Leaders of more than 30 youth-serving nonprofits formed a coalition two years ago called Brave Commitments. We convened to unify our voices and rally around a shared vision “to serve our children, youth and families in a better way — one that is more grounded in equity, with clients at the center.”
Brave Commitments: Our Call to Action
In Call to Action: Reimagining How Nonprofits Will Meet Our Mission for the Children & Youth of Our Community, we outline challenges that keep many of us locked in a constant struggle for survival.
Several of our nonprofit organizations are facing deficits, and year over year losses. They are quietly working to keep their doors open — quietly, and in some cases, alone, for fear that a broader conversation could de-stabilize their already struggling organizations by decreasing confidence in, and donations to, their agency.
Turnover in our sector is very high — 40% is not uncommon — meaning that we are retraining half our staff each year and there are fewer applicants.
Increasingly burdensome compliance expectations — the annual audit we all undergo no longer checks the box; each funder wants to do an audit as well — and the increased expense, time and effort this creates is a serious issue.
Brave Commitments: Blueprint for Success
In A Blueprint for Success: A Provider Plan for King County’s Children, Youth, Young Adults & Families System, we present a multi-faceted action plan that’s centered on equity.
“We know that the youth, children and families we serve are disproportionately members of racial groups that are under-resourced and underserved communities. This inequity must be addressed and eliminated.”
Our plan puts children, youth and families at the center of our work so we can assure racial equity for every client we serve. It uses our collective expertise to define the best system for achieving our shared vision for “a stronger, more robust youth sector and a coherent, thoughtful and more streamlined provider system.”
I am honored to serve on the Brave Commitments coalition. It will take a lot of hard work and persistence to bring about transformational change. We’ll share more information about Brave Commitments in the coming months so you can join this fight for a fully funded system of ensuring children, youth and families have what they need to thrive.
Anthony Austin is Southeast Youth & Family Services Executive Director and serves on the Brave Commitments steering committee, along with leaders of Refugee Women’s Alliance, YouthCare, Kent Youth & Family Services, Atlantic Street Center, and Jan Glick & Associates.