As we enter the fall season it's time to take stock of where we stand with federal and state COVID relief investments and other policy priorities and review how we can continue to meet the challenges of our times. Here’s some reminders and news from the United Ways of Washington
Schedule Time to Update Your Legislators
School has started, making it a great time to ensure your legislative delegation is aware of what’s happening in their United Way community and engaging them as a partner and supporter. This year is not a legislative election year so legislators may have more time to meet and discuss shared concerns. If you need assistance in reaching out and planning meetings, contact our contracted policy director, Paul Knox
United Ways Policy Summit Planned in November
We will be holding a policy session with updates and discussions on federal activity and funding options, a review of our state policy work, and funding opportunities to expand the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (see last item below) in our regions. Please be on the lookout for an invitation soon.
Congress Moves Closer to Passing Major Spending Bills
United Way Worldwide has been tracking Congressional action that will affect our communities. The U.S. House and Senate narrowly passed the framework for a $3.5 trillion spending package which includes investments in healthcare, education and climate programs and the U.S. Senate approved a $1 trillion infrastructure bill (summary by Independent Sector). The larger package still needs to have the details developed by multiple committees. The fate of both bills will be decided later this season.
Meanwhile, a number of United Ways across the nation were successful in gaining approval for “earmark” funding (they’re allowed again) for targeted investments in their communities. We encourage local United Ways to consider pursuing partnership for earmark requests in the coming year. We will discuss this opportunity in earnest at our aforementioned policy summit --so keep alert for that invite.
United Way Leads Way in Expanding Parton Reading Program Statewide
A coalition of United Ways, Rotaries and early learning advocates are working to expand a successful early literacy reading program statewide by seeking funding through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Brooke Fisher-Clark, executive director of United Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties, leads the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Advocacy Advisory Committee organized to bring this national program designed to put free books into the hands of young children (through 5 years of age) into every county in Washington. More information will be shared soon about this opportunity.