Online Professional Learning and
Technical Assistance for
21st Century Community Learning Centers


August 14, 2023

Screenshot of opening slide for the Y4Y Sustainability Quality Program Quickstarter“Sustainability” has become something of a buzzword lately — and for good reason! People all over are replacing everyday household “disposables” with items like reusable straws and plastic-free soap. These small decisions are sure to make a lasting impact on Mother Earth — and future generations will benefit. Did you know that this same idea can apply to your program? With Y4Y’s newest Quality Program Quickstarter module, Sustainability, you’ll have the power to plan for the sustainability of your program no matter what happens!

The Wide World of Grants

It can be helpful to think of grant money as a seed that you and your team must plant, water, and nurture so that the seed sprouts and grows into a flourishing program. From the fruits of your labor (pun intended), students and families get resources that help them thrive and move toward their goals. However, like Mother Nature, the wide world of grants can sometimes be unpredictable, so it’s important that your program has strong roots to sustain itself even if the status of your grant changes. That’s where Y4Y comes in.

The Forest of Fruitfulness

By spending an hour or so with the Sustainability QPQ module, you’ll develop skills to define program sustainability in real terms, recruit partners and financial resources to keep your program strong, and develop a five-year sustainability plan and maintain it as a living document. Take a walk through the module and see what our fruitful forest has to offer:

  • Most people agree that out-of-school time programs are valuable, so use this to your advantage! Engaging key stakeholders within your community — people and organizations who value your program, share common goals, and can contribute financially or in kind — is a great way to ensure your program lasts. Be sure to use our budget template to keep track of your program’s finances — and other resources.
  • After you’ve found the fertilizer to keep your program growing, it’s time to develop your sustainability plan. Take a peek at the four steps you can take to get there:
    • Set sustainability goals: What are you trying to achieve?
    • Examine your financial plan: How do you currently allocate funding to achieve these goals?
    • Build capacity: How can you use resources to fill funding gaps?
    • Do long-range strategic planning: What will you do each year to build your program and make it sustainable?
  • Once you’ve taken the steps to strengthen your program’s roots, you’ll have the chance to view Sustainability Case Studies and see what it took for four different programs to build a sustainable program.

Tilling the Soil

Just as farmers till the soil to prepare for fruitful crops, it’s important to make sure your program can withstand anything Mother Nature has in store. Thankfully, Y4Y’s Sustainability module was created especially to help you identify partners, find resources, and develop a plan so that your program can weather the elements for years to come!


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