Quality Facilities for All (QFA) is an IFF Initiative dedicated to the expansion, enhancement, and stabilization of infant and toddler programs in high-need communities across Illinois.
We aim to achieve these objectives by addressing facility quality concerns related to indoor air quality, temperature, ventilation, noise, lighting, classroom furnishing, and outdoor play areas. These factors contribute to high-quality learning environments, which are proven to positively impact infants’ and toddlers’ learning, development, and well-being.
QFA includes various components, and participants have the option to tap into these resources singly or in combination with one another, depending on their needs. To learn more about each component, click below or keep scrolling:
What’s included in the program — and how do I apply?
QFA includes two unique programs: a QFA Grant and Professional Development Program and a Technical Assistance Program. Please note that each component has different eligibility criteria. Participants have the option of tapping into these resources singly or in combination with one another, depending on each organization’s needs.
1. QFA Grant & Professional Development Program
The QFA Grants Program provides grants of up to $50,000 to early childhood education providers to expand infant-toddler capacity and/or enhance facility quality in these key areas: indoor air quality, temperature, ventilation, noise reduction, optimal lighting, and quality classroom furniture. The program also includes an eight-week professional and leadership development workshop series that focuses on enhancing provider knowledge on creating and maintaining high-quality facilities and developing sustainable financial practices. In 2022, the QFA Grant & Professional Development Program will focus on East St. Louis District 189, with more communities to come in 2023.
How to Apply: The application deadline for the QFA Grant & Professional Development Program has been extended! Applications are now due by 12pm CT on Friday, August 19. Click on the button below to apply.
Eligibility: Center-based providers serving infants, toddlers, and two’s (6 weeks – 35 months) are eligible to apply for the 2022 QFA Grant & Professional Development Program if they meet the following criteria:
- Have no current facilities-related licensing infractions
- In operation for 3+ years as either a nonprofit or for-profit provider
- Serve infants-toddlers from East St. Louis District 189
- For-profit programs: At least 50% of enrollment funded with subsidy (CCAP)
- Recommended: Posses a minimum of a Bronze rating in the ExeleRate Quality Rating System
2. QFA Technical Assistance Program
IFF will provide free technical assistance to support selected agencies applying to the State of Illinois’ Early Childhood Construction Grant (ECCG) Program. The IL ECCG Program is a state-sponsored initiative to invest in quality early childhood education facilities where they are most needed. The ECCG Program will award ECE providers $100 million in grants to support the renovation, expansion, and construction of new facilities to serve more children. QFA’s technical assistance may include: conducting site visits, developing a strong plan and proposal, ensuring all necessary documentation is prepared, providing architectural and/or design support, developing a budget, creating a floorplan, providing assistance in proving ownership, and more.
The IL ECCG Program application is now open and available through the IL Capital Development Board webpage! Applications are due by Monday, October 10, 2022. In the coming weeks, IFF will update our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Illinois Early Childhood Construction Grant Program.
Information Sessions Recording: To learn more about the IL ECCG Program application, as well as tips and advance on how to prepare a strong application, we encourage you to watch the following recording of an information session from early August 2022:
How to Apply: We are no longer accepting applications for the QFA Technical Assistance Program. The IL ECCG Program applications are available through the IL Capital Development Board webpage and are due by Monday, October 10, 2022. Please sign up for our ECE Updates in the sidebar to receive information and resources regarding the IL ECCG Program.
About our language translation: We welcome participation across all of Illinois’ communities, and we understand that many immigrant populations, while able to speak and listen in English, may still feel more comfortable reading and writing in their native language. That’s why we’re providing our webpage in Spanish and Polish.
We also want to be clear that all training sessions and other program activities, including any Q&A with our staff, will be offered exclusively in English, and program participants should be proficient in English reading, writing, and speaking.
Resources for Providers
Graphic: Quality Matters in Early Childhood Learning Spaces
Feel free to download and share this graphic!
Graphic: How Facility Architecture Impacts Brain Architecture
Feel free to download and share this graphic!