This year, we’ve started the Floyd Jones fellowship, honoring a man who grew up in dire poverty, as a sharecropper in Arkansas, yet moved to Washington and became an extremely astute and successful financial investor.
Floyd did not sit on his wealth. He put it to work for the benefit of others, in both big and small ways. As one example, in 2014 Floyd gave $10 million for an endowment for the ACLU, particularly to fund work to end mass incarceration and create pathways for actual rehabilitation. In 2016, Floyd contributed $10 million for the construction of the Stanwood YMCA. In planning his legacy, Floyd designated multi-million gifts to 20 non-profit organizations in the region, including EOI.
Floyd’s son, Steve, funded this fellowship in memory of his father.
The Floyd Jones Fellowship is a graduate-level policy position within the Economic Opportunity Institute, with a focus on one of our policy areas – health care, progressive taxes, funding public services, improved work lives, etc.
This year, we welcome Brandon Bannister and Sharayah Lane.
Brandon is a graduate of the University of Washington Tacoma, and current MPA candidate at Seattle University. He has worked for legislators and lobbyists in Olympia, as well as managing four political campaigns.
“I have a deep passion for lifting up the poor and middle classes and creating a more equitable life for the people in my community,” he says. “These values coincide with the mission of EOI and that’s why I’m so excited to work here.”
During the summer. he will work on health care policy and intends to expand his policy analysis and program evaluation skills to become a better advocate for disadvantaged populations.
Sharayah Lane is pursuing an MPA at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington. She is a member of the One Table initiative created by King County, Seattle and Auburn officials to address the root causes of homelessness. She is also currently working with Habitat for Humanity on a management project to document and improve work processes such as procurement, site scheduling and permit approval.
“Understanding the importance of public sector economics and fiscal policy is a new and exciting chapter in my education,” she says. ”
My own background growing up in poverty and experiencing many of the broken parts of our systems firsthand, have fueled my passion to be a leader in creating large-scale systemic change for the most vulnerable in our society. I love the work EOI is doing and has accomplished over the years and it is an honor to be a part of it. At EOI, I hope to hone my data skills to improve research that benefits all residents.”
During the summer, she will work on education policy, researching how low wages for staff affect quality, hiring and retention at early learning centers statewide.