By guest author Kevin Luff, EFAA Board member and Chair of EFAA’s Strategic Education Committee.
When we collectively understand the core issues facing hardworking families in need, we can do more to help them build a brighter, more stable future, and create a stronger community for everyone.
To this end, one year ago EFAA formed a Strategic Education Committee to support EFAA in its efforts to raise awareness of donors, policy makers, businesses, and the general public on issues related to the causes of and solutions to poverty. Our goal is for EFAA and the community to better understand what drives people to our doors and what can be done to help families become more self-sufficient.
Over the past year, the Committee identified the most critical issues to research and report on — issues that are foundational to EFAA’s mission and critical to families becoming more financially stable. They were: Income & Wages, Affordable Housing and Food Insecurity. An internal statement paper was created on each topic, which outlined the local landscape relative to state and national statistics and the myriad of contributing factors. Further, the papers identified what is being done to address the issue and what gaps still remain, how the issue is impacting the strength and productivity of our local communities, and upcoming policy decisions related to the issues.
In addition to better understanding the issues facing EFAA’s participants, EFAA as an institution is often asked to take stands on policy and legislative issues. The Strategic Education Committee developed a review process and criteria to orient Board decisions on whether to take public positions. Over the course of the last year, the Committee reviewed, discussed, and advocated on a variety endorsement requests, housing development projects, and even public initiatives, including supporting Amendment 70 to raise the Colorado minimum wage.
In 2017, the Committee will be circulating insights to educate the community and digging into additional topics, starting with Family Homelessness. In addition, the Committee will continue to focus attention on housing development projects that include (or don’t include) allocations for low-income housing. A summary page on issues will soon be available on EFAA’s website here.
Since 1918, EFAA has been responding to the changing needs of our community as we experienced the boom and bust of the mining days, disease epidemics, wars, depressions, recessions, natural disasters, changing industry, and rapid growth. In recent decades, EFAA has helped about 5,000 – 8,000 Boulder and Broomfield County residence each a year. Today, from the perspective of an expert on what factors contribute to the need for EFAA’s work locally, EFAA can provide our voice as a community advocate, working hard to empower families to thrive, and strengthen our community.