May 15, 2023
By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
Earlier this week, we received a lovely and thoughtful note from the Holocaust Center for Humanity. The Center thanked the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle for our advocacy in this year’s Washington legislative session that secured $1.5 million for Holocaust and genocide education over two years. The funding will enable the Center to expand its programs to teach students statewide about the lessons of the Holocaust and their relevance for the world that Washington’s children are growing up in.
Securing that funding was just one example of our advocacy successes in Olympia this year that will have direct, tangible benefits for our Jewish community. Here are a few others: $500,000 in the state budget for nonprofit security grants (this funding augments federal grants). Legislation to strengthen protections against antisemitism and hate crimes. Historic measures to fight the deadly scourge of gun violence. Food assistance for struggling families.
Those and other wins showed how much good can be achieved when communal organizations collaborate. Working in partnership is the secret sauce of advocating successfully for Jewish priorities in Olympia.
Fruitful collaboration doesn’t just happen, however. It takes intentional effort that begins long before the legislative session opens in January. In the late summer and fall, your Federation and Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) survey community members on the highest priority issues on which we should focus our advocacy. Thank you to all who took the time to share your thoughts and ideas in the 2022-2023 survey.
From the survey results, the Federation and the JCRC thoughtfully plan a legislative agenda and lobbying strategy in concert with partner organizations. A legislative session is a bit of a maelstrom—focusing on a few key issues increases the likelihood of getting the highest priority legislation and budget requests enacted.
The policy and budget wins that we secured in Olympia this year were the product of teamwork—Jewish organizations working together. To the Holocaust Center for Humanity and all the organizations with which we collaborated in the 2023 session: Thank YOU for your partnership! By working together, we accomplished so much for our community.