The past year has been a critical one. Despite the challenges brought with COVID-19, we have made many new and exciting changes over the past year with your help. In 2021, the Task Force continued efforts to support community engagement, diversity, equity, access, and inclusion within organizations, and the distribution of resources to communities in need.
Our Lens of Equity Mini-Series began in February, where 30-minute presentations took place during the monthly meetings of the Task Force. The four-part series had over 400 attendees and focused on the components of an equitable organization: People, Policy, Practice, and Promotion. The series discussed how organizations and individuals can put DEAI (Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion) at the center of their work and start their journey toward better practices and a healthy workplace culture. Moving forward, we are planning a Lens of Equity Summit near the end of 2022 to continue this work and provide tangible tools and information to organizations so they can move forward and build healthy DEAI frameworks.
We continued our DEAI efforts in March with an intimate discussion on how we can support women of color in the workplace, which had over 125 attendees. The event hosted a panel of speakers and covered how to provide support within organizations. The Task Force also presented at the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) Form in Washington, D.C. in June. Titled “Casting a Wider N.E.T.,” the presentation discussed how to remove the implicit bias surrounding community engagement and asked: Are you the bridge or the barrier?
With the Task Force’s partnership with Goodwill and other community organizations, our Collaboration for a Cause events continued throughout 2021. During the summer months, we met the community where they were and provided resource bags, hygiene kits, portable cell phone chargers, school supplies, gas cards, bus passes, at-home COVID-19 test kits, and more. The final event of the year, Collaboration for a Cause: Winter Warm Up, provided additional resources to the community on December 10. Through Collaboration for a Cause events, an estimated $297,850 in donated goods have been provided to the community, serving approximately 1,100 families.
In September, the Task Force participated in HIRE 253, a hiring and resource event. In partnership with Project Homeless Connect, HIRE 253 served over 160 attendees and provided resources on registering to vote, childcare, veteran resources, health insurance, employment, and more.
Nearing the end of the summer, we realized that we could avoid working in silos by changing our format, resulting in even stronger communication and collaboration. Previously, we worked on our initiatives through three subgroups: Outreach & Engagement, Organizational Structures, and People & Providers. With our new format, we now hold meetings based on our initiatives: Collaboration for a Cause, Lens of Equity, and the Speaker’s Bureau. We also now hold our main meetings every other month to provide more time to focus on our initiatives.
Leadership, Outreach & Engagement, Organizational Structures, and People & Providers continue to be pillars of the Task Force and aspects of how we work together as members of LOOP City. This change has provided more time to work on our initiatives and grow as a Task Force.
Our successes over the past year would not have been possible without your help. We want to thank you for your unwavering efforts week after week in support of the community. Thank you for being a part of our monthly activities and helping us grow and continue to bring economic mobility to individuals and families in Pierce County.
From our Lens of Equity Mini-Series and Collaboration for a Cause events to our current and future initiatives like the Speaker’s Bureau and The Corner, we are looking forward to continuing our work with you in the new year to make Pierce County a better place.