Seattle Preschool Grows with Help of Seattle Facilities Funds

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Tiny Tots Directors in Construction Hats
(L-R) Jacqualine Boles, Tiny Tots Director of Health and Family Services; Angelia Hicks-Maxie, Chief Executive Officer; Marcell Lyons, Childcare Compliance Officer

Angelia Hicks-Maxie got into the childcare business, in part because she loves helping kids, but also to follow in her mother’s footsteps. She had dreams to expand Tiny Tots Development Center, first founded by her mother in 1969 as an in-home child care operation, into a multisite, full-service early learning center. 

As an energetic addition to the business in the late 1990s, Hicks-Maxie had a lot of ideas. It was clear to her she would need to seek outside funds to bring those ideas to life, but finding the right sources is no easy task and growth took time.

“Without funding, preschool programs can’t grow. We’re not a profit center. In child care, you make about enough to cover your expenses and pay your staff—and not what they should be paid—and you’re struggling with that. There is no room for you to dip into a fund and say I’m going to get some capital for a new building.” 

Angelia Hicks-Maxie, SPP Provider Facilities Fund Awardee

Along the way, Angelia learned about the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) Facilities Fund, which invests in the expansion and improvement of high-quality learning environments for participation in the City’s award-winning preschool program. SPP provides Seattle three- and four-year-olds with access to high-quality, culturally responsive preschool services that improve kindergarten readiness and support subsequent academic achievement.  

Hicks-Maxie first participated in the SPP Facilities Fund Request for Investment (RFI) two years ago, and in November 2019, Tiny Tots was awarded $900,000 to build a new preschool facility as part of the Othello Square development project. This new Tiny Tots site will house two more SPP classrooms adjacent to the new Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic that’s coming to Southeast Seattle.  

Othello Square Construction Site – New Tiny Tots facility location

Othello Square Campus construction site. Includes Building C, location of the new Tiny Tots facility as part of the second Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. Photo credit: Leslie Daniels, DEEL.
Blueprint: Tiny Tots Othello, Building C of Othello Square. Courtesy of Donna Jean Brown Architect

Hicks-Maxie is now Chief Executive Officer over Tiny Tots’ five locations and 16 classrooms, and her sister, Jacqualine Boles, RN, MSN, CFNP, serves as the organization’s Director of Health and Family Services. In addition to being an SPP provider, Tiny Tots also participates in the City’s Child Care Assistance Program, serving infants and toddlers and school-age children. During the past year of the pandemic, Tiny Tots has offered full-day care for families who have needed a place for their children while school buildings remain closed. Their two new SPP classrooms at Othello Square are expected to open in fall 2021, with capacity for 40 additional SPP slots.  

In November 2020, the Department of Education and Early Learning opened the SPP Facilities Fund RFI again, and Hicks-Maxie saw another opportunity to bring more of her dreams to life and further benefit Seattle children and families. Her hard work paid off again. Tiny Tots will receive $227,927 for capital investments as an awardee for the 2020 RFI, this time for facility upgrades to the Tiny Tots Main Campus.  

Other awardees announced by DEEL for the recent SPP Facilities RFI are Voices of Tomorrow ($128,924), West African Community Council ($248,520), and the Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center ($244,516). All awardees are women and persons of color who serve linguistically and culturally diverse children in south Seattle and who were recommended by the RFI review panel. See DEEL’s full award announcement here

The SPP Facilities Fund first opened in 2016 and was refunded in 2018 as part of the Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise Levy. DEEL expects to open the next RFI process in summer 2021. Visit DEEL’s Funding Opportunities page for updates.

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