Giving Compass' Take:

• Surveys show that budget cuts are severely impacting after-school programs, making it more difficult to obtain funding for programs, particularly ones that serve low-income communities. 

• How can donors play a role in helping these programs with funding gaps? 

• Read how community schools are supporting students and families during COVID-19. 

After-school programs are struggling to meet the needs of students they traditionally support, according to surveys released by the Afterschool Alliance and National Summer Learning Association. Budget cuts and the inability of low-income students to get to the programs contribute to the problem.

Seventy-three percent of programs serving higher-income students were open in some capacity during the pandemic compared to 38% of those serving lower-income students, showed the surveys of more than 1,000 respondents across the U.S. Sixty-nine percent of providers said they are concerned that the children who need services can’t access them. This summer, the programs could only serve about 50% of the number of students they served in 2019 due to social distancing, student-to-staff ratios and other pandemic-related factors.

As social distancing ramped up last spring, many after-school programs moved from in-person to providing online activities in efforts to keep kids engaged. As of early April, three out of four after-school programs were not operating on a normal schedule. Seventy-eight percent were providing remote services or using other ways to stay connected. Some programs provided lunches, groceries and diapers for families hard hit by the pandemic.

The Afterschool Alliance, along with other after-school program associations, said the groups can be part of the economic recovery by continuing to provide after-school and summer programs for students. But funding response from the Department of Education has been slow.

Read the full article about after-school programs are struggling with funding by Shawna De La Rosa at Education Dive.