Grant Opportunity For Early Language & Literacy Development - Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Grant Opportunity For Early Language & Literacy Development

An early education classroom where two adults are on a playmat with two young children. One adult is high-fiving one of the children. We focus on early childhood education because these years make a big difference in a child's life. Photo credit: Stephanie Secrest / Lotus Bloom

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation announces the launch of Early Care Spaces. This new program will provide grants of up to $100,000 to support organizations promoting early language and literacy development for Oakland children from birth to five years old. Applications will be accepted from July 29 through August 19.

Research suggests that the opportunity to help children grow and improve literacy is greatest from early care through second grade. The Rainin Foundation supports equitable approaches to literacy during these early years. Early Care Spaces commemorates our 15th anniversary of formal grantmaking and honors our vision of a world where all Oakland children read at or above grade level by third grade. This will be an annual program that aims to advance work that focuses on: 

  • Supporting children to expand their vocabulary and comprehension skills and increase confidence in listening and speaking.  
  • Opportunities that recognize parents and caregivers as leaders in their children’s education and increase their capacity to support early literacy.  
  • Career advancement and upskilling for Black early care providers to lead language-rich, developmentally appropriate and culturally affirming care.  

Early Care Spaces Grant Priorities

Oakland’s early care funding landscape is shifting due to an influx of public dollars; however, gaps and needs still exist, particularly in informal care. The Rainin Foundation aims to support these needs through this funding opportunity. The Early Care Spaces grant program will prioritize the following:

  • Early care provided outside of traditional education systems, including family resource centers and community spaces. While traditional systems (e.g., public and private preschools or Head Start programs) do not qualify for this opportunity, organizations that partner with them are welcome to apply.  
  • Programs with deep connections to informal care providers or Family, Friend and Neighbor care.  
  • Diverse organizations and providers that reflect the neighborhood and communities they serve.  
  • Work that is happening in the Oakland flatlands, especially neighborhoods experiencing disinvestment and the displacement of BIPOC communities.

Ask Us Questions

We’re hosting a pre-application webinar about this new funding opportunity to answer your questions. It will be recorded and posted to our website for those who are unable to attend live.

In addition, Education Program Staff are hosting office hours:

How To Apply For This Grant

Applying for an Early Care Spaces grant is a two-stage process. 

  1. Stage One: Applications are submitted to share brief organization and project information. These will be accepted online from July 29 through August 19, 2024, at 11:59 PM (PST). Applications will be reviewed by the Foundation’s Education Program Team.
  2. Stage Two: Selected applicants will be notified by September 9 and invited to submit a full proposal by Monday, September 30, 2024, at 11:59 PM (PST). If needed, application technical assistance will be provided to organizations with annual budgets under $1 million.

We encourage you to read the Early Care Spaces funding criteria, eligibility requirements, guidelines and frequently asked questions.

Important Grant Application Dates

  • Pre-Application Webinar: Tuesday, July 9, 9-10 AM (PST). Reserve your spot  
  • Office Hours: July 22 – July 26, 2024. Book your 30-minute slot
  • Stage One Application: July 29 – August 19, 2024, at 11:59 PM (PST)
  • Stage Two Full Proposal (by invitation only): September 9 – 30, 2024, at 11:59 PM (PST)
  • Award Notification: November 10, 2024
  • Grant Period: Starts January 1, 2025, and grantees can choose a 12-month or 24-month grant period.  

About The Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Kenneth Rainin Foundation is a family foundation that collaborates with creative thinkers in the Arts, Education and Health. We believe in taking smart risks to achieve breakthroughs. In 2024, the Foundation is celebrating 15 years of formal grantmaking that supports visionary artists in the Bay Area, creates opportunities for Oakland’s youngest learners and funds researchers on the forefront of scientific discoveries. Since 2009, the Foundation has awarded over $46 million in funding to support evidenced-based practices to help children become confident, capable and joyful learners. Learn more about the Rainin Foundation’s grantmaking.