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February 2, 2021

Kansas Advocates for Equity, Education and Health

All Kansas families should live in communities of opportunity, where good schools, healthy environments, safe homes, quality jobs, and access to health care, high-quality goods and services are the norm. We believe education, health care, and children being ready to learn are critical pieces for creating and supporting communities of opportunity.

We also recognize that the foundation for learning is the physical, mental and emotional health of the child and the family, with the building blocks being established before birth. Research has shown that when children are healthy and ready to learn before they enter kindergarten, it increases their chances of success once they enter the school system. We need to address the environment into which children are being born, particularly for children facing challenges, such as high poverty, chronic stress and lack of resources/supports, to increase their long-term odds for success.

To this end, the Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) and the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund are partnering to engage three organizations to co-create and implement a shared advocacy approach, focused on children 0-8, designed to reduce barriers to academic success and improve educational outcomes. Because no single policy can effectively increase equity in school readiness or educational outcomes, we want to work with these grantee organizations to advance a multi-prong approach that recognizes the many issues and systems that impact children and families, including health access and high-quality early care. We believe that by engaging community voice and leadership, and supporting grassroots organizations with technical expertise and strong intersectional partnerships, positive impacts will be made on Kansas public policies in ways that reduce barriers to academic success and improve educational and health outcomes.

This request for proposals (RFP) focuses on the systems impacting children’s health, early learning, and high-quality education, to shift those in ways that create more opportunities for school readiness and educational success for more Kansas children. In particular, this initiative will support work that benefits Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) and low-income families experiencing the greatest barriers.

Further details about the Advocates for Equity, Education and Health Initiative can be found in the one-page overview and the official Request For Proposals document available via the KHF website. We also encourage applicants to review the Frequently Asked Questions document before applying.

Up to three organizations will be awarded up to $300,000 each to be used over a span of three years ($100,000 annually) beginning May 1, 2021 and ending April 30, 2024. Applications are accepted through Friday, March 5, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. CST.

Advocacy for Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change

We are asking the three organizations funded through this initiative to engage in advocacy efforts that will result in policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) changes that consider three fundamental questions:

  1. How can we support BIPOC families in ways that create environments for young children that result in increased social, emotional and academic preparedness for entering school?
  2. How can we help our early care and education providers and school districts reimagine their work so that more birth-to-eight age children are reaching their educational potential?
  3. How can we support access to healthcare and support services for families so children have the healthiest possible start in life?

The grantees selected will advocate for PSE improvements to answer the above questions by:

  • Creating more supportive environments that reduce barriers and prepare all Kansas children for a successful learning experience (i.e., increasing school readiness; access to mental health providers in school); and/or
  • Aiding Kansas schools and early care and education providers in designing and delivering equitable education opportunities for children and caregivers using a whole child, two-generation approach to improve educational outcomes (supporting schools in their efforts to create greater achievement for students of culturally and racially diverse backgrounds). Click here to see how we define a two-generation approach: https://ascend.aspeninstitute.org/two-generation/what-is-2gen/ .

Both approaches are intended to lead to PSE changes resulting in more students experiencing success in the classroom.

Who should apply

We are interested in reaching organizations who have authentic connections to families with prenatal to age eight BIPOC children and those experiencing poverty to ensure these organizations have the opportunity to apply. Nonprofits which are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code can apply. Eligible applicants are tax-exempt organizations qualified under Sections 509(a)(1) or (a)(2) of the Code.

If your organization has relevant experience and expertise but you question whether or how you should apply, please reach out to KHF Program Officer Chan Brown to discuss at cbrown@khf.org.

Informational webinar February 9, 2 p.m. CST

Interested applicants are encouraged (not required), to attend an informational webinar, which will provide an opportunity to learn more and ask questions about this initiative and the application process.

To participate in the webinar, please RSVP by providing the following information to Candace Malone at cmalone@khf.org: Name, organization(s)/affiliation(s), and the names and emails of any others attending from your organization/coalition.

For those who cannot attend the live webinar, a pre-recorded webinar covering most of what will be discussed on the 9th can be viewed here.

Important dates

Applicants Webinar: February 9, 2021, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. CST
Proposals Due: March 5, 2021 by 5:00 p.m. CST
Grant Awards Announced: By April 17, 2021
Grant Term Begins: May 1, 2021
Please note, this timeline is subject to minor changes.

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