Community Reinvestment Account Plan Development
The Department of Commerce, in partnership with the Office of Equity and community partners, is responsible for building a plan by July 2023 to describe how funds will be invested to address racial, economic, and social disparities in communities across the state created by the historical design and enforcement of state and federal criminal laws and penalties for drug possession. These dollars will be distributed by Commerce as $100 million in fiscal year 2024 and $100 million in fiscal year 2025 (proviso).
Community Reinvestment Project
In 2022, the Legislature created the Community Reinvestment Account, setting aside $200 million in general funds to be put toward addressing racial, economic, and social disparities in Washington communities disproportionately harmed by the historical design and enforcement of state and federal criminal laws and penalties for drug possession (the war on drugs). At the same time, the Legislature directed Commerce to develop a Community Reinvestment Plan to guide the investment of funds over four program areas: economic development, civil and criminal legal assistance, community-based violence intervention and prevention services, and reentry services.
Over the last year, Commerce has collaborated with the state Office of Equity and our contractor the Harriet Tubman Foundation (HTFFSP) to develop the Community Reinvestment Plan laying out detailed recommendations for how Commerce will invest these funds over the next two years. The recommendations in the Plan are supported by quantitative data demonstrating the disproportionate impacts of the war on drugs, and by qualitative data reflecting unprecedented engagement and outreach with community and impacted individuals.
The Community Reinvestment Plan recommends Commerce distribute the $200 million to community through more than 17 individual grant programs in the four program areas. Subject matter experts will manage the grant programs across several Commerce divisions and in other state agencies.
We are working on build out for a Community Reinvestment website and mailing lists to communicate information about our formal opportunities for ongoing community engagements, access to the funds we are charged with investing, and accurate and real time information about the outcomes of the fund distribution. Consistent with the recommendations in the Plan, we are building an implementation structure that incorporates continuous opportunity for input and community voice. We will have platforms and systems to hold us accountable and true to the research and recommendations reflected in the Plan.
If you’re interested in applying for future open grants, or being a part of the project, please sign up on our listserv for the most updated information, ways to engage in co-creation, and funding opportunities.
Transition to Program Updates and Engagement
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Commerce wants to ensure that those who were participants in this research project are invited to future co-creation opportunities, RFP updates, and more.