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Learning Environments and Capital Grants

All early care and education programs operate on tight profit margins and many lack the budgetary flexibility required for costly improvements to the building, classroom or playground. Oftentimes, health-and safety-related facilities improvements or emergencies – such as new sink plumbing or a broken HVAC system – make long-term budgeting a challenge.

Qualistar’s capital improvement grant program is a competitive grant opportunity for nonprofit early care and education programs.

Qualistar awards grants twice a year – in the spring and fall. All applicants must show evidence of a matching grant or other source of funding for the project, and applications with the required documentation must be received by the deadline. Qualistar hosts informational webinars to guide potential applicants through the process and to explain grant guidelines. Past grant-funded projects have included parking lot resurfacing, new lighting. Read more about the grant application process.

Why Learning Environments Matter

Environmental psychology and architectural research has shown a correlation between school design and both 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, enhancing job satisfaction.

High-quality learning environments also convey a sense of value while creating a setting in which children are able to thrive. Facilities improvements that may not be considered essential, such as replacing too-bright lighting, can dramatically change a child’s learning experience as well as a teacher’s experiences in the workplace.

A well-designed facility can:

  • enhance child development and quality.
  • encourage family involvement.
  • provide a positive workplace in a field challenged by high turnover. 

 Grant Application Process

  1. Confirm your organization and project are eligible

    This grant is for Colorado-based 501(c)(3) organizations, serving children ages birth-5, that are in need of permanent facility improvements. For questions regarding eligibility, please email us
  2. Attend an informational webinar  

    December 6, 1-2 p.m. RSVP Online

    January 10, 1-2 p.m. RSVP Online

    February 9, 1-2 p.m. RSVP Online

    February 21, 1-2 p.m. RSVP Online

  3. Complete the application and supporting documents

    Download the application.

    Programs applying for a Healthy and Safety grant must complete a Health & Safety Checklist. Programs applying for a Small Project grant must complete a Health & Safety Checklist and Learning Environment Checklist.

    Download the Health & Safety Checklist.

    Download the Learning Environment Checklist.

  4. Calculate your match

    To learn more about calculating your match please download the information sheet for your grant category; Health and Safety Grants, Small Grants, Medium GrantsLarge Grants or Match At A Glance.               
  5. We welcome your questions before you apply

    Email us or call (303) 339-6814 if you have questions.
  6. Mail or hand deliver by 5 p.m., Friday, March 3, 2017 one original application and five copies to:

    Qualistar Colorado, - 3607 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Denver, CO 80205.

Please note: Do not submit application or copies in binders, folders, etc. Paper clips, butterfly clips, etc. are acceptable.

Qualistar's capital improvement grant program is made possible by the following foundations

                Anschutz Foundation


A few words from past recipients:

"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."

Chaffee County Montessori School

"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