SEATTLE, Oct. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The strong conviction that early investment in our children is the most powerful step we can take to build a strong, vibrant community prompted Seattle Foundation to endorse the Best Starts for Kids tax levy appearing as King County Proposition 1 on the Nov. 3 ballot. The endorsement marks the first time the Foundation has taken a position on a ballot initiative in its nearly 70-year history.
Seattle Foundation has a long track-record of philanthropic support for the early learning, intervention and place-based programs championed in Best Starts for Kids. The goal of these programs is to improve outcomes for kids and families through cost-effective early investment, and reduce long-term health care and criminal justice costs that hurt our community and create long-term harm for parents and children alike. Most importantly, Best Starts for Kids is an investment in helping all children reach their full human potential.
"The only way we can create better educational and life outcomes for our children is to create supportive environments at every stage of their development," said Tony Mestres, president and CEO of Seattle Foundation. "This support is even more critical in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, where Best Starts for Kids will help create greater equality of opportunity and help guide children on a path toward long-term success."
"Seattle Foundation is endorsing this ballot measure because investing in our community is at the heart of what we do, and the smartest and most responsible investment we can make is in the future of our kids," he said.
If passed by voters, the first of its kind initiative would fund a set of proven prevention and early intervention strategies, driven by science, to ensure all children can develop the cognitive, emotional and social skills necessary to succeed in life. The six-year tax levy would support the following:
- Invest heavily in a child's first five years, starting with prenatal services.
- Invest at key developmental milestones on a child's journey to adulthood.
- Create healthy communities, in partnership with Seattle Foundation, that support strong families, reinforce progress and sustain the gain.
This innovative approach would include developmental disability screenings, tools for parents and teachers to identify behavioral and mental health challenges, as well as early intervention investments to prevent crime, drug use, school dropouts and other problems. It seeks to break the connection between incomes and outcomes, and reverse demand for high-cost, crisis-focused services.
Best Starts for Kids also expands on the Communities of Opportunity initiative, a neighborhood-focused partnership between Seattle Foundation and King County which supports community-identified goals to increase equity – health, social, racial and economic – across the county. Communities of Opportunity is currently working in the Rainier Valley, SeaTac/Tukwila and White Center areas.
"The Seattle Foundation has been supporting children and healthy communities for years with programs to help kids stay in school and on track for success, and we're looking forward to expanding that great work with Best Starts for Kids. Communities of Opportunity and other proven programs help children thrive in school and life, and we're glad to have Seattle Foundation's help and support for Best Starts for Kids," said King County Executive Dow Constantine.
In addition to Seattle Foundation, Best Starts for Kids is endorsed by a wide-range of community organizations including Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, The Seattle Times, YMCA of Greater Seattle and YWCA among others.
About Seattle Foundation
Seattle Foundation's mission is to foster powerful and rewarding philanthropy to make King County a stronger, more vibrant community for all. Our goal as a community foundation is to simplify giving and strengthen the impact of philanthropy for the more than 1,200 individuals, families and businesses we serve. We made $85 million in grants in 2014 and offer an online Giving Center at www.seattlefoundation.org to provide current information on community issues and nonprofit organizations.
SOURCE Seattle Foundation