For Immediate Release
Friday, April 12, 2019

State Board releases Early Childhood Block Grant Request for Proposals

​FY 2020 grant will increase access to early childhood services for children from birth to age 5

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the fiscal year 2020 Early Childhood Block Grant, which includes funding for Prevention Initiative, Preschool for All, and Preschool for All Expansion. Grants will increase access to early health and learning services for children from birth to age 5, pending appropriations by the General Assembly. The grant will fund only the expansion or creation of Prevention Initiative, Preschool for All, and Preschool for All Expansion programs and will prioritize programs that propose to serve children in areas with fewer resources. Chicago Public Schools will receive a separate grant for early childhood services, so this RFP will fund only programs outside the City of Chicago. 

Governor JB Pritzker and ISBE requested that the General Assembly appropriate an additional $100 million for early childhood services statewide in FY 2020. ISBE estimates the FY 2020 Early Childhood Block Grant may serve an additional 14,000 children across the three grant programs, if the General Assembly increases the state’s investment in Illinois’ youngest learners.

“We see gaps in children’s early math and literacy skills and social-emotional development before they even begin elementary school,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “Illinois’ children deserve a level playing field. They deserve opportunities to explore their strengths and talents that are not based on the resources in the neighborhoods where they were born. 

“The Early Childhood Block Grant funding expands access to supports that will make a lasting difference for children, families, and the social and economic health of Illinois. The State Board is grateful for Governor Pritzker’s support of increasing funding for early learning.”

ISBE will give priority to awardable proposals from entities that propose to offer services to children who reside in Evidence-Based Funding Tier 1 or Tier 2 district boundaries and that can document a local gap in service provision in their area. After all proposals from Tiers 1 and 2 have been funded, ISBE will consider proposals from Tiers 3 and 4 based on the evidence of need and their scores. Proposals that score under 60 points will not be funded. (View FY 2019 EBF Tiers at

The RFP explicitly details the required components of the application and the evaluation criteria. View a fact sheet on improvements ISBE made to the RFP to increase clarity and equity for applicants at ISBE will host a webinar for bidders in approximately two weeks. provides resources on effective grant writing at

The grant application is open to currently funded and new Early Childhood Block Grant applicants from public or private not-for-profit or for-profit entities with experience in providing educational, health, social, and/or child development services to young children and their families.

The grant will provide funding for four years. Funding for each of the last three years will be contingent on a sufficient appropriation by the General Assembly and satisfactory progress in the preceding year.

Interested applicants may access the request for proposals at​. Applications are due to ISBE no later than June 10, 2019.