The Washington State Department of Commerce confirmed in a press release Sept. 22 that it was teaming up with School’s Out Washington to distribute $9 million in state Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to address COVID-19 impacts to youth-oriented programs in the state.

The funds will specifically support programs that serve school-age kids and young adults facing the most significant challenges by way of educational and economic opportunity, according to a press release. Primary types of programs affected include afterschool/summer programs, mentoring, and wrap-around services.

“COVID-19 is straining individuals, families, and communities in profound ways,” said commerce director Lisa Brown in the release. “Many community-based nonprofits are trusted places for young adults and parents seeking safe, healthy support systems for their children. These groups have been working to address inequity and disparities in the same communities where the COVID-19 crisis threatens to widen existing disparities.”

School’s Out Washington worked with stakeholders and local organizations to develop application criteria. They will award grants of between $10,000 and $50,000 depending on a given organization’s budgetary status.

According to the release, priority will be given to programs that are serving youth with lower access to educational opportunity “and whose leaders are reflective of the populations they serve.”

The release clarifies that these funds are distinct from the grants that were announced last week by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Those grants are, in contrast, tailored to organizations working with school districts to support school-based learning for the entirety of the 2020-’21 school year.

More details can be found here.