Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

2023-24 Impact and Gratitude Report

Reflecting on a year of progress and transition at the Economic Opportunity Institute

Highlights

This Impact and Gratitude Report is a look back at the work that the Economic Opportunity Institute conducted from May 2023 to April 2024. It also includes some previews of what’s coming up, our most recent fiscal year financial summary, and a (big!) thank you to our supporters and volunteers.  

While there’s much more to be done, we are proud to stand together with you as we continue to build an economy that works – for everyone.  

Policy Advances

While expectations weren’t especially high for the Washington’s short (60-day) 2024 legislative session, the EOI team worked tirelessly to advance our priorities. A number of bills we supported were passed by legislators and signed by the governor, including legislation to: 

  • Ensure timely access to paid family leave; 
  • Expand paid sick days coverage to include families of choice; 
  • Strengthen the state’s Health Care Cost Transparency Board; 
  • Provide consumer protections from surprise billing for ambulance services; 
  • Allocate funding for an expansion of Apple Health; 
  • Create the Washington Saves auto-IRA program; and  
  • Enact new protections for workers in the Equal Pay and Opportunities Act.  

Outreach and Education

In early September 2023, we kicked off EOI’s first-ever statewide listening tours. Our first trip took us to meet with people from Yakima, Spokane, and Twisp; two subsequent trips took us to Mt. Vernon and Bellingham, and to Olympia and Centralia.  

On these trips, we learned about what is (and isn’t) working well for people and communities in terms of public policy, grew together as a team – and were moved and awed by the diverse and powerful local organizing, social justice, and resistance efforts happening across our state.  

In addition, Aaron and Traci joined representatives from AARP Washington and the Washington State Labor Council for a retirement security listening tour organized by Washington State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti. Sessions were held in Tukwila, Port Angeles, Yakima, Everett, and Steilacoom, which shaped the Washington Saves legislation EOI helped pass in 2024.  

Our policy experts also wrote new pieces (on health care, paid leave, retirement security, tax reform and more), and gave testimony or spoke at 28 public forums, including 9 legislative hearings. Policy Director Traci Underwood was invited to appear on The Impact, TVW’s Emmy-award winning current events program. Our communications team elevated our social media presence (follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) – and we garnered some good news coverage along the way.  

What’s Next

Policy Work Ahead

This fall, voters will face three right-wing ballot initiatives funded by multi-millionaire hedge fund manager Brian Heywood. These measures will test our state’s ability to keep past progress intact: if passed, they will roll back important public policies and slash funding that keeps our air clean, our roads safe, our schools funded, and our elderly residents cared for. EOI is working closely with our partners and allies to educate voters about these dangerous proposals.  

Lawmakers will need to pick up a lot of unfinished work in the 2025 legislative session. We’re already strategizing internally and with our allies about how we can help shape what moves. EOI will continue advocating for public policies that create a more inclusive economy – one that provides affordable and high-quality housing, health care, higher education, and more for all residents of Washington. Doing so means enacting real reforms to our state’s unjust tax system, which consistently fails to deliver sufficient funding for the public policy solutions we need. 

Community Connections

Espresso & Economics

We’re coming to three Seattle neighborhoods for Espresso and Economics: in Greenwood on April 25, Westlake on May 9, and Seward Park on May 23. Join us to connect one-on-one with members of EOI’s policy team, ask questions, and share your thoughts.

It’s also a great opportunity to meet our new Executive Director, Rian Watt! 

Speaker requests and listening tours

If you’d like to request someone from EOI to speak at your next community gathering or group event about a public policy issue we work on, we’d love to hear from you 

We’re also planning our 2024 policy listening tours, and we’d love to come to your town. If you have suggestions for people we should visit (and places to eat or thrift along the way!) please reach out to let us know.  

Changemakers Dinner

Finally, mark your calendar for another inspiring Changemakers Dinner on Thursday, September 19, at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion.

More details will be coming soon! 


With Gratitude from Economic Opportunity Institute

Our donors’ generous support means EOI can continue to build an economy that works for everyone through our research, education, and advocacy – while “walking our talk” by paying equitable and competitive wages and benefits for our staff team. We are grateful for the support of our dedicated staff team, committed Board members, generous donors, and our partners, allies, and other supporters in our community. 

Changemakers Dinner

Our community gathers to learn and grow together at our annual event, while we celebrate and support EOI’s work. In September 2023, nearly 200 people gathered for a program featuring poet Troy Osaki, keynote speakers Jaelynn Scott (Executive Director, Lavender Rights Project) and Ariel Nicole Hart (MD/PhD student at UCLA), and emcee April Sims (President, Washington State Labor Council). We are incredibly grateful to everyone who joined us, and the event ultimately raised $158,000 in support of EOI’s work.  

Fiscal Summary

2023-2024 Economic Opportunity Institute Fiscal Year

While operating expenses exceeded revenue in FY 2022-23, strong budget performance in previous years and attentive financial management ensured we maintained sufficient financial reserves. EOI utilizes outside firms to conduct a yearly financial review and provide our accounting, tax preparation, banking/investment, and related services.  

   

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