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Daybreak Star Center Struggles After Feds Pull Head Start Funding

Flickr Photo/sea turtle

The Daybreak Star Cultural Center in Seattle’s Discovery Park is in financial trouble. Now the United Indians of All Tribes board is trying to raise enough money to stay open through the end of the year.

The problems started last spring when Daybreak lost its Head Start after evaluators determined the federal early childhood program had missed benchmarks. The loss cut Daybreak’s budget to $2.1 million from $4.5 million.

Jeff Smith, a Makah tribal member and board member of the United Indians of All Tribes, said Daybreak is cutting staff and trying to raise money from other tribes.  

“We’re fortunate to have board members who have connections to these tribal communities and are able to help make our case in a really good way,” Smith said.

Smith said that although money is tight, rumors that Daybreak will close are overblown. “It’s always been tight," he said. "There have always been rumors that we’re going to close, and we never have in the 40 some years that we’ve been around.”

Smith said Daybreak supporters have rallied with ideas to raise money, but they’re also worried that the drastic cuts could hurt Native American social service programs down the road.