Washington State is short thousands of early learning centers, and we must effectively create new childcare and preschool centers at scale to meet our families’ needs.

The Washington Early Learning Loan (WELL) Fund provides catalytic funding to nurture the growth of early learning facilities across Washington State

We are providing funding in the form of:

Together we can grow the availability of early learning facilities in our communities, where the children need them

With funding from the State of Washington, the Ballmer Group, the Seattle Foundation, and private sources, the WELL Fund prioritizes:

  • Centers that add working connections childcare and/or ECEAP slots to serve low-income families
  • Centers in low-income neighborhoods and areas of unmet need
  • Mixed-use developments
  • Both rural and urban locations

The WELL Fund combines the work of these Community Development Financial Institutions:

WELL Fund partner logos

Business Loans to Early Learning Providers

  • Up to $500,000
  • Below market interest rates

Providing for

  • Startup expenses for creating or expanding early learning centers
  • Facilities improvements for owned or leased space
  • Furnishing and equipment

Real Estate Loans to Early Learning Center Developers

  • Up to $2,000,000
  • Up to 17-year term
  • Subordinate low cost debt

Providing for:

  • New construction of early learning facilities
  • Financing for non-profit developers incorporating early learning facilities into a mixed-use development

Predevelopment and Technical Assistance to create Early Learning Facilities

  • Loans up to $100,000, up to 5 years, convertible to long term financing
  • Recoverable grant or subordinate loan up to $20,000

Providing for:

  • Facilities planning expertise to early learning providers
  • Predevelopment services for developers hosting early learning centers

WELL Fund Impact

Since launching, the WELL Fund has successfully supported several early learning providers through the following:

  • Predevelopment Loans
  • Construction/Renovation Loans
  • Tenant Improvement Loans
  • Small business loans
  • Acquisition Loans
  • Planning/Predevelopment Grants
  • COVID-19 Emergency Renovation Grants

Ensuring Success and Sustainability

The WELL Fund additionally offers technical assistance for early learning providers on the journey of expansion and construction of new facilities. This includes:

  • Licensing standards in accordance to the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) and the Washington Administrative Code (WAC)
  • Project technical assistance such as: timeline, permitting, development, and construction
  • Small Business technical assistance
  • Connections to other resources, business supports, and funding opportunities


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