Volunteers of America Western Washington (VOAWW) has received a nearly $1 million grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce for new early learning classrooms in Lynnwood.
The Washington State Department of Commerce, in partnership with the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), announced that a total of $43.2 million in grants has been awarded to 69 projects early learning across the state. The grants provide financial assistance to providers to plan, expand, retrofit, purchase or build early learning facilities and classrooms.
According to VOAWW Director of Development Kristi Myers, the $967,402 grant will support the construction of two VOAWW-run Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP) classrooms in the organization. neighborhood center planned for the center of Lynnwood. “This ECEAP will serve 60 preschoolers from low-income families with the goal of supporting each child’s well-being and preparing them for kindergarten,” Myers said. “Our teachers and staff work closely with the whole family providing health, nutrition and family resources to ensure student success.”
Volunteers of America Western Washington operates three ECEAP programs in Everett, Monroe and Sultan, which serve 160 children and their families. Fundraising continues for the Lynnwood-based neighborhood center, which will be a 40,000 square foot LEED gold multi-service community center for residents of South Snohomish County. VOAWW hopes to begin construction by the end of 2022 with a completion date of early 2024, Meyers said.
“Early learning is a vital part of the state’s critical infrastructure for families and our economy,” said state Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “This investment in our state’s facilities will help communities ensure that safe, secure, and stable early learning opportunities are available to everyone. This is essential for an equitable recovery of the state’s economy and families, and is essential to help ensure success for children.
Commerce’s partnership with the Department of Children, Youth, and Families underscores the importance of child care and early learning opportunities for all Washington families, businesses, and communities, said the Department of Commerce in a press release announcing the grants. Research from the Washington Child Care Collaborative Task Force in 2021 indicates that lack of access to affordable child care is keeping more than 133,000 potential workers out of Washington’s workforce, resulting in an estimated $14.7 billion less in income personnel and over $1 billion in lost tax revenue each year.
“Communities are stronger when there is enough access to high-quality early learning for all children, regardless of family income,” said Ross Hunter, Secretary of the Ministry of Children, Youth and Family. “The Legislature has wisely invested in the buildings and classrooms necessary to provide this level of care. I am delighted that the strong partnership between DCYF and the Department of Commerce continues to help ECEAP contractors and Working Connections child care providers expand access to care.
You can find more information here on the 69 funded projects.