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Seeking Shared Prosperity

In southwest Washington, thousands of working families are not feeling the gains of our broader economic trends. Systemic barriers mean some have faced hardships for generations, with fewer opportunities to advance themselves and their families. These imbalances have widespread implications for every person in our region, which is why we focus our grantmaking efforts on programs and initiatives that provide underserved families and communities with access to the tools and opportunities needed to get ahead in life.

To accomplish this goal we invest in the following community impact areas, which we believe will improve all lives in southwest Washington.

Basic Human Needs

Many in our community are working to survive, and every day presents a challenge to find food, shelter and security. For this reason, we fund organizations and programs that fulfill the basic needs of underserved people, families and communities. This includes needs such as food security, rent and utility assistance, affordable housing, physical and mental health, caregiving, domestic violence services and more. By addressing these pressing needs as they arise, people are better able to plan for their futures.

Educational Attainment

In today’s economy, a good job and upward mobility increasingly depend on educational attainment. Without access, inclusivity and strong social supports, even students with great potential can encounter barriers. We invest in efforts that provide equitable opportunities along the entire educational continuum from birth to adulthood, so that every child enters school ready to learn and is able to achieve their goals for post-secondary success.

Asset Building

All southwest Washington residents should have the opportunity to achieve financial security. We fund efforts to improve the economic health of the people and communities who face the biggest barriers to mobility. These include asset- and wealth-building strategies, employment services, financial planning and credit repair, small business development, homeownership, community livability, economic development and more.

Criteria Guiding Decision-Making

Program Implementation

  • Mission and proposed programming is committed to advancing racial equity and work aligns with intergenerational poverty framework
  • Clear outcomes informed by data and community need
  • Track record of success and/ or an understanding of how to implement ambitious vision
  • Established trusted relationship with community being served
  • Program uniquely addresses community need

 

Leadership

  • Board/leadership/staff is representative and reflective of the communities they serve and/or there is an actionable outreach plan for hiring and onboarding more representative staff and board

Collaboration

  • Strong partnerships or collaborations established to leverage and advance efforts
  • Implementing community-informed innovative approaches across systems and silos

 

Strong equity framework

  • Clear understanding and measurement for how work is reducing disparities
  • Commitment to working through a lens of racial equity and social justice
  • Led by the community they are serving
  • Commitment to operationalization of equitable practices and policies in place including ability to provide culturally-specific/relevant programming focused on eliminating barriers to services and create culture of belonging
  • Demonstrated feedback loop with their clients
  • Practice of engaging and listening to client feedback in shaping operations

 

Sustainability

  • Fiscally responsible organization
  • Resources necessary to maintain the work

Community Impact Lens

The following priorities help guide our funding toward projects and programs that have the greatest potential for community impact.

  • The program or organization addresses an important community need in southwest Washington and is focused on dismantling disparities and increasing opportunities for historically underserved communities;
  • The proposed project or work is consistent with the organization’s mission, and the organization has the experience and knowledge to address the identified community need;
  • The organization is committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion both internally, through its institutional practices and policies, and externally, through its partnerships and program delivery;
  • The program or organization is working to build awareness around intergenerational poverty and address its root causes;
  • The organization’s programs are clearly defined, avoid duplication and are grounded in strength-based best practices in the field;
  • The organization seeks to include the voices and perspectives of the people and communities it serves during program development and conducts outreach and service delivery with cultural sensitivity;
  • The organization has established trusted community relationships and meaningful community partnerships;
  • The organization seeks to collaborate and share, carrying out their work in coordination with partners or through coalition building efforts;
  • The outcomes and activities noted are realistic and the organization has demonstrated potential of future impact;
  • The organization demonstrates competency in fiscal planning and management; the project budget and grant request are commensurate in size with the organization’s overall budget and with the proposed impact of the work; and additional support is sought from other funding sources.