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Sunday, May 22, 2022

DEEL Awards Nearly $1.5 Million To Support Equitable Birth Outcomes And Kindergarten Readiness For Families With Young Children

Dr. Dwane Chappelle, Director of DEEL

The Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) recently announced nearly $1.5M in awards for the Prenatal-to-Three Community Grant Program to increase equitable birth and kindergarten readiness outcomes for young families. This grant program is designed to support community-based organizations to identify challenges families with young children are experiencing and implement their own community-driven solutions. 

Funding will result in programming ranging from culturally- and linguistically-responsive home visiting services, parent education, mentorship, pregnancy wellness and social support services. Ten community-based organizations have been approved for funding ranging from $114,632 to $150,000 per awardee. All grantee organizations are led by people of color with most programs located in southeast Seattle.

“We know from early learning research that investing in prenatal services and early childhood development before birth through age three has a big impact on children’s success in kindergarten through college and beyond,” said Dr. Dwane Chappelle, Director of DEEL. “Communities know best about which services and resources they need. This grant will support organizations as they create programs based on the needs that families have identified.” 

Community-based organizations eligible to apply were those who serve children aged birth to three, expecting mothers, and/or guardians of children aged birth to three within the City of Seattle. Prioritization was given to community-informed proposals and small, local organizations whose leadership and staff reflect the communities they serve. Culturally-responsive programs were prioritized for funding to support communities disproportionately affected by institutional and structural racism. 

DEEL’s Prenatal-to-Three Community Grant Program is funded through the City of Seattle’s Sweetened Beverage Tax (SBT). Approved by City Council in May 2017, SBT revenue funds programs that increase access to nutritious food and supports child health, development and learning. Although initially funded as a pilot for 2021, the City of Seattle has recently approved $1.5M in ongoing funding for the Prenatal-to-Three Community Grant Program as part of the 2022 adopted budget.

Organizations receiving funding will offer parents and caregivers a diverse range of prenatal and early childhood development services. Eight out of the ten grantees are first-time recipients of funding from DEEL. Tanika Thompson, SBT Community Advisory Board (CAB) Co-Chair shared, “I am impressed with the organizations that have been awarded and am excited to see how the funded programming will help the communities they serve.” 

“The funding is going where it was intended to go. It is great to see the grant providing the support we’ve heard from community as needed,” said Jen Moss, SBT CAB Co-Chair. 

The organizations receiving Prenatal-to-Three Community Grant award are: Korean Community Service Center – $150,000; The Maternal Coalition – $141,750; Communities of Rooted Brilliance – $150,000; Rainier Valley Midwives – $149,802; Families of Color Seattle – $150,000; Villa Comunitaria – $149,735; United Indians – $149,155; Empowering Youth and Families Outreach – $114,632; Southeast Youth and Family Services – $147,390; and East African Community Services – $150,000.

“The Maternal Coalition is so excited to receive funding from the DEEL in supporting Black, Indigenous, and people of color to prevent and heal from adverse birth experiences,” said Srilata Remala, founder and Co-Executive Director of the Maternal Coalition. “Our goal to end generational birth trauma and to heal families and children within the Seattle community is made possible by DEEL’s grant. Thank you to the DEEL and the City of Seattle for supporting our small but mighty organization.”

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