United Way Works to End Barriers to Student Success

By United Way of King County Posted on November 12, 2020 In News, Racial Equity

Thanks for voting! Wow, historic turnout this month—84.6% in King County, even better than the nearly 82% statewide—means our voices were heard.

An exciting new class of freshman legislators is heading to Olympia—it has one of the largest number of women of color in the state legislature ever. This group includes newly elected Reps. Kirsten Harris-Talley in south Seattle, Jamila Taylor in Federal Way, April Berg in Everett, our only African American state senator, T’wina Nobles from Tacoma, and men of color such as new Rep. David Hackney in Tukwila. Way to go, Washington!

When the Legislature convenes on January 11, United Way of King County will be advocating for education, anti-poverty, and homelessness policies and funding. Our lead item is Open Doors, legislation providing access to reengagement programs for youth who have dropped out or are unlikely to graduate from high school on time.

Through our Reconnecting Youth investments in communities of color-led agencies serving reengaged young people, we have identified policy barriers to youth of color success. We are proposing remedies based on input from our grantees and providers, participating youth, United Way grant managers and consultants who have studied how state funds are used.

We are excited to take lessons from our investments of philanthropic dollars to improve policy affecting the educational attainment of youth across the state. If successful this year, we expect the results to be higher rates of high school credentials and college credits for youth of color.

We’re working to break the cycle of poverty with legislative priorities around funding and expanding the Working Families Tax Credit and preserving recently restored access to cash assistance programs. In homelessness, we’re focused on expanding rental assistance to prevent evictions and passing statewide protections against discriminatory and arbitrary evictions. We will be advocating against austerity budgeting and cuts to social services. You can read our legislative agenda here.


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