Third Sector News & Updates December 2020Staying in the Work

December 2020
To our community,

Third Sector was founded in 2011 to be a partner to governments as they work to improve the lives of individuals and families by aligning public resources, policy, and data around measurable outcomes. We enter our 10th anniversary year as our country and our government partners confront enormous challenges delivering results for communities across economic mobility, public health, and racial equity.

Our work continues to be complex, and we are learning from our history by reflecting in two areas over the past few months: one internal--working across our team to examine our organization’s purpose, aspirations, and strategy going forward, and one external--listening to our government partners articulate their top challenges. Both of these efforts have been informed by the racial equity journey that we began in 2018, and we look forward to sharing the results of our strategic development work next year.

Looking back over a challenging 2020, we also want to provide an update on our two public racial equity commitments since June and celebrate a few highlights from our work:

    Racial equity commitment - team composition: We progressed to 50% people of color on both our executive team and board of directors. However, we remain a majority-White organization and are continuing to put resources towards increasing and retaining the racial diversity of our team across all levels. Diversity is not a check-the-box goal for us. We believe that people of color with decision-making power are critical for dismantling racism and racist institutions, and therefore, expanding and retaining the people of color on our staff will help us dismantle racism within our organization so we can help our clients do the same;

    Racial equity commitment - elevating community voice: We advanced this work within government decision-making by compensating over 150 beneficiaries for their feedback to public sector partners through projects including: Better Careers Design Group, Southeast Cohort on Young Parents & Families, and Multi-County California Full Service Partnership Learning Community. We need to do more beneficiary engagement consistently across our projects in 2021 and are investing additional resources to compensate community members for their expertise in order to redistribute decision-making power to local people of color;

    Deepening practice areas: We deepened our work in mental health and economic mobility across 25 communities, with potential to influence over $305M in public resources annually for equitable outcomes. A key component of our expanding work on economic mobility is blending and braiding public funds for person-centered outcomes, including our work aligning SNAP E&T and WIOA funding with NAWB and SJI; and

    Innovating in Pay for Success: We witnessed positive results in Pay for Success projects from Project Welcome Home, King County, and the Alameda Justice Restoration Project. We have also seen important evolutions in the tool with The Partnership to Achieve Student Success (PASS) initiative and Colorado’s launch of the first State higher education RFP for supportive services for adult learners seeking higher education credentials.

We have more to do to make “staying in the work” of racial equity a consistent daily practice at Third Sector. It remains challenging to persevere through the pain of understanding our nation’s history and root causes of racial inequality in order to close gaps in outcomes. Yet we have also experienced moments of joy and encouragement as we develop more trusting relationships with each other and measurable progress is made to reduce racial disparities within our own organization and our partner communities.

It is with a spirit of focus and grace that I am and we are all committed to staying in the work we know is necessary at Third Sector to advance equitable outcomes in the coming year and beyond.

Caroline Whistler
CEO and Co-Founder, Third Sector
New Resources From Third Sector and Our Partners
Solutions for Government in Times of Covid
The COVID-19 pandemic and concurrent economic recession have created the perfect storm for state and local governments. Across the country, we are hearing from government leaders that they are struggling to do more with less. More residents are seeking public benefits and services than ever before and people of color are again disproportionately affected by the negative health and economic impacts of the pandemic. As they watch resources dwindle, leaders are being asked to make stark trade-offs with immense consequences regarding how much service they provide, how they provide it, and whom they will serve. Read more about “Lessons from Doing More with Less” here.
Third Sector is Part of a Winning Team for the USDA SNAP E&T National Partnership Grant
Third Sector is excited to be part of a team working to expand the reach, quality and equity of U.S Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) SNAP Employment & Training (E&T) program by connecting the program to Department of Labor’s (DOL) workforce development system through workforce development boards (WDBs). Together, the Team will build the capacity of more than 500 WDBs so that 70 workforce boards can become SNAP E&T providers or intermediaries with an explicit focus on quality, impact and equity. Learn more here.
New Data Proves Project Welcome Home Successful
As reported by The Mercury News, Santa Clara County’s Project Welcome Home, which serves chronically homeless residents who are frequent users of the County’s emergency rooms, acute mental health facilities, and jail, has been found to have successfully housed 86% of participants. These findings are groundbreaking in that they show permanent supportive housing is helping the county’s most difficult cases. Read the entire article here.
In Youth Today: "The Alameda County Justice Restoration Project Receives National Association of Counties’ Achievement Award"
"Third Sector congratulates the Alameda District Attorney’s Office for receiving NACo’s Achievement Award for its Justice Restoration Project (ACJRP), a unique justice reform project created, funded and implemented by the office in partnership with county and community leaders throughout the country. ACJRP promises low-level felony defendants the opportunities to build bright futures through peer support services and individualized opportunities in lieu of the cycle of crime, prosecution, and incarceration.

Third Sector Welcomes New Members to Leadership Teams

Third Sector welcomes Reggie Bicha, Executive Director at Shine Early Learning, and Monique McCloud, Chief People Officer at Reformation to our Board of Directors.

Laila (Goldberg) Bravo and Tim Pennell have been promoted to Managing Director and will join Third Sector’s Executive Team where they will lead the firm’s product delivery, partnerships and business development efforts, respectively.

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