In order to be eligible, programs must:

  • Prioritize social connections among young people
  • Engage young people in physical and outdoor activities
  • Be in-person or mostly in-person (Some hybrid components or virtual participation are allowed)
  • Provide summer programming to children and/or youth (ages 4-21)
  • Funded organizations will be required to complete their organizational and program profile in Elevate Washington and submit a short narrative report.

Nonprofit community-based organizations, including religious organizations, will be prioritized for funding.  Small businesses and public agencies are eligible to apply.  Parks departments and school districts are not eligible for these funds.

If you don’t find your question answered below, please email

Frequently Asked Questions


My organization requested the maximum amount of funds: $25,000. Is it possible that we would receive funding but for a smaller amount?

Yes, it’s possible that even if an application is successful, the amount of funding an organization might receive could be less than they request. Adjusting funding may be necessary to fund more programs, and to meet equity goals for geography and priority populations.

If the deadline is July 7th, when would the organizations have time to actually run the programs?   For instance, would the program be for only one month? (August).

Summer programs can use the funding for unfunded program expenses that are incurred on or after July 1st.  If these funds would be the only source of support for your summer program, then you may want to wait until you know if you’ll receive funding. However, many programs plan to cover summer expenses with reserves or fundraising, or other unrestricted funds. If they receive funding through the 2021 Summer Program Fund, they could use these dollars instead.

We recognize that the timeline is very tight for supporting programming this summer, and it may be challenging for programs to expand their offerings or develop new programming in this timeline. This is why we moved as quickly as possible to open this funding cycle, and will be opening a second application process to support larger funding ranges for summer 2022 programming.

I am interested in applying to be a reviewer. Will SOWA accept applications from potential reviewers outside of Washington?  

We will accept applications from potential reviewers outside of Washington, provided they have experience related to youth development in Washington. We expect that reviewers most likely to be selected will be based in Washington who, in addition to meeting criteria for representation from priority populations and experience with application reviews, have regional knowledge and a thorough understanding of Washington’s youth development ecosystem.

What is the approximate total time commitment to be a reviewer?

The time commitment will be approximately 11 hours, over a two-week period in the middle of July:  approximately July 12th through July 26th. Reviewers will need to commit one hour for orientation and anti-bias training and ten hours to review approximately 20 applications and submit scoring rubrics for each.

Will reviewers be compensated?

Yes, reviewers who participate in the training and complete reviews on all assigned applications will  receive a $200 stipend.

Will the peer review process be the same as it was for the Relief Fund?

Not completely. As with the Relief Fund, reviewers will participate in anti bias training and will independently score approximately  20 applications, using a rubric provided by SOWA. However, given the tight timeline, we will not be convening reviewer groups.

The review process for 2022 Summer Program Fund will more closely mirror the approach we used for the Relief Fund, with independent scoring by peer reviewers followed by meetings of reviewers who scored the same set of applications.  The 2022 Summer Program Fund RFP will be released in fall 2021.

I can’t attend the information session. Will a recording be available?  

Yes. The information session on June 28, 2021 will be recorded. The recording will be available on this webpage. 

If our organization is partnering with another organization to provide our summer program, can we ask for funding that will be shared with this partner?  Or is the expectation that we spend the entire funding within our organization?

Your organization may subcontract with another organization, or share the funding. You do not need to describe the budget specifics, but you should discuss your relevant partnerships in question #4.  All funding must be used toward 2021 summer programming. Funds may be applied retroactively to July 1, 2021.

Due to conflict of interest would peer reviewers be allowed to apply on behalf of an organization?

Applicants can still review proposals, however, they  would not review the application they submitted.  Reviewers will be asked to disclose conflicts of interest prior to reviewing applications. The conflict-of-interest information will allow SOWA to avoid conflicts of interest when assigning applications for review. Reviewers would also not review those of organizations to which they or their spouses or partners have affiliations as staff, consultants or board members.

We are a brand new 501(c)(3). Are we eligible to apply?

Yes, as long as your summer program meets the requirements.

Are economic and racial inequities for the students being considered equally or is there weight placed on one or the other?

These data were weighted equally in determining the goals for distribution of funds by region.

Would the priority population of youth with disabilities, including physical, developmental, and/or intellectual disabilities; or special health care needs be inclusive of neurodivergent young people, including those who have high-functioning autism?


Must all the funds be applied only to the summer program?


How long can summer programs run?

We are defining summer programs as those provided to young people between school years. The end of the summer is when school starts in your region and young people return to classrooms.

Under “Certifications” it talks about entering into a contract with School’s Out Washington. Please expand on what this is. What kind of contract? Are there additional requirements applicants should be aware of?

We are still in the process of preparing the contract template for OSPI approval. We hope to keep the contract itself relatively short.

OSPI has determined that the funded organizations will be viewed as subcontractors of SOWA. Our contract with OSPI has a “General Terms and Conditions” attachment which includes a variety of items common to state contracts. As is typical for state contracts, the terms and conditions of our contract with OSPI also apply to and will be required of all the organizations we subcontract with. Those terms and conditions will be included as part of the contracts between SOWA and the individual funded organizations, possibly as an attachment for ease of reference. 

Also under “Certifications”, it specifies the right to access the 990 Form and other financials for records for six years. Why is that and why is this necessary?

Our contract with OSPI requires records of both the contractor (SOWA) and all subcontractors (funded applicants) to be maintained for six years and for SOWA and OSPI to reserve the right of inspection and access.

Per the RFP, funded applicants will need to provide evidence of sufficient insurance. Can you provide more information about what constitutes sufficient insurance?

Funded applicants will need to comply with the insurance requirements set by OSPI in the insurance section of the General Terms and Conditions. This includes but is not limited to naming SOWA and OSPI as additional insured on relevant insurance policies, carrying general liability insurance with per occurrence limits of at least $1,000,000, and maintaining appropriate automobile insurance if use of owned or non-owned automobiles will be paid for with these funds.


Are tribes eligible to apply?


Can young people who are homeschooled qualify as enrolled in the K-12 system?


We are a brand new 501(c)(3). re we eligible to apply?

Yes, as long as your summer program meets the requirements.

Would the priority population of youth with disabilities, including physical, developmental, and/or intellectual disabilities; or special health care needs be inclusive of neurodivergent young people, including those who have high-functioning autism?


What criteria are you using to determine if a business qualifies as a small business?

Applicants considering applying as small businesses should consult RCW 19.85.020 that includes the small business definition, to make their own determinations on eligibility. Specifically:, “small business” means any business entity, including a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, or other legal entity, that is owned and operated independently from all other businesses, and that has fifty or fewer employees”


Our organization has multiple affiliates across the state.  They each have their own 501(c)(3) and their own tax ID numbers. Would each affiliate be eligible to apply separately for these funds?

Yes, any affiliate that has its own 501(c)(3) may submit an application. 

We are a nonprofit that received a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant for afterschool and summer programming. We are implementing a summer program for our grantee sites. While we partner with the school district, we would be the applicant for the 2022 Summer Program Fund and we are responsible for our own programming. Are we eligible?

Yes, your nonprofit organization is eligible as long as you are the applicant and funds are used to provide 2022 summer programming that you deliver. We understand that nonprofits may partner with school districts in a number of ways to provide summer programming for young people. However, school districts may not be the recipient of these funds directly or through a subcontract.

If this summer funding is designed to serve K-12 students, why aren’t school districts eligible to apply?

OSPI has other funds dedicated to support summer programming in school districts

We received funding from the 2021 Summer Program Fund. Are we eligible to apply again for the 2022 Summer Program Fund?


Could a child care center apply for these funds to provide a summer program that includes social connections and physical and outdoor activities?

Yes, as long as other eligibility and programmatic requirements are met.

The company I work for is a community-based organization and otherwise fits the criteria outlined, but we are not non-profit.  Would we qualify to apply for this fund?

Nonprofit community-based organizations including religious organizations, will be prioritized for 2022 Summer Program funding. Small businesses and public agencies are eligible to apply. If your company is a small business as defined in the RCW then you are eligible to apply.

We offer a summer program, inclusive of outdoor and physical activities and social connection. The program does not include religious instruction; however, we may include activities such as saying a prayer at a meal or using a biblical character in a lesson. Would we be eligible? 

No. Funds to religious organizations may not support religious programming or materials, nor can participation in religious activities (such as prayers or lessons with a religious purpose) be a required component for youth participants.


Are there restrictions on how programs use the funds?  How long do we have to spend them?

These funds should be used for expenses that are specifically related to your summer 2021 program, which are not funded by other sources. If your application is successful, you may apply the funds retroactively to 2021 summer program expenses incurred as of July 1, 2021. All funds must be expended by September 30, 2021.

The RFP states: these funds may not be used for 1:1 programming. Can you clarify what you mean by 1:1 programming?

One of OSPI’s goals for this funding, (which was directed by the legislation), is that it be used to support social connections among young people. Summer programs that focus solely or primarily on 1:1 (one adult to one youth) activities would not meet the eligibility criteria.

Can you provide an example of activities that would be included as “physical activity”? 

Reviewers will be looking for applicants to describe how they’ll provide opportunities for young people to actively move their bodies and expend energy.  

I see the summer programs are required to focus on social connections and physical and outdoor activities. What about other types of summer programming?  Is that all we can do?

OSPI, acting on the direction of the state legislature, has identified supporting social connections among young people and engaging them in physical and outdoor activities as priorities for programs receiving this funding. These features must be integrated into your summer program. However, we understand that programs offer a spectrum of summer opportunities for young people. The application asks programs to note any/all types of programming they provide. In the narrative you will have the opportunity to discuss how you’ll support social connections and physical/outdoor activities, and describe how your approach is effective and responsive for the young people you serve.

How many kids do we need to serve in our summer program in order to receive funding?

There will be different approaches to summer programs, based on many factors. There is not a required number of young people who must be served, or set requirements for contact hours or program duration. The application will ask you to quantify the number of young people you will serve, as well as contact hours, duration, and program type. You must also complete narrative responses in the application where you’ll describe their program design, discussing what you will do and why, as well as how your summer program will be implemented.

How will SOWA determine which programs receive funding?

The primary goal of this funding is to expand opportunities for young people furthest from educational justice and support their engagement in summer programs. Those programs must: 1) prioritize social connections among young people; 2) engage young people in physical and outdoor activities; and 3) be in-person or mostly in-person. Peer reviewers will score applications based on these funding criteria. 

In addition to reviewers’ scores, SOWA will consider equitable representation among priority populations statewide and equitable geographic distribution when making funding recommendations to OSPI.

How will SOWA determine how much funding programs receive?

All of the same criteria discussed above will be considered, as well as the number of young people engaged and the number of contact hours.

Our program has a strong component of building social connections among young people, but we do not offer activities that are outdoor or physical. Would our application be competitive?

No. To be competitive, programs must support social connections among young people and also provide outdoor and physical activities.

If young people participate in physical activity right before they come to us (in the morning for example, before an afternoon program), would that be acceptable?

No. The summer program must meet all of the programmatic requirements directly. 

Our summer program works with young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Numbers of young people participating are lower than for other summer programs serving similar ages.  How would this be scored?

In your narrative, explain why the program design is appropriate in terms of the number of young people served, based on what you know about your population. 

How many young people are we required to serve?

We did not establish a requirement for the number of young people served. Because supporting social connections among young people is a requirement, you will need to serve enough young people to achieve this. You’ll want to make a case in the narrative regarding why your program design makes sense, given who you serve. The number of projected young people to be served, along with contact hours planned, reviewer scores, and demographic equity will all be taken into consideration when determining funding levels.

Do young people need to be enrolled in summer school, or receiving services like summer meals provided by a K-12 school? Or do they just need to be enrolled in the local K-12 public school district in general?

They do not need to be participating in summer school or receiving any summer specific services provided by a K-12 school system.  They just need to be enrolled in, or receiving services from a K-12 school at some point during the school year.

We are a university providing a summer program for grades 1-12, students from nine school districts who have academic goals in their IEPs, are learning English as a second language and/or at-risk of academic failure. Most participants are referred by their teachers. The programming is offered in small-group settings so there is an element of socialization. Snacks and outdoor activities are part of the program.  Will the element of socialization, the snacks and the outdoor activities suffice to make our program eligible?

We encourage you to read the RFP fully to determine whether your program will meet all the eligibility criteria. The primary goal of this funding is to expand opportunities for young people furthest from educational justice and support their engagement in summer programs. To be eligible, programs must prioritize social connections among young people, and engage them in both physical and outdoor activities. Your narrative would need to make the case that you meet all the criteria and that your program model will be effective, and responsive to the priority populations you serve.

Our summer program engages high school students in visual arts (ceramics) while preparing them with underlying skills they need to stay engaged or re-engage in their education and graduate with post-secondary plans. We take our students outside on walking excursions to gather items found in nature (leaves, ferns, sticks and branches, tree bark) to use to create texture and design. I wonder if this would meet the requirement to “engage young people in physical and outdoor activities.”

In addition to outdoor activities, there must also be physical activities which may or may not occur outdoors. Reviewers will be looking for applicants to describe how they’ll provide opportunities for young people to actively move their bodies and expend energy through physical activities.


What is the entire date range for expenditure of funds for the 2021 summer RFP? We understand that we can apply funds retroactively to July 1st and that the final report is due by September 30th. Does that mean the funds have to be completely expended by September 30th?

Yes, funds must be expended by September 30, 2021. The intent of this funding is that it be used for summer programs operating during the school summer break.

Do we provide demographics for all the young people we serve, or just those who will participate this summer?

This 2021 summer funding prioritizes young people furthest from education justice, as defined by the priority populations outlined in the application. You should provide this information for the young people who will participate in your 2021 summer program to the best of your ability.

How is SOWA distinguishing among staff, volunteers, leadership and board members?  Some of the people in our organization serve in multiple roles.

We understand that the distinctions among roles are not always clear cut, particularly in smaller organizations. In question #2 we ask applicants about the percentages of individuals in each role category whose identities/lived experiences fall within any of the priority population categories:

  1. Staff and volunteers working directly with young people should include staff who have no program oversight or supervision responsibilities and volunteers who serve no role other than working directly with young people.
  2. Program leaders are those who oversee and supervise programming. They may also work directly with young people, but they have leadership responsibilities within the program.
  3. Board members are volunteers. Those volunteers who work with young people in the summer program but also serve on the board of directors, should be counted as part of the board of directors.

If our organization is headquartered in one region, but the location we are focusing on for the summer program is in a different region, which region will the funds be coming from?  

To meet the commitment to equitable geographic distribution, 2021 Summer Program funding will be distributed based on where summer programs will provide services, not where organizations are headquartered.

What is a UBI (unified business identifier)?

A UBI number is a nine-digit number that registers you with several state agencies and allows you to do business in Washington State. A UBI number is sometimes called a business license number. You apply through the Washington Department of Revenue. Business Licensing and renewals FAQs | Washington Department of Revenue

What is an EIN (employer identification number)?

An EIN is a federal tax identification number.

If we do not collect data about our young people, will that hurt our application?

We know that some programs don’t collect data about their young people. We want to make this funding as accessible as possible, while also understanding the priority populations being served. For organizations that do not collect data, the narrative response in the application will be particularly important. In your answer, be as specific as possible about the youth communities you serve and what you know about them.

What if we collect some data on our young people, but others are estimates?

We understand that for some organizations, data collection is a mix. In the application, please indicate the data source that most accurately describes your organization’s data collection currently. Explain the distinctions in your narrative.

We already have a summer program that runs Monday-Friday, six hours/day. We’d be adding program pieces with this funding. Should we describe our full summer program, or just the pieces we’ll be adding with these funds?

You should describe your full summer program, which will allow reviewers to better understand the context in which young people will experience the components – social connections and physical and outdoor activities – that are required by the 2021 Summer Program Fund. If the program pieces you will be adding will introduce social connection, physical or outdoor activities to your program then please explain that.

Does contact hours mean in-person hours?

Contact hours relate to the programming you provide for young people which may be fully in-person, or a hybrid of in-person and virtual. 

If our program serves young people from more than one region, should we talk about it that way or should we try to focus on just one region?

If the program for which you’re requesting funding spans multiple regions – such as a camp that draws young people from two or more regions – talk about that in your narrative. There’s an opportunity in the application to designate all of the counties you serve. We will consider the regions in which young people are served when determining geographic equity, so it’s helpful to fully understand all of the regions served by summer programs.

Can we use the funding for multiple 2021 summer programs, or multiple sites?

Yes, as long as each program meets both the eligibility and programmatic requirements. However, only one application is allowed per organization, and funding requests per organization can’t exceed $25,000. You’ll want to describe each of the multiple programs or program sites in your application narrative.

Is there a requirement for program length?

There is not a set requirement but the program must be offered over multiple days or weeks, rather than as a one-time activity. We know the number of hours and days will vary by program.  You will be asked to indicate program duration, days per week, and length of day for your program through a dropdown menu in the application.

Please explain the difference between the two program questions, #3 and #4.

For priority #3, you should discuss the program design, specifically what you’ll provide that will support social connections, and what you’ll provide for physical and outdoor activities. Your answer should include your rationale for why this programming will be effective, and responsive to the young people you serve. 

For priority #4, you should focus on the how by describing your actual implementation plan. Include discussion of big picture elements such as partnerships and barriers to participation, as well as detailed information such as staffing, schedules and locations.

What are the restrictions on uses of funds? Can these funds be used to purchase equipment?

There are a limited number of restrictions. Funds may not be used for lobbying, political or religious activities/instruction. They may not be used toward an expense that is already covered by another funding source. (No double dipping.) Funds also may not be used for equipment with a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition cost more than the lesser of your organization’s capitalization level or $5,000. 

Our organization offers multiple summer programs that vary in terms of program duration and hours. How should we respond to the questions in the application asking about program duration and program-day length?

We understand that for some organizations, you may offer multiple summer programs that differ in their structure and dosage. Please select the summer program most representative of your organization’s offerings to respond to the questions in section 4 of the application regarding program duration, number of days per week the program is offered, and program-day length.

Please note that for the demographic section, you should provide information for young people across all of your organization’s summer programs.


Can more guidance be provided regarding how much to ask for?  

2021 summer programs may request between $5,000 and $25,000. You should base your request on the amount of funding you need to support or partially support summer 2021 programming that meets the criteria described in the RFP. You may apply your funding to 2021 summer program expenses retroactive to July 1, 2021 that are not covered by any other funding source.

What budget forms or budget information will we be required to submit?

No budget forms are required. The only budget information we need is the amount your program is requesting, between $5,000 and $25,000, which must be used for 2021 summer program expenses that are not covered by any other funding source.

Can we use the funds for expenses that will assist in our summer program, but aren’t specific to it, such as computers? 

No. These funds should be used for expenses that are specifically related to your summer 2021 program that are not funded by other sources.

Can we apply the funds to transportation expenses? 

Transportation expenses specifically related to your summer program are allowable provided you carry appropriate insurance.

What time on July 7th is the application due? 

The online application must be submitted by 5:00 PM on Wednesday, July 7, 2021.

How many programs will receive funding?

The number of programs funded will depend on multiple factors, including: the total number of applications received; the total funding requested; equitable representation among priority populations statewide; and equitable geographic distribution.  We expect to fund 60-70 summer programs in 2021.

Will more funds be available next summer? Will the funding amounts be larger?

Yes. While 2021 summer funding is approximately $1 million; summer funding for summer 2022 programs will be approximately $4.5 million. The RFP for the 2022 Summer Program Fund will be released in fall 2021.

Can the online application be saved so that we can do part of it and then return to finish it later? 

No.  Once you start you need to complete the online application in one setting.  However, there is a template that you can download and work in, and then paste your final answers into the application when you’re ready.

Is it possible to get a copy of our application once we’ve submitted it? 

Yes. Applicants will get a PDF copy of their applications after they hit submit. Wait on the confirmation page for one minute as it downloads.  

I’m having trouble accessing the online application because of a firewall setting at my work. Is it possible to submit my application in a word document?

We’re sorry you’re having trouble, but all applications must be submitted online. We will not accept submissions in any other format. 

If the security or firewall settings at your workplace do not allow access to the online application, we advise trying a computer or device in a space with less restrictive security settings such as a local library or a home computer.