Lenny Wilkens Comes To Everett To Support Rise Up Academy & Future Leaders

July 6, 2023


Lenny Wilkens

Lenny Wilkens with Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers and Dr. Paul A. Stoot, Sr., among others at the Rise Up Academy Thursday afternoon.

Rise Up Academy

Plans were announced for a 3-story building with two floors of affordable housing above a first-floor state of the art learning academy.

NBA Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens was in Everett, Washington today helping his friend Dr. Paul A. Stoot, Sr., CEO and Executive Director, Rise Up Academy celebrate the receipt of a two million dollar grant from Snohomish County to nearly double the number of kids to be served at Rise Up Academy’s early learning program.

The money from Snohomish County is a pass-through of Federal Pandemic Recovery Funds awarded to six capital projects across Snohomish County to increase quality child care.

Coach Wilkens has been a long-time supporter of Rise Up which was formerly Greater Trinity Academy and is located at 112th and 4th Avenue West in south Everett.

Wilkens support of causes beneficial to children in the Northwest dates back to his days as player-coach for the Seattle Supersonics. Wilkens told those gathered today that the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic was his charity and that “this is yours” remarking how he’s always viewed children as tomorrow’s doctors, leaders, politicians and athletes and with programs like the Rise Up Academy along with encouragement from adults, kids can see they can make a difference.

Rise Up Academy is receiving $2 million dollars from $7.6 million split among six different organizations.

Here’s more from Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers’ office on today’s announcement.

Executive Dave Somers today announced that Snohomish County is awarding $7.6 million to six capital projects that increase high-quality, affordable child care. These projects will create nearly 360 new child care slots across the county, and five of six funded projects are located in extreme child care deserts. These awards are funded through the County’s federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation.

Snohomish County faces a critical lack of child care with an estimated 80 percent of residents living in an extreme child care desert. According to Child Care Aware, there are 62 slots of child care in the county for every 100 infants, toddlers, or preschoolers whose parents work, far below the state average of 79 slots per 100 children.

“A major barrier to people joining or returning to the workforce is the lack of available and affordable child care. The effects of child care deserts across our county impact all of us, but they have an even more acute impact on women, who are pushed out of the job market at higher rates due to the extremely high cost of child care,” said Executive Somers. “That’s why we are expanding access for communities across our county, particularly in places where child care is already extremely scarce.”

“Quality child care is critical for the future of our youth and parents’ ability to join the workforce. I am proud to see these investments to expand the number of child care options in Snohomish County,” said Vice Chair Nate Nehring (District 1).

“Parents and families should not have to struggle to find reliable child care and our child care providers should be well trained and supported. These investments will add more capacity to our system and bring relief to families struggling to find care, which is preventing many people from returning to the workforce. I’m encouraged by several new partnerships to expand options and invest in transformational programs,” said Councilmember Megan Dunn (District 2).

“I am grateful we are getting these funds out to facilities throughout the county so more families can access these vital services,” said Councilmember Sam Low (District 5).

“Because of the historic investments Democrats made in the American Rescue Plan, hundreds of families across Snohomish County will now have access to affordable, high-quality child care. Right now, families are struggling to find the child care they need—and struggling to afford the options they can find—and today’s announcement by Executive Somers is going to make a real difference for so many kids and families in Snohomish County. This announcement shows what’s possible when we invest in our nation’s child care sector, and I am going to keep pushing in Congress until we fix the child care crisis once and for all,” said Senator Patty Murray.

All awarded projects originate from submissions to the County’s Child Care Facilities Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). Increasing child care availability was identified as a top community priority during the County’s communitywide pandemic recovery engagement effort. All funded projects are detailed below.

Volunteers of America Western Washington (VOAWW) – Lynnwood Neighborhood Center 

Awarded $2,000,000 

As part of the larger Lynnwood Neighborhood Center project, VOAWW will build new classroom space to serve 62 children including preschool, toddler, and infant classrooms. Additional services available on-site include family support, behavioral health integration, on-site medical services, and community-based intensive services for children, youth, and adults.

Rise Up Academy Academy Expansion Project 

Awarded $2,000,000 

This project will construct a new child care and early learning facility that will increase Rise Up Academy’s child care capacity from 70 to 130 slots. The larger project, while not funded with this award, will also include long-term affordable housing units.


“At Rise Up Academy, we embrace excellence and serve as beacons of hope for children, families, and communities in their pursuit of breaking free from the cycle of poverty and academic challenges that plague BIPOC communities,” said Dr. Paul A. Stoot, Sr., CEO and Executive Director, Rise Up Academy. “Over the course of 23 remarkable years and with unwavering expertise in our field, we have unfailingly upheld our mission as the pioneers of an extraordinary educational journey that serves the whole child, the whole family, and the whole community, empowering generations to transcend poverty into promise.


Housing Hope – Tomorrow’s Hope Child Development Center  

Awarded $1,000,000 

Housing Hope will construct a new facility for Tomorrow’s Hope Child Development Center, doubling this program’s capacity to provide full-day, trauma-informed child care for children who have experienced homelessness, poverty, or early traumas. The project will create 136 to 142 new child care slots. This facility will also provide job training in the early childhood education field and on-site behavioral health services for children and parents.


Camp Fire Snohomish County – Camp Killoqua Child Care Center 

Awarded $1,000,000 

Camp Killoqua plans to renovate and transform an existing large open conference room into child care classrooms and create a fenced play area. This project will create 32 additional child care slots.


“Camp Fire Snohomish County is very excited for this incredible opportunity from Snohomish County! We are thrilled to begin offering child care options in North County for families that have known us for years,” said Krissy Davis, Executive Director, Camp Fire Snohomish County. “Our new facility will incorporate our tried-and-true programming alongside with child care and connections to nature and the outdoors. We are so grateful to Snohomish County for helping us bring this dream to life!”


Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County – Edmonds Club Child Care 

Awarded $1,000,000 

This project constructs a new one-story 12,000 square foot building to expand child care offerings from the current 70 slots to up to 120 slots once the expansion is complete.


Latino Educational Training Institute – Incubators for Families’ Success 

Awarded $656,193 

LETI will develop a 1,232 square foot modular building and outdoor playground for a child development center beside their current office. This project will provide approximately 20 child care slots for Latino and immigrant community members.


Once awarded projects begin serving children, anyone interested can learn more about the projects on the County’s new COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard. Executive Somers established the Office of Recovery & Resilience to guide the County’s recovery work by ensuring federal pandemic relief is administered quickly, effectively, and equitably. Information on the County’s recovery work can be found at www.snohomishcountywa.gov/recovery.



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