The Economic Opportunity Institute’s mission is to build an economy that works for everyone by advancing public policies that promote educational opportunity, good jobs, healthy families and workplaces, and a dignified retirement for all.
Life is unpredictable, but paid family and medical leave can provide some stability. EOI’s leadership has brought Washington to the brink of winning a statewide paid family and medical leave program, so people can take time off to recover from a serious health condition – or like Heather McCrory, care for a new child: “I was waking up every hour, then getting up in the morning to get him to day care, running to go feed him every two hours, and trying to get work done. And I had a lot going on at work…so it was very stressful. I look back on that first year and with all of the great and joyful things that happened, it’s kind of shadowed by having to work and how that experience was pretty miserable.”
Paid Sick Days: 2016 was a crucial year for workers in Washington. Voters passed Raise Up Washington (Initiative 1433), which secures a $13.50 minimum wage and guarantees workers across the state the right to earn and use paid sick and safe leave. Our earlier victories for paid sick leave in Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane helped lay the foundation for this statewide win – and EOI provided crucial data and policy analysis for drafting the initiative.
With years of policy, communications, and organizing experience, we helped catalyze the crucial grassroots power and political will necessary for the successful campaign to pass I-1433. But opponents of fair labor standards haven’t given up, so we will continue our work: testifying against bills attacking the measure in Olympia, and participating in the rulemaking process to ensure full and fair implementation of this progressive law, which was overwhelmingly supported by Washington voters.
Tax Reform: Washington’s current tax system punishes low- and middle-income families, while letting wealthy households and corporations off the hook. As a result, funding for basic public services like education, transportation, and housing is chronically inadequate. In 2016, EOI took bold action to build and advance a local solution as a pathway to statewide tax reform: we helped catalyze Opportunity for Olympia (Initiative 1), which proposed funding the first year of community college for high school graduates in Olympia via a 1.5% tax on household income in excess of $200,000.
While the initiative lost by a narrow margin (48% voted in favor), the energy and momentum continues. EOI is providing critical support to a coalition working to “Trump-Proof Seattle” with new progressive revenue in the face of potentially significant losses of federal funds, and create a pathway for systemic statewide policy change.
Our Commitment to Racial Equity
To build an economy that works for everyone, we must acknowledge the structural and institutional racism that manifests as ongoing and devastating economic, educational, health and other disparities facing our communities. Toward that end, in 2016 EOI convened a Race and Social Justice Workgroup to begin integrating a racial equity lens into our public policy research, communications and advocacy, internal governance, and external relations. We still have much to learn, and we will continue to reflect and act with courage, openness, and humility.
3 Ways You Can Make An Impact
You can help build an economy that works for everyone.
- Support EOI with a donation, one time or monthly. Ask your employer if they will match your gift – many do! Visit eoionline.org/donate.
- Stay informed and share policy news with your friends– visit eoionline.org/news to get our newsletter, like us on Facebook at www.fb.me/eoionline, or follow us on Twitter at @eoionline.
- Ask your company or organization to sponsor EOI’s annual event – it’s a win-win for both! Email Sam Hatzenbeler, Development Director, for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Families are struggling with diminishing health care, a lack of paid family leave, fewer opportunities for early learning and higher education, and reduced retirement security. President Trump’s message and values threaten basic economic security for too many of our neighbors. At the Economic Opportunity Institute, we are stepping up to this challenge with the support of allies like you. On behalf of EOI’s Board of Directors and staff, thank you for your dedication to a stronger future for our communities.”
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