Iowa Growth Fund Program 2020

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The Growth Fund Program is an opportunity for child care directors, owners and home-based providers to write their own business plan within a highly supportive cohort. At no cost, participants receive group business training, group and one-on-one consulting, and a small grant to begin implementing the goals from their business plan.

Since 2008, the Growth Fund Program has helped child care businesses throughout Iowa move “to the next level” in their program quality, capacity, enrollment, and financial sustainability. To date, 47 child care businesses in Iowa have graduated from the program.

“The Growth Fund allowed us, as a business, to fully understand the profit and loss of our business. More importantly, the skills/information that we acquired from the Growth Fund aided us in making financial decisions which resulted in increased enrollment.”
–Natalie Kruse, Eldridge Preschool and Child Care, 2018 Growth Fund Graduate

Watch a brief video testimonial from another
Growth Fund Program graduate.
APPLICATIONS ARE BEING ACCEPTED through Wednesday, August 26, 2020.
Benefits of Participating in the Growth Fund Program include:

  • Receiving 4 hours of child care business training approved by Iowa DHS and National Administrator Credential (NAC).
  • Developing a business plan specifically for your program’s success.
  • Receiving financial and business consulting from First Children’s Finance staff.
  • Receiving grant funds to support your business plan goals. Child Care Centers will receive $1,500 and Registered Child Development Homes will receive $500.
  • Networking with peers.


An eligible applicant MUST:

  • Be located in Iowa.
  • Be a DHS Licensed Child Care Center/Preschool OR Registered Child Development Home.
  • Be in good standing with Iowa DHS.
  • Accept children on DHS Child Care Assistance.
  • Have operated a minimum of 1 year.
  • Intend to continue operating at least 4 years from the time of application.
  • Participate in or be willing to start the Iowa Quality Rating System (QRS).
  • Express a desire to increase licensed/registered capacity, quality, or financial sustainability.

First Children’s Finance considers assisting child care businesses serving any of the following demographics to be a priority as we consider applications:
Rural families
Low-income families
Families of color
Families with infants and toddlers
Participant Commitments
Selected child care Center Directors or Child Development Home Providers will be expected to:

  • Attend 2 online trainings.
  • Attend orientation plus 2 online cohort meetings.
  • Fully participate in a goal-setting session for your program facilitated by FCF staff.
  • Fully participate in consulting with FCF staff.
  • Spend grant funds and provide documentation within the specified time frame.

First Children’s Finance also requires the child care program Owner (Co-owners if appropriate), or Board Chair or Board Representative, to approve the application and attend orientation. These representatives will be welcome to attend all meetings and trainings.
Learn More
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Questions may be emailed through Monday, August 24 to
View a recording of the Informational Webinar Watch now.
Apply Now! Applications are due Wednesday, August 26, 2020. See the application instructions for more details and to access the form.
Funding Support
Funding for this Growth Fund Program cohort has been provided by Iowa Department of Human Services and Northwest Area Foundation.
Also See:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Growth Fund Application
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