There are 50 Head Start/Early Head Start grants forecasted for which Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFO) were forecasted to be released on September 5. One week later, the NOFOs have not yet posted to If your program is waiting for a NOFO, we understand that this delay can create wrinkles in your planning. Below are a few ways you might use the time while you wait.

Consider different timeline scenarios and plan for them. If NOFOs are released this week, there will still be time for a typical 8-9 week turnaround before the holidays. This would be the case best scenario. Additional delays could mean that the timeline pushes into the holiday season. Or, as we have seen happen (infrequently) in the past, the Office of Head Start (OHS) could consider a shorter turnaround time for applications. The longer the NOFOs are delayed, the more likely it is that your program’s planned timeline will need to change. Consider these potential scenarios and how your program will adapt.

Finalize your program design. If your program is still working through its design planning (program options, allocation of slots, locations, etc.), we recommend bringing those conversations to a conclusion. Once the NOFOs post, your program will be busy drafting and having conversations about each area of the proposal. To avoid delays in your process, have your program design done and final.

Plan for start up. Once your program design is final, begin planning for start up. Consider what you will need from multiple perspectives – staff support, facilities, updating classroom environments, etc. Think broadly and specifically so that you have what you need for a successful start to your new grant. You will describe your program’s start up needs in the proposal and will be expected to provide a start up budget and timeline.

Have notes and reference documents (data!) ready to support drafting. We can’t stress enough the importance of having up-to-date data to support your DRS proposal. Data from your program’s most recent community assessment and wage study will be needed to justify your program design and budget as well as to describe community needs, including numbers of eligible children. You can start to pull narrative and data from these documents, as it relates to your program design, so that once the NOFO is released you are ready to draft your justification. In doing so, if you find you need updated or more data, gather it now so that you don’t have to worry about that while you’re drafting your proposal.

Keep your eye out for updates. As soon as NOFOs post to, we’ll update our blog with the details. You can also subscribe for updates on so that you’ll receive automatic notifications about any changes to the forecast or NOFO. Go to the search page, find your grant, and then click the red “subscribe” button in the upper right corner.

Foundations for Families offers a variety of Consulting Services to support competitive grant writing. If your program has the capacity to write its own grant application but needs help with the timeline, template, and process, consider Foundations for Families’ DRS Toolkit. Please be in touch to learn more. We would be glad to speak with you about your program’s needs.

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