DSHS Awarded $500,000 from The Kresge Foundation to support Poverty Reduction Efforts

Release Date: 
Jul 16 2019
DSHS Office of Communications
Kelly Stowe

OLYMPIA -- The Department of Social & Health Services’ Economic Services Administration announced it has been awarded a grant for $500,000 from The Kresge Foundation as part of their Next Generation (NextGen) initiative.  This grant supports the agency’s strategic goal to reduce poverty by half in 2025 in a way that eliminates disparities. DSHS co-leads Governor Inslee’s Poverty Reduction Workgroup, which is preparing a 10-year strategic plan to reduce poverty due December 1.

The NextGen Initiative invests in organizations throughout the country advancing the social and economic mobility of kids and families. The funding will allow DSHS to make a deeper investment with community partners dedicated to building whole person, equity driven health and human services in their region.

“This is an incredible opportunity to improve services for more than a half million children living in families that struggle to make ends meet in Washington state,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “I am grateful to The Kresge Foundation for their support and proud of the role DSHS is playing to make Washington state a place where every child, family, and community can reach their full potential.”

In spite of a strong economy, social and economic mobility is increasingly difficult for many Washingtonians. Recent research shows the share of children in Washington state earning more than their parents has fallen substantially – in 1940, for example, 92 percent of children earned more than their parents; by 1980, just 46 percent did.[1] Today one in four (26 percent) Washingtonians live below 200% of the federal poverty level – $42,660 for a family of three – but cost-of-living measures show it takes well over that to make ends meet in nearly every county in the state.

The vast network of state and local health and human service organizations play a critical role in stabilizing individuals and families struggling to get by, and provide on-ramps to education, employment and training, and other resources so Washingtonians can get ahead. The NextGen Initiative will support stronger partnerships between DSHS, our agency partners, and community-based organizations to modernize and strengthen service delivery across sectors and systems.

 “As the foremost experts on how to build social and economic opportunity and well-being for their residents, community partners are essential to our poverty reduction goals and improving the delivery of health and human services,” said Assistant Secretary for the DSHS Economic Services Administration, David Stillman. 

DSHS joins nine other non-profit, private and public sector human services organizations advancing the social and economic mobility of children and families around the country in this two-year learning program.

This work’s ultimate aim is to have all Washingtonians reach their full potential so that all families and communities can thrive.  This grant is another step to making this happen. 


[1] Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Maggie R. Jones, and Sonya R. Porter (2018) Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective


DSHS does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.