Benefits for Providers and Educators

What is a Quality Improvement Grant?

Quality Improvement Grants (QI Grants) were made possible through Michigan's Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant. To date, a total of $6,523,046 has been awarded to 1,593 child care programs and providers across the state, in support of the achievement of Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant’s goal: Supporting purposeful efforts to increase quality and ensure that greater numbers of children with high needs are able to access high-quality early learning and development programs.  With the awarded funds, early childhood programs and providers were able to purchase high quality early learning materials which supported their program’s Quality Improvement Plan goals. 

Quality Improvement Grant and all related materials were made available through a grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Education and U.S. Department of Education.

What is the Current Status of Funding?

Funding to support Cycle 3 applicants who originally received an approval letter for delayed funding was identified from Michigan’s Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) budget. As of July 2018, all funding for Cycle 3 applicants has been expended.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if my child care program closes after I received or purchased materials and equipment from one of these opportunities?

If your child care program closes, please call your local Great Start to Quality Resource Center at 1-877-614-7328 to make appropriate accommodations for donating the award materials to another child care program in Michigan.


Will the Early Childhood Investment Corporation provide tax documentation to providers who received an Early Learning Award, Quality Improvement Grant, and/or Participation Bonus?

Providers awarded an incentive will not receive a 1099 or any other type of tax documentation from ECIC as it is unnecessary due to the nature of the funding.  Please note, it is recommended that awardees keep their own documentation of the award(s) they received from ECIC.  For further support, it is recommended that providers consult their tax advisor or preparer.


Who can I contact for support with faulty or broken items that I received as part of my Early Learning Award or Quality Improvement Grant?

Please contact the Kaplan Early Learning Company at 1-800-334-2014 to resolve any issues related to the items you received as part of your Early Learning Award. 


Why did I receive a letter from the Early Childhood Investment Corporation with a total awarded amount from 2018?

The purpose of the letter received regarding your Great Start to Quality award amount is to help meet Federal grant requirements.  There is nothing specific that you need to do with this letter and will likely be kept simply as records for your child care program.  You may also choose to provide this to your tax preparer.  


Community Based Grant Opportunities to Consider

In order to assist providers who were anticipating applying for future grant cycles, Great Start to Quality has provided a list of potential opportunities for other funding.  Please note these are not in any way endorsed by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation, and are only being shared as additional options to consider.  Please review all eligibility criteria, as some grant opportunities are only available to specific types of providers, and during certain times of the year.

Great Start to Quality will continue to share possible grant opportunities for child care providers in Michigan!  Please continue to visit to explore potential opportunities. makes getting help easy for any teacher with a classroom in need, moving us closer to a nation where students in every community have the tools and experiences they need for a great education.

Right now, PNC Grow Up Great® is matching all donations to qualifying pre-K and Head Start projects in Michigan!  PNC believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and are dedicated to providing innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children’s learning and development.

Eligibility Checklist

  • All requested resources must be used by students or directly provide a student experience.
  • The request must be appropriate to your school (i.e., if your school can only service PC computers, you should request that type of resource).

  • The project cannot foster discrimination or proselytize a religious or political viewpoint.
  • Costs of labor, capital improvements to the school or grounds, vehicle purchases, salaries, or royalty/rental fees may not be requested.
  • We encourage teachers to submit projects that can be carried out at any time during the school year, as it can take anywhere from four minutes to four months for a project to be fully funded.

To review the eligibility requirements and guidelines, visit their website!

The Walmart Foundation offers their Community Grant Program tht awards grants ranging from $250 to $2,500 through each of their facilities (Walmart Stores, Sam's Clubs and Logistic Facilities).  Eligible nonprofit organizations must operate on the local level (or be an affiliate/chapter of a larger organization that operates locally) and directly benefit the service area of the facility which they are requesting funds.  Organizations must submit an online application to be considered for funding.  The 2017 grant cycle begins February 1, 2017 and the application deadline is December 31, 2017.  Applications may be submitted at any time during this funding cycle and organizations may submit up to 25 applications.

Eligibility Checklist

Organizations applying must meet one of the following criteria:

  • An organization holding a current tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3), (4), (6) or (19) of the Internal Revenue Code, listed on the IRS Master File and conduct activities within the United States;
  • A recognized government entity: state, county, or city agency, including law enforcement or fire departments, that are requesting funds exclusively for public purposes;
  • A K-12 public or private school, charter school, community/junior college, state/private college or university; or
  • A church or other faith-based organization with a proposed project that benefits the community at large such as food pantries, soup kitchens, clothing closets, etc.

To review the Walmart Foundation eligibility requirements and guidelines, visit their website! 

United Way is a world-wide organization whose mission is to "improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good."  Their focus is on education, income and health- the building blocks for a good quality of life and a strong community.  Each local United Way supports their communities with grants based on that focus.  Because your local United Way operates independently, they have their own time frames for grant applications and their own criteria for eligibility.

You can find more information about the United Way orgranization and find your local United Way location and website at  Your local United Way website will have information regarding programs they have supported in the past as well as information and guidelines for any upcoming grant opportunities.