When Youth Development Executives of King County (YDEKC) was created in 2010, the youth development sector in King County was made up of loosely connected agencies, often competing for scarce funds and ill equipped to stand in equal partnership with other youth-serving sectors. From the beginning, YDEKC’s goal was to organize, activate, and empower our sector to achieve more equitable results for King County’s young people. It developed into a diverse coalition of leaders representing youth-serving community-based organizations. Its members partnered with schools, communities, and families to ensure every young person has what they need to learn, grow, and thrive.
Over the course of its 13-year history, YDEKC helped to advance:
- A Whole Child, Whole Day Vision in the region
- The Collective Power of the youth development sector
- Strong, Networked Leadership within the sector
- Deeper and more equitable Cross-Sector Collaboration
- Research-Informed Practice within and beyond its member organizations
In the final three years of its organizational journey, YDEKC embraced a new mission to connect, strengthen, and amplify the leaders of youth-serving organizations so that all Black, Indigenous, and youth of color thrive. Highlights from those years include:
- The Youth Development Strategy Table (YDST), for which YDEKC served as a co-lead, gained considerable influence and momentum starting in 2020. Learn more about the YDST here.
- YDEKC, with generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, implemented an innovative Thriving Leaders of Color Fund, which invested in projects designed to advance, rejuvenate, and celebrate leaders of color.
- The School and Community Partnership Toolkit became more accessible and integrated in local systems through projects and initiatives including as YDEKC served as a Capacity Builder for King County Best Starts for Kids and adapted its resources to create a Partnership Playbook for Seattle Public Schools.
After unsuccessful efforts to obtain sustainable funding, YDEKC will close its doors on October 2, 2023. However, its legacy, network, and resources live on. For the Measurement and Evaluation Toolkit, School and Community Partnership Toolkit, and an array of youth development resources, including learnings from YDEKC’s work around equity and social and emotional learning, check out School’s Out Washington’s Resource Library.