020624KP5739 Villivalam

SPRINGFIELD – To provide additional access to Illinois' Early Childhood Construction Grant program, State Senator Ram Villivalam passed legislation out of the Senate Education Committee that would make community-based not-for-profits eligible for $40 million in grant funds.

“Early childhood organizations provide necessary assistance to families across Illinois who are struggling to access child care resources,” said Villivalam (D-Chicago). “With this legislation, we are able to provide opportunities for nonprofit organizations in our community to be eligible for grants that would significantly assist them with providing better learning environments for our youth.”

This new legislation, Senate Bill 2675, would remove a provision specifying that grants made in fiscal year 2024 could be awarded only to public school districts.

"On behalf of the 37 programs that make up JUF’s Early Childhood Collaborative, including the Bernard Horwich JCC, we know that access to infrastructure dollars is critical to building care environments that are accessible, safe, and promote healthy development,” said Amy Zimmerman, Assistant Vice President, State Government Affairs, Jewish United Fund.

This would give the Capital Development Board the ability to approve Early Childhood Construction Grants for nonprofit early childhood entities in the state — broadening eligibility to new providers, including nonprofits that rent or lease their space from another nonprofit entity.

“Expanding our resources to nonprofits that specialize in early childhood education gives residents more opportunities to access the care they need,” Villivalam said. “I will continue to support our child care organizations and advocate for them to get the resources they need to continue serving Illinois families.”

Senate Bill 2675 passed the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday and heads to the floor for further deliberation.