2022 Washington State Nonprofit Conference Field Notes: Day 3

  1. 2021 Washington State Nonprofits Conference: Tuesday
  2. 2021 Washington State Nonprofits Conference: Wednesday
  3. 2021 Washington State Nonprofits Conference: Thursday
  4. 2022 Washington State Nonprofit Conference Field Notes: Day 1
  5. 2022 Washington State Nonprofit Conference Field Notes: Day 2
  6. 2022 Washington State Nonprofit Conference Field Notes: Day 3
  7. 2023 Washington State Nonprofits Conference Field Notes
  8. Poll results and question themes point to nonprofit website struggles

Keynote: Rise Together!

A conversation with Chris Persons, Sili Savusa, Steven Knipp, Steve Daschle, K. Wyking Garrett, and Andrea Caupain Sanderson

All presenters were part of the Rise Together initiative that is working to raise $40 million dollars to build 400 affordable housing units in King County.

We Are Rise Together: Central District, Capitol Hill, White Center. Africatown Community Land Trust. Byrd Barr Place. Community Roots Housing. White Center Community Development Association. Southwest Youth & Family Services. GenPride.
The Rise Together initiative is made up of 6 main organizations with numerous other partners: Central District, Capitol Hill, White Center. Africatown Community Land Trust. Byrd Barr Place. Community Roots Housing. White Center Community Development Association. Southwest Youth & Family Services. GenPride.

These organizations came together to run a joint capital campaign rather than trying to raise funds by themselves. Their goals:

  • Stable affordable housing
  • Improve community health and wellness
  • Build organization capacity and assets
Projects: Central District's Liberty Bank Building with 115 apartments for 30-60% Area Median Income (AMI). Central District's Byrd Barr Place Fire Station 23 with 10000 square feet of service space. Central District's Africatown Plaza with 126 apartments for 50% AMI. Capitol Hill's Boylston-Howell Family Housing Rehab with 30 apartments for 40-50% AMI. Capitol Hill's Pride Place with 118 apartments for 30-60% AMI. White Center's White Center Community HUB with 76 apartments for 30-60% AMI.

They have a number of projects that have just been completed, are under construction, or are close to breaking ground. All projects have a focus on avoiding displacement.

K. Wyking Garrett shared that Africatown Community Landtrust is “hacking” gentrification to retain community control of resources and avoid displacement. I love that idea!

The work of rise together has brought together a wide array of very diverse organizations. In working together they have had to focus on:

  • engaging equity issues
  • building trust
  • addressing resource disparities
  • reconciling different experiences of BIPOC- and White-led organizations

These conversations are happening between the partner organizations and with funders. They are important conversations for the nonprofit sector, not just this one initiative. While some may view these conversations as “beside the point” in addressing affordable housing, everyone agreed that they are absolutely critical and the only way to do so in a racially just way.

Notes from the Q&A

  • Many of these organizations such as GenPride found that working together enabled them to do much more than they could have done on their own.
  • Asked to share examples of conflicts between partners: The conflicts were with the status quo. “This is how things were done at my old organization.” “This is how X is always done.” These practices are often rooted in anti-blackness and uphold inequity. They are trying to navigate their way out of these ways of working that reinforce inequality.
  • Working on the “cultural reconditioning” required to build this movement meant integrating that work as part of every meeting and interaction. Some people felt at times that it wasn’t part of the work, but they worked through that.
  • This was a point with a lot of nuance that I fear I may not summarize correctly but I want to try: Lots of people are talking about “equity” and using terms like “People of Color” (POC) or “BIPOC”. And yet even in those contexts, the individual experiences of people and communities—including and especially black folks—can be erased and there isn’t necessarily space to come out and just say what people want.

Ask Me Anything About Website Accessibility and Usability

Yesterday was Global Accessibility Awareness Day, so what better activity for the conference than a session about website accessibility! From 10am – 1pm I was available to answer peoples’ questions on the subject.

I got a few absolutely fabulous questions that I’ll be turning into blog posts soon!

In the mean time, you can read a blog post I published a few hours ago about why I avoid images of text whenever possible. I had this scheduled for next week, but it was so relevant to one of the questions that I decided to post it immediately!

Conference Reflections

I enjoyed attending the Washington State Nonprofit Conference. I saw a lot of friendly familiar faces there, I learned in sessions both from people I knew and people who were new to me, and I was happily able to share some of my knowledge with other attendees through the Ask Me Anything.

Online conferences are still tough, though. This week, I was really not in a “cameras on” mood despite that being a request from conference organizers, and I felt a little caught off guard my some requests to participate in intimate breakout groups. The pressure of work is so much greater when attending a conference is in the same room, on the same chair, on the same screen that you work for hours every week day.

I made it a goal last year to be more intentional about how I attend online conferences, and I’ve had some successes but also struggles. I think almost everyone has, but it’s worth sharing anyway. I did my best and that’s what was right for me this week.

So I hope you found something valuable in one of the sessions’ field notes from this conference. Here’s to the next one!

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