Our Grants


In 2021, the Early Educator Investment Collaborative announced six award recipients in support of partnerships between institutions of higher education (IHEs) and states/territories/tribal nations to transform their preparation programs for early educators, break down systemic barriers to education for people of color, and increase financial assistance and compensation for students studying to be early educators. The grants will strengthen programs that prepare early care and education (ECE) teachers through a competency-based bachelor’s degree. The grantees also link to state or tribal nation efforts to increase funding for ECE students and compensation for teachers post-graduation. In 2022, The Collaborative announced two additional award recipients, Salish Kootenai College and University of Nebraska. In total, $15,668,411 has been awarded through this grant program, which includes aligned funding from partner funders.

The Collaborative prioritized IHEs that are minority-serving institutions (MSIs), those that partner with two-year community colleges, and applicants that offered detailed and viable plans. The grantees are as follows:

  • California State University, Sacramento (UP-LIFT California): To engage a coalition of CSU campuses, community colleges, state agencies, and provider partners to revise the current ECE lead teacher curriculum with an emphasis on supporting Dual Language Learners, develop an ECE program of study peer review process, develop and pilot an observation-based competency-assessment tool, and address workforce diversity, compensation, and related issues.
  • College of Menominee Nation: To offer a continuum of educational pathways, create a culturally responsive induction program, expand the array of course delivery options, and incorporate supports such as tutoring, counseling, and mentoring to improve ECE program delivery.
  • Georgia State University (Project SEED): To create career pathways to increase the quantity and quality of culturally and linguistically diverse, appropriately compensated ECE professionals and augment a professional development partnership model to leverage the expertise of experienced teachers, and train novice education professionals through shared goals, professional mentorship, and collaborative strategies.
  • North Seattle College: To augment its associate and bachelor’s degree ECE programs by offering certificates in Spanish, Arabic, and Somali, focusing on anti-bias education, piloting community-based cohorts for ECE providers across the state, and creating supported education pathways for the workforce, from entry level through graduate school.
  • Salish Kootenai College: To strengthen a robust, rigorous, and uniquely integrative Indigenous Early Childhood Teacher Preparation Program, integrate Indigenous language and cultural content across curricula, assure clinical field experiences for students, and promote innovative delivery models for degree and certificate programs for early childhood educators.
  • University of Colorado Denver: To facilitate a coalition of IHEs in Colorado that fosters systems reforms that address access to and quality of degrees, engages in research related to ECE workforce preparation, and influences policy change within and across multiple state agencies specific to teacher credentialing and licensure, credit for prior learning, and compensation.
  • University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Early Childhood Educator Excellence and Equity Project (ECE³): To build the capacity of Hawaiʻi’s ECE teacher preparation and career pathways, including accessible competency-based bachelor’s and associate degree programs linked to coordinated student support innovations and a plan for competitive compensation for lead teachers.
  • University of Nebraska (RESPECT): To build a competency-based framework that defines common expectations across all early childhood settings; develop accessible pathways and support mechanisms, with a focus on addressing the needs of three distinct underserved communities in the state, to ensure all members of Nebraska’s early childhood workforce have equitable opportunities; and collaborate with local communities to ensure the curriculum and pathways are implemented in ways that are contextually grounded and culturally relevant.


Learning Community

To support our grantees in this work, The Collaborative engaged School Readiness Consulting (SRC) to develop a learning community to foster peer learning and collective problem-solving. In collaboration with grantees, SRC designed a learning community space to support, inform, and generate dialogue to ensure successful implementation of the innovative work being done by each of the grantee teams across the nation. Access learning community newsletters, expert lectures, and session details here.

Grantee Webinars

Our April 4, 2023, webinar featured the work of three of The Collaborative’s Transforming Early Educator Lead Teacher Preparation Programs Through Multi-Partner Innovation grantees: North Seattle College, Salish Kootenai College, and the University of Colorado, Denver. The session explored the role of higher education in leveraging philanthropic dollars to build capacity in public ECE workforce systems. VIEW RECORDING.

In our March 2022 webinar, we heard from the California, Colorado, and Georgia grantee partnership teams about the unique state context under which their work is operating, the innovations they are implementing for lead teacher preparation, and the implications for systemic change as a result of the work. VIEW RECORDING.