Win/Win Network Programs
The following are assumptions and overriding considerations that guide our work:
1. Those most affected must lead. This leads us to focus much of our pro-active organizing on communities of color, low-income communities and young people. The Network believes that their increased civic engagement is critical in passing socially responsible policies.
2. Long-term change does not happen by focusing solely on the next election. Elections are critically important in moving policy objectives forward, particularly through ballot initiatives. However, this cannot be done at the cost of building long-term capacity. In order to change Washington State’s highly regressive tax structure, for example, Win/Win and partner organizations must engage in a long-term civic education effort in order for a ballot initiative to pass.
3. Electoral policies are not neutral, but create winners and losers. The Network believes that social movement must be able to work within the context of our unique system of representative and, through the ballot initiative process, direct democracy. Typically, these rules are used to favor those with power and limit the range of policy outcomes that are possible.
The Network believes in a world of equal and just representation; where those in government truly stand for the people they are elected to represent. To that end, the Network believes that the most effective change occurs from the ground up. By building a strong network of civic engagement organizations, groups with limited resources can have a strong and lasting impact through collaboration and shared tools and resources.
Win/Win collaborates with State Voices and provide support to over 50 partner organizations, including access to a central voter database, online organizing tools and leadership development trainings. The result is an increased capacity of partner organizations around advocacy and organizing. This can be measured by activities tracked in the Voter Activation Network (VAN), size of budgets, increased expertise of staff and number of engaged members.
The Network also engages in civic engagement planning focusing on the “Rising American Electorate” (RAE). In this role, Win/Win looks at disparities in civic engagement between the RAE and all voters, develops comprehensive civic engagement drives, and supports low-capacity partner organizations to meaningfully engage in our programs. If the Network’s civic engagement activities are successful, young people and people of color will register and vote at the same rates as the rest of the electorate.
Finally, Win/Win examines actual policy changes, particularly as it relates to a positive role of government, as the ultimate measure of success. Our work contributes to social change in the following ways:
1. Engaged citizenry. An increase in active participation, particularly those who are typically disengaged, will lead to groundswell of support for fundamental changes in governance.
2. Systems change. The Network continues to lead efforts to change the “rules of the game” such that marginalized communities have fair representation. A “seat at the table” is critical in affecting policy outcomes.
3. Shifting the issue environment. Policymakers work within an issue environment. Working with partners to unify our messaging, particularly around the role of government, helps shift this environment.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
The recent 2010 Census showed that people of color now make up 27% of our state’s population, with higher concentrations in King County (35%) and Yakima County (52%). With over one-quarter of the state’s population identifying themselves as people of color, and with the requirement that Washington draw an entirely new Congressional district, we had the perfect opportunity to create a Congressional district that included a majority of people of color. In 2011, the Win/Win Network formed a coalition of civic leaders, community members and community-based organizations, called United for Fair Representation, to engage in redistricting advocacy and advocate for a people of color majority Congressional district.
The primary objective was to advocate for as many majority people of color congressional and legislative districts as possible. Through this effort, the Win/Win Network and key partners, particularly OneAmerica, mobilized over 600 people to attend hearings of the WA State Redistricting Commission, of which 200 testified in favor of our “Unity Maps”. Our aggressive earned media campaign resulted in over 60 stories in major media outlets. Ultimately, our advocacy efforts led to the creation of Washington’s first majority people of color congressional district (CD‐9) and four majority people of color legislative districts, including a majority Latino district in Yakima County.
The Win/Win Network has often been referred to as the "invisible glue" that brings and holds organizations together across Washington. While this is the role of the organization, it also means that Win/Win is not always visible to potential funders and supporters. One of the organization's current needs is to build a brand that puts a spotlight on Win/Win's programs and successes without overshadowing our allies and partner organizations.