Changing How We Talk About Government, Taxes and the Economy

Tue, March 7, 2017,
9:00am to 11:00am PST
Seattle, WA + Online
2101 Fourth Avenue, Suite 650, Seattle, WA 98121

Most people agree that Washington State needs good public schools, parks where families can play outside, quality health care, and a strong infrastructure including public transit and technology in order to thrive. Political rhetoric, media coverage and even kitchen-table conversations are dominated by the idea that lower taxes are always better. As it stands, Washington has the most upside-down tax system in the nation where low and moderate income households pay a far higher share of their income in state taxes compared to the richest households. All In For Washington is an innovative statewide effort to change this reality and strengthen the foundations that make Washington a great state to call home.

Through a multi-method national investigation with a deep dive in Washington and other states, All In for Washington worked with the Topos Partnership to develop a detailed map of the cultural understandings that influence public debate on taxes and budgets. It points to a conclusion that many may find surprising.

This new research is especially relevant as Washington state lawmakers negotiate a solution to fully fund public schools per the State Supreme Court's McCleary ruling and once again a heated debate over public funding, economics and taxation rages. At stake is not only funding for schools, but a whole host of investments that promote thriving communities: from affordable housing to affordable college, curbing climate change to effective mental health treatment.

In this member briefing, foundations will learn the key takeaways from this innovative research, hear how All In partners are implementing these lessons in their day to day communications, organizing, and policy work, and have an opportunity to discuss how these lessons can be integrated into the world of philanthropy.

  • Time: 9:00 - 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, March 7
  • Location: Philanthropy Northwest | 2101 Fourth Avenue, Suite 650, Seattle, WA 98121. Video conferencing will also be available for this program and information will be provided upon registration.
  • Registration is required.  Please login first.

Presentation and Panel Discussion

Meg Bostrom, Co-Founder, Topos Partnership

Meg Bostrom is a veteran communications strategist with a unique perspective resulting from her rich and varied experiences as communicator, public opinion analyst, advertising agency executive, and political consultant. As co-founder of the Topos Partnership, she has researched public opinion and analyzed communications strategies on a wide range of social issues.

Spencer Olsen, Communications Hub Director, FUSE Communication Hub

Spencer Olson, Communications Hub Director, is a Washington native who supports local organizations in crafting compelling campaign narratives and stories to win progressive change. Spencer, a graduate of George Washington University, participated in an intensive environmental organizing fellowship after college, working on several pressing campaigns. Most recently, Spencer worked at a youth HIV/AIDS nonprofit supporting LGBTQ youth in the fight against HIV and STIs. When not at work, Spencer can be found biking around Seattle, spending time outdoors, and beating his friends at board games.

Sumayyah Waheed, Director, All In for Washington

Sumayyah leads a multi-year campaign convened by the Budget & Policy Center, Progress Alliance, FUSE Washington, Sound and Spokane Alliance, and OneAmerica that seeks to change the cultural "common sense" about public investments and the role of government.

Sumayyah has held a range of campaign manager and policy director roles, and has worked in organizations including the Seattle Office for Civil Rights and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, California. She holds a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley.

Misha Werschkul, Executive Director, Washington State Budget & Policy Center

As the leader of the Budget & Policy Center, Misha guides the organization’s strategic vision and ensures its position as a leading voice shaping the debate around budget priorities.

She previously worked in a range of roles with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in Washington, DC, and SEIU 775 in Seattle – most recently serving as 775’s legislative and policy director.

Misha has a master's degree in public policy and women's studies from George Washington University and held two research fellowships with the Institute for Women's Policy Research in Washington D.C. In recent years, she has crafted positions and built coalitions in support of progressive statewide campaigns, including making improvements in the health and long-term care system, raising the minimum wage, and advancing revenue solutions.

Moderator: Remy Trupin, Advocacy Catalyst Fellow, Philanthropy Northwest 

As Philanthropy Northwest's inaugural Advocacy Catalyst Fellow, Remy is curating a knowledge base that explores how the foundation sector can leverage its place-based voice to affect policy. In his role as Senior Fellow with the Topos Partnership, Remy uses his revenue and budget expertise to inform communications challenges facing organizations at national, state and local levels. Remy is also a senior consultant with Luma Consulting. Remy was the founding executive director of the Washington State Budget & Policy Center, a think-tank that works to bring about shared prosperity for all Washingtonians, an organization which he led and grew into a national model. Remy’s previous experience includes a variety of lobbying, policy analysis and research leadership positions with large non-profits at the local, state and national level.

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Please contact Leslie Silverman at or 206-443-8468 for programming questions and Kelley Bevans at or 206-812-7693 for technical assistance.