Sustaining quality programs is an ongoing challenge in local communities that has become increasingly difficult given recent cuts in federal, state and local funding for out-of-school time initiatives. The current fiscal landscape suggests that these cuts will continue as policymakers grapple with making tough economic choices in difficult times, many of which will have lasting consequences for children, youth, and families. addition, continual shifts in local and national attention to other pressing issues and concerns (e.g. school reform, STEM, universal healthcare, deficit reduction) means that United Ways, working in collaboration with out-of-school time partners, will always have to make the case for out-of-school time as a necessary component to support youth development and academic outcomes.

United Ways, as experienced mobilizers of community resources, can add considerable expertise to an out-of-school time coalition's sustainability strategies and joint planning efforts. United Ways can also use their leverage as investors in out-of-school time programs to compel program practitioners to focus more attention on this issue and plan for sustainability.

This toolkit will connect you with tips, tools, and resources to help you identify federal, state, local and private funding sources and develop strategies for sustaining out-of-school time programs and initiatives in your communities. Use this toolkit to also locate examples and successful strategies that other local United Ways and/or their partners have used to finance and sustain their out-of-school-time initiatives and continuously provide high quality opportunities for youth and families.