By Sage Leibenson
SEATTLE (January 24) – Yesterday, the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) announced the opening of applications for Opportunity & Access funds. Up to $7.2 million is available to support organizations providing academic, enrichment, and college and career readiness programs to youth disproportionately impacted by systemic inequities in education. Organizations serving immigrant, refugee, and youth of color are encouraged to apply. This investment is intended to increase access to youth programs promoting student achievement, on-time graduation, and successful transitions to college and careers. As many as 15 grantees are eligible to receive $450,000 through 2026. Grants are funded by the 2018 voter-approved Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise (FEPP) Levy.
“Opportunity and Access investments provide Seattle’s youth of color with opportunities to explore their interests outside of school, express themselves, and get help planning for their life after high school—whether it’s on to college or the start of their career,” said DEEL Director, Dr. Dwane Chappelle. “It’s true that it takes a village to raise a child. Our cross–jurisdictional partnerships are key to the success of Seattle’s students. DEEL’s grants will help them expand and scale their programs to better serve students and families.”
DEEL’s FEPP Levy Opportunity & Access investment strategy is informed by feedback from families, community partners, and research-based practices to increase representation on college campuses and in STEM-related careers, and to assist students not yet meeting grade-level learning standards from Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color, and those who have been historically underserved. DEEL will fund community-informed proposals providing safe and culturally affirming environments for youth to explore their academic interests while building skills that lead to success. Applying organizations can select one of the two funding tracks:
- Track 1 Capacity Building: For smaller organizations with limited paid staff and a modest operating budget and that demonstrate the ability to grow capacity to deliver quality programming that positively impacts priority focus students and communities. Applicants with organizational staff and leadership that are representative of the youth they serve and that engage youth and families in programming will be prioritized.
- Track 2 Program: For organizations with current capacity and ability to deliver the expanded learning or college and career readiness services and quality programming outlined in the strategies below. Culturally responsive programs co-designed by youth and families, and led by staff who share the youths’ identities, will be prioritized.
Winning applicants will provide programming that advances DEEL’s desired outcome that all Seattle students graduate high school college and career ready, by using the following strategies:
- Expanded Learning Opportunities encompassing academic or enrichment experiences that take place afterschool, during school breaks, and in the summer. Examples of expanded learning opportunities may include, but are not limited to, arts and culture education, STEM programming, sports, health and wellness activities, and leadership development.
- College and Career Readiness programs supporting development of critical thinking, goal setting, creativity and collaboration skills that help prepare students to achieve their goals after high school. Examples of college and career readiness programs may include, but are not limited to, academic preparation, college advising, and career exploration.
Applications for Opportunity and Access funding must be submitted by 3:00pm on Monday, March 6, 2023. Free community-based technical assistance is available in multiple languages to support applicants developing proposals in alignment with the priorities of this funding opportunity. Funds will be awarded through a competitive process managed by DEEL, with applications reviewed by a panel of community members, FEPP Levy Oversight Committee members, and City of Seattle staff. DEEL will notify successful applicants by June 9, 2023, with programs beginning fall 2023. To learn more and apply, please visit tinyurl.com/OpportunityAndAccessRFI.