[Guest post by Amy Biggs, Director of Snoqualmie Valley Transportation, and Laura Smith, Executive Director of Snoqualmie Valley Community Network.]
Did you ever wonder how all those human service agencies get their funding? Sometimes, there’s special funding available to the agencies through unique grants. For most nonprofit agencies, consistent and reliable funding can be a real challenge.
The nonprofit agencies here in the Snoqualmie Valley take care of everyone from young children to seniors, people who need food or shelter, at-risk teens, individuals with disabilities, people struggling with addiction or suffering with mental health challenges, veterans, and anyone who might need some way to bolster up their lives, whether it be for only a short time or for the long term.
Let’s face it; it takes a comprehensive system to make sure that all of our residents have the tools they need to live their best lives. The valley is growing rapidly and, at some point, either you or someone you know will likely need some type of assistance. The need is large and the cities are small, so it can also be difficult for the cities to know what people need and who can provide for those needs.
Are the agencies competing against each other for funding? Often, the answer is yes, we are.
Is there enough for everyone to be able to do what needs doing? No. But rather than working against each other, we work together.
The Snoqualmie Valley Local Advocacy Team (SVLAT) pulls together people from nonprofits who provide human services and together, they focus on increasing the available funding from the valley cities to support all people in reaching their potential. This important advocacy often starts with sharing data and stories about the needs faced by those living in the Snoqualmie Valley.
During this unprecedented pandemic year, city and county leaders are reaching out more than ever before to help their residents by having regular calls with the nonprofits to understand the needs and partner with them to share information and resources. At SVLAT, we feel this collaboration and partnership between the cities, the county, and the human service organizations is the best way to move forward together.
Human services need to continue to have a seat at the table when decisions are being made so that the cities understand that we are the thrifty, nimble, strategic partners to work with when solving big issues. By creating long-term strategic partnerships, we all win and are best able to care for all the residents in the Snoqualmie Valley.