Initiative

Healthy. Natural. Affordable. These are the foundations of Colorado’s ECHO Initiative. The ECHO Initiative 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 the ECHO: Eligibility and Information .

Seed Grant Site applications will be available on Monday, March 26. Please check back on this date to access the application.

If you have questions regarding the Initiative, please email or call 303-339-6822.

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

To learn more about the ECHO Initiative and the application process, please register for one of the following webinars.

For Licensed Child Care Centers and Preschools:

Tuesday, April 3, 1:00 p.m.-1:45 p.m.

Monday, April 9, 5:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

For Publicly Accessible Sites:

Wednesday, April 4, 1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Tuesday, April 10, 5:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Save the Date! The Second Annual ECHO Summit will be Saturday, October 13, 2018.  Registration and event details will be available soon.

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