2023-2026 Strategic Plan

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We are proud to present our 2023-2026 strategic plan, which has been deeply informed by School’s Out Washington’s community and supported by the thoughtful guidance of Be The Change Consulting.

White background with sun and on the sun it is written SOWA Strategic Plan. Underneath there is water with different topics written on them

This strategic plan represents a broadening of School’s Out Washington’s focus and a deepening of our ambition. Our role as an intermediary expanded considerably in 2020. Through collective action and advocacy, grant making, and new levels of responsive training and coaching, we supported providers in sustaining and adapting to meet the heightened needs of youth and communities. We saw glimmers of what is possible when systems align, and programs are well supported. Now, as we emerge into a post-pandemic world, young people, communities, and expanded learning programs are navigating new and growing challenges.

It is time to invest in a fundamental shift in priority by building a robust expanded learning ecosystem that spans all Washington communities, and in doing so, we create the conditions for all young people to be healthy, thriving, and reach the future they envision. This is our plan to move towards this vision, anchored by a strong theory of change and clear strategic focus.

“SOWA has the ability to fund and envision what systems change and quality improvement of programs look like. Many frontline orgs are in crisis mode and don’t have the capacity to do this work.”  
Youth program leader, strategic plan focus group

Our theory of change demonstrates the connections between our core pillars of advocacy, grantmaking, data insights and engagement, and professional learning and program quality improvement and our impact and vision that all young people have access to programs that have the power to transform lives and strengthen communities.

Adult with about 5 kids in the forest observing things in nature.

Strategic Priorities

  1. Increase equitable funding for the field.
    We will advocate for increased public funding for youth development and support more equitable funding approaches as an intermediary grant maker. We will leverage our funder role to educate funders and public agencies around equitable practices.
  2. Strengthen collective impact and community-driven solutions through a formalized convener role.
    We can build on our successes in cultivating networks across the state and creating more spaces and convenings for providers to collaborate, learn, and share with each other. We will create opportunities to bring in youth voices into these spaces.
  3. Strengthen data and evaluation capacity.
    We will invest in SOWA’s internal research and evaluation capacity and practices. We will make our data visible through data dashboards and stories. We will seek to identify brights spots and needs in the field, with a focus on racial equity and other equity gaps.
  4. Invest in staff, organizational culture, and sustainability.
    Our ability to realize these strategies and impact depends on the strength, health, and values alignment of our staff and internal practices. We will envision and work towards a more fully resourced SOWA. We will invest in our staff and in their professional development and growth. We will work together to foster a thriving, equitable, and inclusive organizational culture. We will align programmatic goals, workplans, and strategy as an organization.

Read our three-year strategic plan.

Read our strategic priorities.

Read our theory of change.