In 2016, MAP surveyed afterschool providers about what funding sources they use and how much time they devote to raising money for their programs. We found that providers used a diverse array of afterschool funding sources for their program. They also spent a lot of time doing it. One of the biggest issues facing afterschool and summer learning is the sustainability of the programs themselves. MAP seeks to help find ways to make funding more accessible for providers everywhere and make it less time intensive to do so. This section outlines the issues facing the afterschool programs and funding.
No Primary Funding source
As of 2017, there is no single funding source for all afterschool and summer programs to tap into. While there are large state and federal grants such as TANF and 21st CCLC, they do not provide the adequate resources to meet demand. Many of the smaller grants are specialized by topic area such as increasing quality, promoting health and wellness, or incorporating STEM.
These grants are handled by many different agencies including Public Health, Higher Ed, and Children and Families. The huge array of agencies makes it hard to pinpoint where exactly funding is going to - many grants are available to afterschool programs but it is unclear how many actually receive that money. It also makes it difficult to align outcomes. Different agencies have different expectations for grant recipients. Some agencies assess grantees on environmental ratings, while some focus on activities and learning. This diverse array of assessments can cause issues for providers.
The largest diversity of funding sources also make it easier for budget cuts. It's easier to take 10% away from 10 small programs than 10% away from one big program. Some states have created large single budgets for their afterschool systems with much success. California launched a statewide funding initaitive aimed at boosting academic performance of all children and youth. The state funded the new program for $550 million each year.
Stagnant Federal Investment
At the beginning of the century, the state saw a large boost in afterschool and summer learning funding then another boost before the 2008 recession. The influx of cash came from new programs such as 21st CCLC and the reauthorization of the Child Care ad Development Block Grant (CCDBG). The funding was desperately needed at the time and reflected the growing acknowledgement of the power of afterschool programs. Despite the initial investment, however, the state did not continue to fund programs based on inflation. Departments such as Early Education and Care, which is one of the largest funders of afterschool programs though licensing and vouchers, saw their net funding decrease over the last 18 years.
MAP and our partner coalitions such as Put MA Kids First have helped advocate for increases for line items such as the child care rate reserve which goes towards reimbursement rates for early ed and afterschool programs. Despite these recent efforts there is still a need for more sustainable funding from the state.