2022—2025 King County Best Starts for Kids Expanded Learning Initiative

Investing in youth programs that are grounded in community.

The King County Best Starts for Kids (BSK) Expanded Learning Initiative channels resources to providers in communities across King County that are working to improve their practices and provide afterschool and summer programming for Black, Indigenous and youth of color (BIPOC) and youth in poverty to flourish outside of the school day. 

In total, 65 awardees will receive $16,102,303 in funding over the next three years. 

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.

Background and approach

In 2018, SOWA implemented the first round of BSK funding and supports. We partnered with 32 organizations that provide access to consistent, high-quality, and culturally relevant summer and afterschool programming, infusing more than $12 million to underserved communities across King County.

SOWA is now leading and implementing the next cycle of funding through the BSK Expanded Learning Initiative. More than $16M is being invested over 3 years as we continue the two funding models from the first levy—BIPOC-Led Organizations and Place-Based Collaboratives. Learn more about the funding models.

Questions? Email: expandedlearning@schoolsoutwashington.org

About the awardees

Funded organizations are expanded learning programs operating in King County that serve young people (ages 5-13) who are BIPOC and/or living in poverty. Small nonprofits and community-based organizations were encouraged to submit proposals.

Expanded learning programs offer a range of experiences and support including educational enrichment, cultural and social development activities, recreation, physical activity and health promotion, visual and performing arts, tutoring and homework services, and leadership skills.

About the 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 a 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.