Early Learning Capacity Grants


  • Physical Space and Facilities

Burlington, Vermont

Since 2018, through the City of Burlington’s Early Learning Initiative (ELI) Capacity Grant Program, child care providers have been eligible for grant funding for construction and capital improvements to public or commercial buildings so that they can serve more infants and toddlers.

The ELI grants fund projects that increase the availability of high-quality infant and toddler child care slots for children from Burlington families of all income levels. From 2018 to 2022, the Capacity Grant program awarded $785,000 to help create three new child care centers, support construction and capital improvements, and stabilize 166 enrolled spots at high-quality child care centers. 

The ELI has increased access to high-quality child care for low-income Burlington children by providing scholarships and creating additional spots in high-quality childcare programs in Burlington for children from birth to three years old. The Capacity Grants are a component of that effort, focused on increasing the number of infant and toddler child care slots available in the City of Burlington.

The ELI was founded in 2017 to help all Burlingtonians access high-quality, affordable child care, specifically for infants and toddlers. ELI achieves this by (1) giving direct financial support to families in need through the First Steps Scholarship, and (2) supporting childcare centers in individual and organizational learning.


City of Burlington Early Learning Initiative. (n.d.). Programs for Child Care Providers.

City of Burlington Early Learning Initiative. (2021). Capacity Grant Application.

Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:

High-quality, affordable early education and care supports children’s healthy development and allows families to work, engage in their own educational pursuits, and/or participate in other aspects of community life. To support children and families in these instrumental ways, research suggests there is a need to expand the availability of early education opportunities across the mixed-delivery system.

Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:

  • Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
  • But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply.
Learn More about ELS@H Findings

Learn more about Burlington

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  • The city population is 44,595
  • The percentage of children under age 5 is 3.7%
  • The median household income is $59,331