Application Process

First Things First offers grant opportunities to address the specific development, education and health needs of children birth through age 5 (before kindergarten) and their families.


Grants Overview

The statewide First Things First Board and regional partnership councils in local communities across the Arizona share the responsibility of ensuring that early childhood funds are invested in strategies that will result in improved outcomes for young children.

First Things First distributes early childhood funds through both statewide and regional grants. Statewide grants are for programs to be implemented across regional boundaries and designed to benefit all Arizona children. Regional grants support regional partnership council funding plans approved by the Board each year.

First Things First solicits competitive Requests for Grant Applications (RFGAs) as a means for delivering early childhood development and health services. First Things First does not accept unsolicited requests for funding.



Eligibility and Requirements

Applicants for grants must demonstrate organizational, fiscal and programmatic capacity to meet the requirements described in the scope of work listed in each RFGA.

Entities eligible to apply for a grant from First Things First include:

  • Units of Arizona government (local, county and state entities as well as schools and school districts)
  • Federally-recognized tribal governments providing services within Arizona
  • Arizona institutions of higher learning (colleges and universities)
  • Private organizations providing (or proposing to provide) services in Arizona, including for-profit and non-profit 501©3 organizations (both secular and faith-based)


Contact us at


Applying for a Grant

First Things First may release RFGAs at any time. Sign up to receive email announcements of all new RFGAs and check our Grant Opportunities page regularly. From the Grant Opportunities page, click on a specific RFGA for more information, including a description of the intent, open and close dates and times, pre-application conference date and time, and a copy of the full RFGA. The full RFGA document includes all details related to the grant contract to be awarded, including the scope of work, evaluation criteria, guidance materials, grant terms and conditions, and instructions to applicants

First Things First may conduct a pre-application conference to discuss the details of an upcoming RFGA. This is an opportunity to hear specifics about the grant opportunity, instructions for submission and how applications will be reviewed. Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to participate.

Prior to submitting your application, be sure to check the Grant Opportunities page for any RFGA amendments that may be posted. Any posted amendment must be signed and submitted with the application.

Applications are accepted only within the specified period of time and must be received by First Things First at the specified location on or before the stated deadline. No applications will be accepted after the specified close (due) date identified in the RFGA.

Award Process

Applications are evaluated by an RFGA review committee comprised of at least three qualified individuals who have expertise in the field, are familiar with the region or serve on a regional partnership council. Each review committee is selected by a First Things First regional director and/or program officers. The review committee is responsible for conducting a fair and impartial evaluation of each application based on the criteria set forth in the RFGA. Reviewers may not have a conflict of interest. Scoring is based on the responsiveness to the information requested in the application, including:

  • Capacity for addressing the need and implementing the strategy
  • Program description
  • Implementation plan
  • Budget
  • Technical components (related to the completeness of the application)

By consensus, the review committee makes recommendations to the regional partnership council or statewide Board. One or multiple grants may be awarded under an RFGA.

All applications submitted and opened are public records. Applications and review committee assessments will be open and available to public inspection within 30 days of an award being made.


  1. Join our email list to receive announcements of all new RFGAs.
  2. Carefully review the full RFGA for all details related to that specific grant.
  3. Attend a pre-application conference to learn more about a specific grant opportunity and the application process.
  4. Look for amendments to previously posted RFGAs by frequently checking back to the Grant Opportunities page.
  5. Be on time and complete in submitting your application. Use the checklist included in the full RFGA.
  6. Contact us at if you have questions or need more information.