Executive Director Shares Education Update

Posted on March 20, 2019

Dear friends,

I am writing to share some updates about our work in education.

As many of you know, we have been in a period of transition and growth during the past year. With new staff on board last summer, we assessed the impact-to-date of our early investments in education and invited a diverse group of stakeholders, including community-based organizations, advocates, and other funders, to inform our planning, with the goal of identifying a clear course in 2019 and beyond. We also took time to reflect on our values, beliefs, and commitments, and to consider the ways in which our region’s rapid changes have unduly burdened communities of color.

Today, I’m excited to share more about our direction moving forward.

Our work in education will be guided by a belief that families play an important role in their children’s development and learning, and that programs that support families in homes, schools, and communities can make a difference.

To act on this belief, we plan to invest in culturally responsive, research-based home visiting programs to strengthen and expand supports for families with young children. We have seen the difference that home visitors can make for families and communities, and are eager to help programs like Parent Child Home Program build their capacity and expand their reach.

We also plan to support school- and community-based programs that engage families in meaningful ways. To kick off our support in this area, we are excited to launch a Request for Proposals focused on family engagement and advocacy. We hope that you will share this opportunity with organizations that partner with families in our region. Please note that we will accept proposals until April 29th.

While most of our funding will support programs in communities, we understand that field infrastructure and public resources are needed for programs to meet the needs of families and children across the state. With this in mind, we have designated funds for key “system level” partners as they advocate for more resources and supports for nonprofit providers.

Lastly, I want to make note of our response to the profound demographic shifts our region is experiencing. We heard from our partners, peers, and advocates that families pushed out of the city due to rapid growth and the rising cost of living need culturally-responsive supports and resources in the communities where they now reside. In that context, and to help address Washington’s stark racial and economic opportunity gaps, we will focus our resources on families of color in resilient communities most impacted by poverty that lie outside of the City of Seattle. You will see this geographic and demographic focus reflected in our Request for Proposals.

We are excited to embark on this journey, and grateful for our partners’ many contributions along the way. If you have any questions for us, please be in touch with me or Anna Guarneri, our education program officer, copied on this email. We recognize that transitions like this are hardest for our nonprofit partners, and welcome your feedback on our communications and planning process.

With gratitude,