(May Newsletter) We all learned a lot during the May 2 community conversation with the UW research group about how much households needs to get their basic needs met. For example, we learned that a family with young children would need to make more than double the federal poverty level just to make ends meet.
Because nonprofits employ a substantial portion of our Methow Valley community, Room One convened 10 nonprofit leaders to explore ways to make sure our own staff can make ends meet. Taking a cue from UW, we challenged ourselves to talk about more than just wages: we explored ways to reduce the most significant expenses our staff grapple with (including housing, childcare, and healthcare).
The group put all challenges, successes, and ideas on the table, from tangible benefits like health care bonuses, paid parental leave, subsidized child care, and recreation passes, to intangible benefits like deeply meaningful work, flexible work hours, and financial investment guidance. Bottom line, expenses are rising more quickly than wages in rural communities like ours, and nonprofits agree that we have to fearlessly explore ways to support the incredible people who do this work and call this place home