Kent-based Mother Africa received $10,000 from the federal CARES Act to help fund youth programs. COURTESY FILE PHOTO, Mother Africa

Kent-based Mother Africa received $10,000 from the federal CARES Act to help fund youth programs. COURTESY FILE PHOTO, Mother Africa

Kent nonprofits receive federal CARES Act funds for youth programs

Part of $9.4 million distributed by state to 421 organizations in Washington

Five Kent-based nonprofit organizations are among the 421 statewide that will receive CARES Act federal funds for youth development programs.

The state Department of Commerce created the Washington Youth Development Nonprofit Relief Fund and partnered with School’s Out Washington to implement the program and distribute $9.4 million to nonprofits across the state. The funding was made possible by the federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). This one-time investment helps nonprofits keep their doors open and manage programmatic and financial challenges including lost revenue and increased expenses to adhere to new safety measures.

“As far as we’ve come together in combating COVID-19, we still have a long way to go,” said Lisa Brown, director of the state Department of Commerce, in a Nov. 12 news release. “Nonprofit organizations are absolutely crucial for supporting and lifting up the children and youth most at risk of falling behind or suffering the physical and emotional impacts of this pandemic. But our community organizations can’t do their work without funding. We are in this together, and these grants are one way we can help keep our communities strong.”

The payments to local groups include $30,000 to Kent Youth and Family Services; $25,000 to Living Well Kent; $20,000 to Kent-based Valley Cities Counseling and Consultation; $13,000 to Kent-based World Relief; and $10,000 to Mother Africa.

The YMCA of Greater Seattle, which has numerous branches, including one in Kent, received $50,000.

The COVID-19 outbreak, extended school closures and social distancing have deepened inequities and hardships for young people across Washington, according to the news release. In response, youth development programs quickly adapted their services to provide supports for youth and families to whom they are deeply connected.

Expanded or adapted offerings have included emergency childcare, social-emotional supports, academic mentoring, virtual programming and basic needs supports. For many families, these organizations have been a sustaining lifeline. By providing access to essential services and pivoting to offer expanded learning opportunities online, they have helped ensure that young people remain safe, engaged and supported.

Awards were distributed across all areas of the state with a focus on organizations serving priority populations that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 (BIPOC, LGBTQ, migrants/immigrants, youth with disabilities and youth in poverty, among others). Awards range from $10,000 to $50,000 and will be distributed between mid-November and Dec. 15.

Commerce chose to work with School’s Out Washington because of the organization’s field expertise, equity lens, grant-making experience and capacity to lead a complex process on an unusually fast timeline. The process was designed to break down barriers to funding for grassroots organizations around the state that directly support BIPOC youth, youth in poverty and other highly impacted youth populations.

The request for proposals was released on Sept. 23 and over 600 applications were received by the deadline on Oct. 6. The request for proposal was translated into 13 languages.

Peer reviewers from communities throughout Washington were recruited to read and score applications.

On average, 88% of youth served by awardees are in the Relief Fund’s priority populations (including BIPOC, LGBTQ, migrant/immigrant, youth experiencing homelessness and youth in poverty). A total of 48% of the organizations report that all the youth they serve are among those disproportionately impacted populations.

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