Fighting For Fairness since 1996

In 1996, ten activists of color formed the Washington Welfare Reform Coalition as a response to the federal passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, or “welfare reform.” That November, nearly 300 community leaders and organizations from across the state came together to organize a unified response to this dramatic policy change that deepened poverty for struggling families across the state and country.

In 2001, the Washington Welfare Reform Coalition officially changed its name to the Statewide Poverty Action Network and expanded its focus to statewide poverty issues. In 2003, Fair Budget, a low-income advocacy organization, merged into Poverty Action bringing their rich history to our legislative and media advocacy work.

For over two decades, Poverty Action and our statewide network have worked to eliminate the root causes of poverty and to empower Washingtonians living on low incomes. By strengthening the voice of people with low incomes, forwarding innovative state policy solutions, organizing communities to engage in the political process, and fostering public dialogue through the media, we demonstrate that widespread collective action can ensure everyone has the opportunity to prosper.

Poverty Action uses its position as our state’s most diverse and effective anti-poverty coalition to continue to work on state public policy—including Welfare and WorkFirst—and to connect the specific debates on those policies to the larger message of economic equality and security. While we strive daily to bring individual families out of poverty, we also work to bring access and accountability to Washington’s political environment.