Gov. Jay Inslee announced $5.8 million in grants to fight poverty across the state. The grants will support organizations in four Workforce Development Areas that systematically aim to lift Washington families out of poverty.

“These grants will make a tremendous difference for thousands of people in communities all over Washington,” Inslee said in a statement. “They will empower local areas to build sustainable models and creative partnerships to address the needs of families and others who experience poverty.”

The state will measure success of the grant — called “Economic Security for All” — over time by looking at the number of families receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the net poverty reduction by March 2022. Organizations receiving grant money will work with people experiencing poverty to learn from their first-hand perspective to make more effective local poverty reduction systems. Helping to design and lead the work in each organization will be at least one community partner with experience serving people in poverty and working with the local Department of Social and Health Services.

“Poverty is a complex issue and helping to lift families out of poverty will be equally complex,” Department of Social and Health Services Secretary Cheryl Strange said in a statement. “We’re excited to learn from and partner with local community organizations to find ways to expand this work and help Washington families gain the skills needed to build a strong foundation out of poverty.”

The $5.8 million marks the first round of funding for the Economic Security for All grant, which is intended to provoke long-term, systemic changes that lead to less poverty in specific geographic communities. The four organizations that received grant money are Benton-Franklin Workforce Development Council (Connell, $856.8K), Southwest Workforce Development Area (Kelso, $1.6 million), Spokane Workforce Development Area (Spokane, $1.7 million), and WorkForce Central (Tacoma, $1.75 million). For additional information on how WorkForce Central intends to address poverty in Tacoma, read our previous coverage.