Best Starts for Kids Expanded Learning Awardees Announced!

School’s Out Washington, in partnership with King County Best Starts for Kids (BSK), is excited to announce the BSK Expanded Learning cohort for 2022–2025! In total, 65 awardees will receive $16,102,303 in funding over the next three years.

The BSK Expanded Learning initiative provides funding and resources for expanded learning providers across King County to increase access to high quality expanded learning opportunities for youth (ages 5–13) who are BIPOC and/or living in poverty. This is accomplished through two primary funding models: 

  • BIPOC-led organizations that are embedded in culturally specific or cross-cultural communities of color
  • Place-based collaboratives that are made up of three or more organizations offering programming in underserved areas focused in schools and housing communities

Thirty BIPOC-led organizations and 9 place-based collaboratives will be funded. These awardees offer a wide variety of programming activities including academic support, cultural enrichment, art, healthy living, STEM activities, and more. Awardees currently serve 3,365 youth, 92% of whom are BIPOC and 85% of whom are living in poverty. With this funding, they will expand access to serve 5,305 youth each year. 

About our funding process: SOWA relies on a peer review process for reviewing and scoring applications. Among the 23 peer reviewers who reviewed BSK Expanded Learning applications, 87% identify as BIPOC and 96% share identities and/or lived experience with the priority populations of youth served. After participating in an orientation and anti-bias training, reviewers independently reviewed and scored a subset of applications using a scoring rubric aligned to funding priorities outlined in the RFP. Small groups then met to discuss and come to consensus on a score for each application. SOWA recommended high-scoring applications for funding to King County, with added consideration for licensed childcare programs, geographic equity, and representation of target populations of youth served. Final decisions were made by King County Best Starts for Kids.