Now Accepting Applications for Innovation Fund RFP–Due August 8

The RFP for the Best Starts for Kids Innovation Fund for Prenatal to Five is now open. Applications are due August 8.

Click here to view the request for proposals and apply.


This link will take you a ZoomGrants page. Create a log-in to view the RFP and apply.

What is the Innovation Fund? 

The Best Starts Implementation plan, as approved by the King County Council, includes an Innovation Fund to support different approaches to serve young children and their families. The current landscape of prenatal-to-five services includes many longstanding—often decades-old—models that may not fit the diverse range of cultures, experiences, and needs of families in King County. Through this RFP, King County will partner with community-based organizations seeking to implement new or adapted approaches to support the health and well-being of pregnant individuals, children aged zero to five and their families, service providers and communities. These approaches must address the needs and priorities in a way that community stakeholders believe will be effective.

For the purposes of this RFP, an innovative approach is defined as a new approach, or an existing approach that is being used in a different way.

Best Starts’ diverse community partners and stakeholders have offered a variety of reasons for the necessity of an Innovation Fund:

  • Existing evidence-based and evidence-informed models do not work for all communities.
  • Stakeholders within communities must take the lead in identifying their challenges and solutions.
  • New approaches are needed for systems change.

Best Starts for Kids seeks to identify innovative approaches to address challenges faced by young children, their parents or caregivers, staff who work with them, and the systems and polices that touch their lives. These approaches may be completely new or adaptations to meet specific needs identified by a community. We will be funding innovative approaches in the following three areas:

  • Supporting children and families (prenatal to age five)
  • Supporting service providers
  • Changing systems

Innovation Components

Best Starts for Kids will partner with national and local leaders to provide capacity building using the Frontiers of Innovation IDEAS Impact Framework. We have chosen this framework because it has been used successfully in communities across the country and worldwide. To learn more, explore the following link: IDEAS Impact Framework.

The IDEAS Framework approach to program development and evaluation, is designed to help teams develop stronger programs, optimize evaluation efforts, and engage in fast-cycle changes in order to learn more about how an innovation works, for whom, and in what contexts with the following considerations:

  • How was co-creation part of the process?
  • How does the innovation work?
  • For whom does the innovation work and for whom does it not work?
  • In what contexts does the innovation work?


This RFP is open to not-for-profit organizations, community-based organizations, tribes and tribal organizations, schools and school districts, and public or governmental agencies serving communities in King County. Small non-profits and community-based organizations serving those most impacted by health and well-being disparities are encouraged to submit proposals.

Investment Available

Organizations awarded through this RFP will be funded for three distinct phases over a period of 27 months.

innovation funding

Phase One: Program Development and Implementation Planning (October 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019)

Best Starts will award $50,000 to as many as 13 partners in Phase One.

  • Awarded organizations will be funded to plan and document their innovations and evaluation plan.
  • Awarded organizations will be required to engage in capacity building to fully develop their program approaches.
  • If awarded organizations complete all milestones, they automatically move forward to Phase Two (program implementation).

During Phase One, organizations will attend training workshops and receive individualized capacity-building support to develop the set of tools outlined below, using the IDEAS Impact Framework. Organizations will work with a team that will include national and local capacity builders who have experience with the IDEAS Impact Framework. You will be expected to engage in or produce the following:

  • IDEAS Impact Framework Workshop in October 2018
  • Theory of Change
  • Program Documents
  • Evaluation Plan
  • Program Budget

Phase Two: Program Implementation (April 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019)

Best Starts will award $150,000 per funded organization during Phase Two.

  • There is an additional $25,000 per awarded organization to support start-up funding

Phase Two of this award will focus on implementation. Awarded organizations will receive funding to support:

  • Implementation
  • Rapid-cycle improvements or changes along the way
  • Ongoing documentation of the program
  • Data collection and evaluation work

Phase Three: Ongoing Programming (January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020)

Programs will receive up to $159,153 for ongoing programming during Phase Three, with a focus on:

  • Ongoing documentation of the program
  • Data collection and evaluation work

NOTE: We intend to fund programs through the complete program development and implementation process. All programs that receive awards for Phase One will receive the full award amount for Phases Two and Three, as long as all required milestones are completed. If required milestones are not met, awarded organizations will not be eligible for Phases Two and Three.

Funding Priorities

Innovations should consider alignment with the below Best Starts’ Priorities and must align with at least one Innovation Priority.

Best Starts’ Priorities:

  • Communities of Color, Low-Income Communities, and Limited English-Speaking Communities
  • Populations and Communities Experiencing Significant Service Gaps
  • Organizations that are Connected to and Embedded in the Community Served

Innovation Priorities:

  • Strengthens or extends a program, strategy or system in a new or different way to serve a need and provide a solution identified by the community being served.
  • Finds unique ways to support those who are caring for young children and families and provides them with supports to learn from peers and more formal trainings in ways that work best for them.
  • Is designed through co-creation that involves input from both community and providers and has ongoing plans for engaging with community.
  • Uses a combination of science-based evidence and community-informed evidence to identify solutions that work.
  • Furthers equity and social justice through program innovations that meet the needs of marginalized communities, including communities of color, refugee and immigrant communities, LGBTQ communities, and those with special needs.
  • Build on grassroots approaches to make systemic change within systems that work with young children and families.
  • Focuses on one or more of the three principles to improve outcomes for children and families identified by the Center on the Developing Child:
    • Supports responsive relationships,
    • Reduces sources of stress, and/ or
    • Strengthens core life skills.


RFP Issued June 21, 2018
Innovation Webinar and Information Session Webinar, 12:30pm-2:00pm June 27, 2018
Information Session, 3:30-4:30pm Renton Library June 28, 2018
Information Session, 10:30-11:30 am, Skyway Library July 6, 2018
Final day to ask questions August 6, 2018
RFP Responses Due August 8, 2018
Responses Reviewed and Rated August 28, 2018
Possible Interviews Week of August 28, 2018
Notice of Selected and Non-Selected Proposals September 12, 2018
Selected Proposals List Published Week of September 12
Contract Term October 1, 2018- December 31, 2020
Required IDEAS Impact Framework workshop for awardees, part I October 15, 2018
Required IDEAS Impact Framework workshop for awardees, part II October 16 and 17 OR October 18 and 19, 2018

Have more questions? Join us for information sessions
Online Webinar

June 27, 2018; 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
This is an online conference only. To join the presentation, click here.
Audio via phone at 206.263.8114, conference ID #7412684

In Person Sessions

June 28, 2018; 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Renton Library, 100 Mill Avenue S, Renton, WA 98057

July 6, 2018; 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Skyway Library, 12601 76th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98178

Need help? Get free assistance applying

Help preparing your application is available at no cost to support Best Starts for Kids applicants. Providers offer a wide range of skills, areas of expertise, and language abilities.

See the list of providers and contact information for technical assistance here.

Where can I find data to support my application?

Best Starts values the use of multiple sources of data and information. While the use of data resources is not required, we have compiled some King County data resources to assure equal access to information. Indicators identified for Best Starts can be found here: Please visit the “Data Resources” page on the Communities Count website.

Click here to watch a webinar from the Best Starts data and evaluation team sharing resources and tips for using data in your application.

Previous post
Next post

Comments (1)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: