Child Care Grants Through Greater Bemidji

Beltrami County is home to approximately 2,300 children under the age of five whose parents are actively engaged in the workforce (single working parent or two-parent households where both parents earn income). Ensuring working parents have access to quality child care choices is an important strategy to retain and grow the region’s workforce in an already tight labor market.   The availability of quality child care brings people into the workforce and enhances the desirability of the Bemidji region for working parents.  Yet, according to an analysis conducted by First Children’s Finance (2022), Beltrami County faces a gap of approximately 1,200 child care slots for children under five years of age, and this gap has remained consistent over the recent past.  (Note: this gap does not acknowledge care provided through other informal means, e.g. grandparents, other adult relatives, neighbors, etc, which national statistics suggest could represent approximately 21% of primary child care arrangements.)


In recognition of the importance child care plays in supporting economic development, Greater Bemidji sought and received funding through the Minnesota Department of Economic Development’s (DEED) Child Care Economic Development Grant program to help increase the number of child care slots in the region. Greater Bemidji will use this funding to provide matching grants to qualified organizations and individuals, including area businesses, non-profit organizations, child care centers, and family child care providers to open and operate or expand and operate child care services in the region.  Grants will be distributed using a request for proposal process.


Matching grants of up to $100,000 will be available, with priority given to proposals serving infants (six weeks to 12 months for family child care and six weeks to 16 months for child care centers) and toddlers (12 months to 24 months for family child care and 16 months to 33 months for child care centers). Grants are available to new providers, existing providers expanding capacity, or existing providers changing license type to increase slots available. Eligible use of grant funds include: building construction or renovation expenses, leasing costs, kitchen updates or required equipment, care center equipment/furnishings, and outdoor play space configuration or equipment.

Request for Proposal (RFP)

Proposals will be considered until funds are depleted. All proposal should include:

  • Amount of requested match (50% to be provided by grantee);
  • Proposal scope and overview, including children served (general community v. employees);
  • Expertise and experience of project team;
  • Plan to fund, construct, renovate, or expand child care facility, including location;
  • Plan to ensure facility complies with licensing requirements;
  • Project timeline;
  • Plan to operate the child care facility;
  • Staffing models and hours of care; and,
  • Breakdown of age of children served.
Bemidji Child Care


Priority will be given to proposals that expand care to infants and toddlers.  Criteria to be evaluated for grant distribution include:

  • Demonstrated experience or quality of plan to bring appropriate resources and knowledge  to the project;
  • Active child care center or family care license, or plan to obtain license approval;
  • Time frame and sustainability of project;
  • Grant funds per new available child care slot;
  • Number of new infant, toddler, preschooler child care slots created;
  • Number of new child care worker jobs created; and,
  • Number of existing child care worker jobs retained.

Please reach out to us with any questions!

email: or call (218) 444-5757.

How to Apply

Proposals addressing requested information (outlined in the RFP) can be sent to:


Greater Bemidji

Attn: Child Care Expansion Grant Proposal

102 First Street West, Suite 101

Bemidji, MN 56601

 - or -

Applicants may fill out our online application form (see link below)