To our supporters,
Nearly every day I think about the future we’re building for children like my two sons, ages 6 and 8. This past year was particularly difficult, as we faced unprecedented challenges at the federal level for ensuring safe and stable communities and protecting the natural environment. And yet when I look back on what we accomplished here in Washington, I’m filled with hope for the future. For almost three decades, Futurewise has worked to ensure sustainable, equitable growth across Washington State and this past year saw wins on many fronts.
When Futurewise first came together in 1990, our major challenge was ensuring that farms, forests and waterways were protected from the negative impacts of development. Yet while we continue to fight on that front, urban growth has brought another set of challenges: low-income and under-represented communities often bear the burdens of growth, while wealthier communities reap the benefits. What’s more, these disparities are perpetuated when members of under-represented communities are excluded from decision-making processes.
As a key player statewide on growth management issues, we at Futurewise believe we have a role and responsibility in correcting these historical inequities. That’s why in 2019, we’re continuing to dive deep into new projects and partnerships with communities who are ready with solutions, but often lack the funding they need to make a difference on issues related to the environment, growth and equity.
What we can accomplish together
Advance Inclusive Urban Planning: County planning processes can be inaccessible and opaque, yet the resulting plans impact thousands of residents. We’re partnering with local groups in King County’s Skyway-West Hill community to ensure that the voices of under-represented residents can influence the county’s planning for housing and transit accessibility.
With your support, we can expand a Skyway-West Hill community youth cohort who will learn how policy impacts their built environment.
Build Diverse Coalitions for Community Empowerment: In the Tri-Cities, a group of local leaders are considering a plan to “reconvey” federally owned Columbia River property to local governments - a plan that could expose thousands of acres of public shoreline to private development. We have convened a coalition of environmentalists, tribes and Latino community leaders to push for more community education and engagement on the reconveyance plan.
With your support, we can broaden the coalition to include other powerful voices to speak up for how natural shorelines benefit wildlife and community.
Prioritize updates to the Growth Management Act: Futurewise is working to influence the state-wide Road Map for Washington’s Future project that aims to update the GMA for the next 30 years. It’s critical that updates to the GMA address climate change and affordable housing for all as well as increase opportunities for under-served residents to access the levers of power in their communities.
With your support, we can engage more legislators and decision-makers who have the power to expand the GMA to address these pressing challenges.
We’re all better served when solutions are developed by those who are directly impacted by growth management policy when they seek a place to live, a means of getting to work or a brighter future for their family. Our work in 2019 is anchored by new community partnerships that elevate those voices and experiences to shape policy and influence decision makers and we need your help to do it. Please give generously to support an equitable future for all in Washington.
Christopher Wierzbicki, PE