Even after finding and aligning all currently available resources, communities are often still unable to meet the full needs of their children and youth. To tackle that problem, localities must assess need, explore feasibility, facilitate community engagement, launch a campaign, and plan the administration of new locally-generated funds to address gaps in meeting the needs of all children and youth. That is no small set of tasks, but they are necessary, to bolster and stabilize funding for children and youth.
In this section, we summarize and link to articles, reports, blog posts and examples of cities and counties generating the resources needed to support children and youth. We hope these resources provide inspiration and ideas to other localities seeking to generate their own local, dedicated funds.
Investing in Kids: A winning proposition. The National Association of Counties (NACO) featured one of the newest success stories in locally dedicated tax funds for kids – King County, Washington. The October 2016 County News publication featured King County’s Best Starts for Kids, funded by a $65 million local tax levy. The article discusses why communities like King County are taking it upon themselves to generate funds to support children and youth services, and what it takes to garner and sustain local ownership of the need to support kids.
The New Strategy for Raising (and Protecting) Money for Kids. In December, Governing Magazine highlighted a lesser known – and promising – footnote to the November 2016 elections: in a dozen communities across the country, local down ballot initiatives to generate tax revenue to fund children’s services won overwhelmingly. An emerging trend in local elections, dedicated children’s funds, which legally can’t be spent on anything else, are becoming increasingly common. Governing’s December 2016 edition features this story – and the success at the ballot box that advocates around the country are seeking to replicate.
Taking Bold Action to Fund What Matters: Communities Raise Revenue to Support Youth. The opportunity gap between wealthy and low-income kids has never been greater, with high-income families outspending lower-income families nine to one on enrichment opportunities. But diverse communities around the country are stepping back to acknowledge the opportunity gap – and stepping up – to close it for lower income families by raising local funds for a range of children’s services.
On Tuesday, a Down-Ballot Win for Kids. While the national election made headlines, November 2016 ballots across the country also featured lesser-known initiatives to raise revenue for children’s services. In twelve out of 15 places where tax initiatives for children’s services were launched, kids won big. The number and diversity of places where these initiatives were successful suggest that future efforts for a locally-driven, voter-approved approach to funding much needed services for children and youth may be worth the political risk.
Creating Local Dedicated Funds for Children & Youth: How Will We Fund Services for the Next Generation? This webinar kicked off an emerging movement focused on helping cities and counties address the funding crisis in children and youth services through the creation of dedicated local funding streams. This webinar serves as a good resource for communities taking the next step in developing locally-driven funding to serve the needs of children and youth.
Generating Public Dollars for Kids: the Story of the Philadelphia Soda Tax. In October 2016, the Forum for Youth Investment hosted a webinar on the story of the Philadelphia soda tax, a first of its kind tax initiative. Communities that are exploring ways to creatively find sufficient funding for early childhood and youth development programs will find details in how Philadelphia designed and launched the soda tax to do just that.
Polling on Youth Issues: Effective Best Practices. Leading pollster Celinda Lake joined this March 2016 webinar on the latest national trends in voters’ views on children, youth and family issues. This webinar features strategies to consider in attempting a local poll, and how to use this tool to really catalyze local work to invest in children and youth.
Map of Cities and Counties with Voter-Approved Dedicated Children's Funds. To date more than thirty cities and counties have voter-approved dedicated children’s funds. The Forum continues to update and report on localities around the country that have launched such funds to support services to children, youth and families. More places will be added as new initiatives emerge.
Use this checklist for action to take steps to create a local, dedicated public funding stream that provides your community with a level of security, stability and flexibility in the funding available to support children and youth.