Child care access, affordability focus of new grant program from Duke Energy, Indiana Economic Development Association to address workforce challenges

The Duke Energy Foundation and the Indiana Economic Development Association (IEDA) Foundation today announced the release of a request for proposal (RFP) for a newly launched child care innovation grants program. More than $100,000 in funding will be made available to support organizations and projects focused on assessing and addressing child care gaps in Indiana communities.

In recent years, the cost of child care has skyrocketed, and the number of licensed child care providers has shrunk. These challenges have put a strain on working parents and their employers.

“A lack of affordable, high-quality child care options can serve as a barrier for businesses to recruit and retain employees,” said Erin Schneider, managing director of Midwest economic development for Duke Energy. “By partnering with Indiana communities to make investments in early child care, we can begin to address some of the workforce challenges that hinder job growth and economic development in the communities we serve.”

According to Indiana University’s Public Policy Institute and Early Learning Indiana, a lack of child care providers has had demonstrable effects on Indiana’s economy. According to their research, Indiana loses nearly $1.1 billion in economic activity every year due to child care-related absenteeism and employee turnover.

“If we want Hoosier families and businesses to succeed, we must begin to make investments to ensure that parents are able to access and afford early child care while working to support their families,” said Lee Lewellen, IEDA’s chief executive officer. “Through this first-of-its-kind grant program, we have an opportunity to provide financial support to communities that are willing to approach this challenge in new and innovative ways to give parents and employers the support they need.”

State and local government entities, local and regional economic development agencies, and public and private nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for grants of up to $40,000. Applicants must submit an intent to propose by April 17, 2023, and submit their grant proposal by May 8, 2023, in order to be considered. Awards will be announced this spring.

For a full description of the grant program, including requirements, eligibility and scoring criteria, visit For additional questions regarding the RFP, contact IEDA Chief Executive Officer Lee Lewellen at 317.313.8365 or [email protected].

Duke Energy Foundation

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The Foundation contributes more than $2 million annually in charitable gifts to Indiana and is funded by Duke Energy shareholder dollars. More information about the Foundation can be found at

Indiana Economic Development Association (IEDA)

IEDA is the voice of economic development for Indiana. Made up of economic developers, utilities, attorneys, consultants, financial institutions, higher education professionals, engineers, architects and construction professionals, our members are passionately dedicated to attracting and retaining jobs for the great people of Indiana.

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