December 2023 Executive Director Note

December 19, 2023

Aerial view of the Columbia River over Wenatchee with new apartment buildings along the river park

To wrap up the year, I'm thrilled to share our 2023 impact report, highlighting all the amazing work we've done with folks like you across Washington state. This month's ED note features an excerpt from the report, and you can read the entire report here.

To all our Futurewise supporters, partners, volunteers and donors,

This past year has marked an exciting period for Futurewise as we build on our work to update the Growth Management Act (GMA) and prepare for the most consequential round of comprehensive plan updates since the GMA was first passed.

Futurewise was founded over thirty years ago by activists like you who were passionate about making Washington a great place to live. Since then, we’ve been the steward and watchdog of Washington’s Growth Management Act (GMA), our state framework for how we grow.

The GMA has proven to be a valuable tool. We have slowed the loss of farmland and forestland, increased protections of critical areas like wetlands, and reduced the need for costly new infrastructure investments, all while welcoming millions more residents to the state.

But we also know this is not enough. For the past four years, Futurewise has engaged in a legislative project to update the GMA to meet today’s challenges. These changes include ending illegal development on farmland and wildlife habitat, ensuring every community plans for housing affordability for all income levels, and designing our communities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect ourselves from climate impacts like wildfires and sea level rise.

Now our focus turns to making sure that communities like yours see the benefits of those state legislative victories on the ground. Over the next four years, we expect our local work to triple as every city and county in the state updates their comprehensive plans and development regulations.. Futurewise will be organizing with folks like you from Anacortes to Asotin to see state law incorporated into local plans. We will work with you to submit comment letters, advise local government on new regulations, organize to show local support for smart land use policies, and when needed, file legal appeals.

To meet the moment, we’re building our organizational capacity. We’re hiring a new Deputy Legal Director. We’re investing in regional offices in Port Angeles, Snohomish, Bellevue and Spokane to tackle local issues like green stormwater infrastructure, habitat protection, walkability and housing affordability. We’re continuing our advocacy at the state level to push for more connected, resilient communities.

Through it all, donors and supporters like you have been by our side! Whether you’ve attended a lobby day or emailed a legislator, joined us at the Livable Communities Spring Celebration, sustained us with a monthly donation, or made a generous end of year gift, your support is key to our success. Thank you for being on our team.

Read the Futurewise 2023 Impact Report