Today, a coalition of six nonprofit organizations announced it has been awarded $1 million in grant funding to address Oregon’s failing child care market. The award, issued by The Health & Education Fund Partners, is the first of its kind aimed at supporting the work of independent political organizations in Oregon.
The lack of a comprehensive, public childcare system in Oregon has detrimental effects on caregivers, primarily women. All 36 counties in the state are childcare deserts for infants — and where childcare can be found, costs are prohibitive (more than the average statewide rent), quality can be subpar, and paid caregivers earn among the lowest wages statewide.
The coalition, which includes Oregon Futures Lab, the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Unite Oregon Action, the PAALF Action Fund, PCUN (Farmworkers and Latinx Working Families United) and Family Forward Action, was selected following a competitive statewide search process. The organizations have previously worked together to pass major, statewide legislation, and are now building a campaign that will focus on grassroots organizing, political advocacy, and the need to center communities of color in policy solutions.
Reyna López, executive director of PCUN, states: “Farmworkers and domestic workers have long been excluded from labor protections, and we’ve yet to repair the damage. Putting food on our tables and caring for our loved ones is among the most important work anyone can do. It’s time we recognize that fact by creating a system that works: one that gives mothers and caregivers real options, supports their health and education, and lays the groundwork for our communities to thrive.”
Ana del Rocío, executive director of Oregon Futures Lab, states: “Childcare is still seen not only as a woman’s problem, but also as a personal problem, and as a job for women of color to fill. That’s why the political will to solve this crisis is weak — because our government is still disproportionately white and male. We must get more women of color elected, and support them in passing bold policies informed by their own lived experiences and those of their community.”
The campaign is expected to launch by the end of 2019. For more information, visit https://www.childcarefororegon.org/.