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AccelerateCT Innovation Grants

Grants to Connecticut Nonprofits, Agencies, Centers, and Camps
for Educational Summer Programs in the Wake of COVID-19

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

05/10/21 5:00 PM EST


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Grants to Connecticut nonprofits, childcare centers, youth camps, education agencies, and community-based organizations for educational summer programming for children and youth. Funding is intended to address scholastic deficits caused during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Priority will be given to those organizations that serve traditionally underserved communities and that demonstrate an ability to serve a significantly greater number of students.

The purpose of the AccelerateCT Summer Program Innovation Grants is to provide students, especially those from traditionally underserved communities, with access to bold, highest-quality, and innovative summer programming. The funding can be used for expanding existing programs or creating a new program to serve students who might otherwise not have access to summer camp/programs, with an emphasis on programs that can serve students regionally or statewide. Programs must be evidence-based and demonstrate, either through available research, prior program data, or by other means, a superior record of improving student outcomes. 

The Innovation Grant program will award programmatic and operational funding to organizations that can serve Connecticut children at scale, provide holistic learning opportunities that blend educational and enrichment components, and remove financial and other types of barriers that have typically precluded participation. These grants will be awarded to organizations with a clear record of providing excellent summer learning opportunities for students, particularly for students from traditionally underserved communities.

Programs should respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs and address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on student subgroups (each major racial and ethnic group, children from low-income families, children with disabilities, English learners, gender, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care). Applicants are encouraged to take a community-wide approach in developing their application and partner with other stakeholders in their communities or regions to strengthen the opportunities available to children and youth.

For program requirements, see:

Funding may only be used for students between the ages of 5 and 18, with the exception that programs may serve youth with special needs still enrolled in their school district up to their 22nd birthday. Funding can be used to pay for staff, however, increasing staff salary without serving a greater number of students is prohibited. Up to 40% of requested funds can be used for transportation. Funding may be used to offer subsidies to reduce enrollment fees. As noted in the RFP, it is strongly encouraged that programs prioritize students who are eligible for free- or reduced-price lunch (FRL) for subsidies.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 195876

Number of Grants:

The number of grants funded will depend on the number of applicants and funds available.

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Applicants can apply for grants between $50,000 and $250,000.
- Applicants should only apply for the amount that they are certain they will be able to spend efficiently during the grant period.

Term of Contract:

Time Period: June 1, 2021 – September 3, 2021

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Only programs that are based in Connecticut are eligible to apply for this funding.

- Non-profit organizations with a current, valid child care center or youth camp license from the Office of Early Childhood (OEC); or
(Note: OEC licensed programs can only request funding for sites with existing licenses with school-age care endorsements. Sites licensed to serve only children ages five and under may not apply.)
- License-exempt child care center/youth camp operated by a (A) municipal agency; (B) private or independent school; or (C) are organizations that are specifically exempted by name in the statute (Sec. 19a-77); or
- Local education agencies (LEAs) that received less than $50,000 in Elementary and Secondary Emergency School Relief Fund II (ESSER II) funding; or
- License-exempt non-profit community-based organizations (CBOs) for programs serving exclusively youth ages sixteen or older; or
- A partnership led by one of the above eligible organizations, working together with other non-profit organizations, municipal agencies, local and regional boards of education, Regional Educational Service Centers (RESCs), charter schools, or magnet schools.

Private and independent schools and faith-based organizations are eligible to apply only if the program is open to all children and not just those who are of a particular faith, enrolled in a particular school or members of the applicant organization.

License-exempt programs that do not receive Care 4 Kids must submit as part of their application a letter signed by the Municipal Lead Administrator or the Private School Lead Administrator attesting that the municipality/private school administers the above-named program and therefore retains ultimate responsibility for the management and oversight of such program, for the staff employed at the program and the children attending the program.

Any programs held at (or by) a faith-based organization, if they provide services to children ages 15 and younger, would have to have a license. Church-based programs that serve youth ages sixteen or older exclusively are not required to have a license.

License-exempt programs that are operated by a municipal program or a public school district must obtain a letter from a municipal leader or superintendent attesting that the municipality/school district administers the program jointly with the licensed-exempt program and that the municipality/school district retains ultimate responsibility for the management and oversight of the program.

Overnight camps that also run a day camp component can apply to expand the day camp.

Unfortunately, for-profit organizations are not eligible to apply or receive grant funding through this program.

- Funding cannot be used for technology/furniture or student stipends.
- Per federal guidelines, these grant funds may not be used to make direct payments to families.

Pre-Application Information:

Application Due Date: May 10, 2021, 5:00 PM EST

The CSDE will notify applicants via email of the acceptance or rejection of their proposals by May 24. If a proposal is selected for funding, the CSDE will initiate a grant award letter.

One application per organization will be accepted.

Applicants are highly encouraged to share sources of additional funding, including in-kind resources such as facilities, as part of their application.

Each program should describe how meals and snacks will be provided. Programs are encouraged to coordinate with Summer Meals Program Sponsors in their area for the provision of meals and snacks. Under these federal programs, all children 18 years of age and younger are eligible to receive healthy meals and snacks at no cost regardless of residency, school enrollment, or household income.

View the April 28 informational webinar video:

USDA Summer Food Service Program Fact Sheet:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.


Questions may be directed to

Levy Gillespie
Equal Employment Opportunity Director/American with Disabilities Act Coordinator
State of Connecticut Department of Education
450 Columbus Boulevard, Suite 607
Hartford, CT 06103-1841

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Connecticut

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