Part of the Poverty Reduction Workgroup’s efforts involved working with businesses, philanthropic groups, nonprofits and others to track efforts that align with the 10-year Plan to Dismantle Poverty in Washington.
One of those meetings was with Seattle Credit Union (SCU), which created a matrix to show how their work aligns with strategies in the plan — specifically Strategy 2, which covers making equal space for the power and influence of people and communities most affected by poverty and inequality in decision-making.
“Trust with the community is everything,” said Barney Herrera, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at SCU. “We absolutely want to center the voice of the community in our work.”
SCU is working towards this by moving their work online and providing their nonprofit community partners with video platforms to accommodate virtual meetings. This enables and empowers the community to continue to meet the needs of its citizens and neighbors, thanks to the partnership with SCU.
SCU has also put together a free online library of resources and trainings for partners so that they can e-access these opportunities versus in-person trainings or workshops. Pivoting to create opportunities for engagement in a virtual world has been critical to their success and they are continuing to track partners’ needs and emergent needs.
SCU shared that it, too, is using a DEI lens in all departments, from executive leadership to staff at its branches. The work is hard, but necessary, and the Poverty Reduction team appreciates its partners — like SCU — for working with us as we co-design our potential future.
Alignment and accountability to the strategies — both at the government level and at the local level — is critical to reducing the disparities to that all our families can thrive in Washington. That applies to businesses, nonprofits or a city.
Our website will soon have a page dedicated to how the state and others, like SCU, are making headway on specific strategies and recommendations. This accountability mechanism will highlight movement in each strategy and everyone can see where shifts have occurred, or not occurred, in order to track their impact.
The PRWG worked for two years on crafting the 10-year plan, and most of the work was done before the emergence of COVID-19. The plan has been updated to accommodate new challenges and opportunities as it pertains to the global health pandemic, though most of the work laid out in the plan still resonates deeply as we work to recover equitably.
This is a time to be nimble and to be innovative with, and for, the community. This work is about systems change, based on meaningful relationships, and we are honored to have SCU as a partner in this journey to reduce disparities and poverty in Washington State.
To learn more about what your organization can do to take part, check out the Dismantle Poverty Action Toolkit.