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Washington Equity Program

Working to support the State of Washington’s Office of Equity to develop community engagement structures that prioritizes the needs of residents impacted by past harms and institutionalized inequities.

About the Washington Equity Program

The Washington Equity Program is a three-phased, three-year program to support the State of Washington’s Office of Equity in developing structures that consider the needs of residents impacted by past harms and institutionalized inequities. The ultimate aim of this program is to help the Office of Equity create a shared culture of engagement that ensures community perspectives reach executive leadership and agencies across Washington State government. 

Departments throughout the enterprise will establish a thoughtful vision for community engagement while practicing equitable engagement between community members and state engagement practitioners. This program will work towards creating an equitable system that looks at lived experiences and uses them to inform policy decisions, bureaucratic processes, and accessibility to resources. This work will intentionally bring community members and government officials together, which will simultaneously strengthen the relationship between the community and government.

Program phases

Phase zero: state leadership listening sessions

This phase includes interviews with executive leadership and department directors to gain perspective on the history of equity work and systemic barriers within their field of work and agency.

Phase one: building an executive leaders’ learning network

Participants will join a learning network made up of the state’s executive staff, cabinet members, and department deputies to develop a shared understanding of what equity means and how to center it, learn how to create relational partnerships between their agencies and residents, and create a high-level vision for transforming the state with equitable practices and systems in the government.

Phase two: developing a Washington State community engagement strategy

Participants will co-create a community engagement framework to inform a people-centered equity strategy with residents and colleagues across Washington State government. By the end, state government will have a vision statement, key strategy considerations, aspects and methods of community engagement tested with residents in the State, and an implementation plan that ensures that these outputs translate to the agency’s equity strategy.

Phase three: shared learning and Train the Trainer

Participants will be equipped with curriculum, toolkits, and skill sets to help spread program learnings across their agencies. This phase of the program will serve as a “Train the Trainer'' module that will allow state employees to be trained in key community engagement skills. 

Engagement and impact


State agencies expected to participate


Government staff expected to join over three years


Residents expected to be involved over three years