Responding to COVID-19
In mid-December, Alaska Airlines delivered the first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine to Juneau. Kaiser Permanente provided $1,050,000 to five nonprofits to help community members experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness during COVID-19. Microsoft announced an additional commitment of more than $110 million for nonprofits, workers, and schools in Washington state. As part of its research, Fred Hutch is currently seeking volunteers with COVID-19 to join tests of therapies.
Amazon announced its new Housing Equity Fund, a more than $2 billion commitment that will create or preserve 20,000 affordable homes in the Puget Sound region, Arlington, and Nashville. Starbucks’ new Community Resilience Fund will invest $100 million to support small businesses and community development projects in BIPOC communities across the country, including in the Seattle area.
We are excited to welcome two new members to the Washington Roundtable board: Teresa Foy, Senior Vice President of Immuno-Oncology and Cellular Therapy at Bristol Myers Squibb; and Eric Zimpfer, vice president refining at bp Cherry Point Refinery. The two executives bring more than four decades of collective experience and represent industries that are vital to Washington’s health and economy. Learn more about them below. (more…)
Washington’s economy and communities experienced a major disruption in the wake of COVID-19, and the trajectory of the virus remains unknown. During the 2021 legislative session, the Washington Roundtable’s efforts will focus on advancing policies that support diverse and inclusive recovery.
In 2021, we will urge lawmakers to:
- Deliver a biennial budget that addresses projected revenue shortfalls in a manner that prioritizes services most important to long-term recovery, namely education and infrastructure.
- Avoid burdening employers with added costs that will dampen recovery.
- Pass a transportation revenue package that supports continued implementation of the 2015 Connecting Washington investment package; invests in maintenance, preservation, and culverts; supports new projects in key economic corridors; and improves mobility in urban centers.
- Support policies that promote economic development and job growth, particularly strategies to expand broadband availability and mitigate increases in unemployment insurance taxes.
- Encourage the immediate actions needed at the local level to safely return Washington’s K-12 students to in-person instruction as soon as possible.
- Support continued use of high-quality diagnostic tools that enable schools, educators, and families to assess student learning loss incurred during the pandemic.
- Maintain the state’s commitment to high school graduation pathways as passed by the 2019 Legislature.
- Support policies that accelerate postsecondary enrollment and credential attainment for students furthest from opportunity, particularly our Black, Hispanic and Latinx, Indigenous and Native American, and other students who face structural racial barriers and inequity.
- Expand student access to high-quality dual-credit and dual-enrollment opportunities.
- Protect investments in financial aid, student supports, and services that drive credential attainment.
- Support student access to high-quality career connected learning opportunities.
Read our full 2021 Policy Agenda here, and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
We are excited to announce our new board leadership team for 2021. Craig Dawson, president and CEO of Retail Lockbox, will lead our organization as chair. Dawson has been a member of Washington Roundtable since 2004. Previously, he served as vice-chair, secretary/treasurer, and as a long-time member of our Economic Climate Committee.
Dawson founded Retail Lockbox, a company specializing in payment processing, digital image capture, and retrieval services, more than 10 years ago. He has served on the Seattle Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the University of Washington’s Busines and Economic Development Council, and the Rotary of Downtown Seattle.
Thank you to our 2020 chair Brian Stading, COO of Ziply Fiber, for leading our organization during an unprecedented year. In 2020, the Roundtable continued to work toward its goal of 70% credential attainment while assisting with statewide reopening efforts and raising awareness of the Washington business community’s response to the pandemic.
See our full board roster here.