How We’re Growing

Like many nonprofits across the country, 2020 and beyond has been difficult. We’ve had to pivot our programs, reimagine how we fundraise, and think creatively about we can continue to not only live out our mission, but also remain relevant. Yet for the PAL the most impactful result that has come out this pandemic has been the opportunity to remind ourselves, to ground ourselves, in why we do what we do and why doing it is so important.

Thus as we entered 2021 we knew that as a board and staff we needed to commit to learning and challenging ourselves to be better. We had already started back in the fall when we chose to launch our first Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Advisory Board composed of PAL youth and young adults. We wanted the folx we were serving to help hold us accountable. We also made a commitment to do our best to make our content as accessible as possible, like adding captions to our videos and translating some our posts into Spanish.

Next, we sought an opportunity for our board and staff to learn together and unpack what it means for PAL to be a diverse, inclusive, and equitable nonprofit. We landed on partnering with a local consulting agency (PointNorth) to create a 4-part series. The first three pieces would be two-hour workshops where we dove into the stories of the families we served. The final piece would be a day long retreat where we would reflect on the learning from the workshops and then ask ourselves, how do we use that information to move forward. We were very fortunate to have the Community Foundation of SW Washington step up to help make this series possible.

Additionally, beyond all that’s already been mentioned, the PAL staff has been on the constant search to deepen our own learning. We started created opportunities for staff to read books as part of their professional development and just this week we began a three-part learning series called Mentoring for Equity that is being led by Mentor Washington. Our Executive Director has also made a commitment to participate in the year-long teach-in series organized by the Southwest Washington Equity Coalition. She will be taking what she’s learning and sharing that with her board and staff as well.

So why did we share all that? We wanted share what we’ve been working on because we wanted YOU (our donors, supporters, collaborators, partners, families, etc.) to know we are leaning in. We are working on ourselves and in the process we know we will become a stronger, better organization. At the same time we recognize this is only the beginning and we’ve embarked on a journey that will be lifelong. And we didn’t share this with you to give ourselves a pat on the back, we shared because we also want YOU to help hold us accountable. This journey is better served by us working together and we want to invite you to join us on this journey to help us become the best we can be.

If you want to learn more about what we are doing specifically or if you have questions or comments please feel to reach out to Jenny, our Executive Director at jenny.thompson@cityofvancouver.us and she will do her best to respond promptly.