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Powerful Voices STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK Approved by the Board of Directors September 2014

MISSION Powerful Voices invites girls to realize their dreams, engage their communities, and shape a more just world.

VALUES SAFETY & HEALTH: We believe health and safety are basic human rights.

We work with girls so that they can achieve physical and emotional health needed for social well-being. Girls learn to choose freedom from physical, psychological, and sexual harm. Personal safety and health are the critical foundation upon which we build healthy relationships and safe communities.

DIVERSITY: We believe in the power of diverse communities.

We embrace the existence of many ideologies, racial or ethnic classifications, cultures, gender identities, generations, socio-economic classes, sexual orientations, nationalities, abilities and life experiences. Powerful Voices respects and appreciates the diversity of the girls we serve, and amongst Board, staff and supporters. Intentional inclusion of many voices leads to creative solutions for issues impacting girls and our community.

JUSTICE: We believe in a more just society and work to promote equity.

We work toward making equitable gains in health, economic, educational and legal systems. Recognizing that disparity exists among girls, we serve girls with the highest needs and those with limited access to opportunity.

INNOVATION: We believe innovation enables us to fulfill our mission.

We employ creativity and critical thought to develop new solutions and approaches. Our innovation honors proven practices while leveraging opportunities.

INTEGRITY: We believe in acting with integrity.

We are ethical, fair, honest, authentic and accountable. Integrity is fundamental to leadership, governance, operations and programming.


ROOTS In 1995, three women met at the University of Washington School of Social Work and founded Powerful Voices, first known as the Seattle Women’s Resource Project. Their vision was an organization that would promote social justice and address inequity at its root by instilling leadership skills, fostering the development of critical thinking, and promoting the individual potential in girls.

“Powerful Voices helped me with my poetry, with my goals, jobs, if I needed a shoulder to lean on, or someone to vent to…they really help girls become stronger women.” – program alumna

GIRLS ARE CAPABLE OF REALIZING THEIR DREAMS AND Here are some things getting in their way:


A majority of girls today say that leadership is not important to them, which isn’t surprising given that women and girls still do not have equal representation in media, politics or the workplace.


Girls’ economic futures are undermined by an economy that is out of balance. Girls in Washington State are more likely today than 10 years ago to live in poverty, have parents who lack secure employment and living in families with a high cost of housing burden. Young women’s career aspirations are at an all-time high while available jobs for youth are at an all-time low. Women of color typically earn less than both men of color and white women. Considering that many girls will grow up to provide for their families, the economic future of girls is vital to the community as a whole.


African-American girls are suspended from school at higher rates (12%) than girls of any other race or ethnicity and most boys. Seattle Public Schools is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for possibly disciplining girls more frequently and more harshly. Girls are disproportionately funneled through the juvenile justice system. This is the first step in a process that leads to the over-incarceration of Black women, who are three times more likely to wind up behind bars than White women.


Girls in Washington State today represent the most racially diverse generation yet, with four of every 10 being girls of color. On nearly every indicator of well-being – health, economic security, education, or safety – women and girls of color continue to fare worse than their white peers.


Serious inequities persist in public education. In King County, only 64% of African-American students graduated on time, compared with 85% of their white peers. Nationally, high school dropout rates hover around 25% for all girls but spike to 50% for Native American girls and 40% for Latinas and African Americans. Only 40% of women ages 18-24 are enrolled in college in our state.



A girl living in South Seattle is six times more likely to become a mother at fifteen years old than her counterpart in North Seattle. No matter how skilled or strong teen parents are, they face institutional barriers that can lead to inadequate social support, maternal stress, and poverty which can contribute to poor health, social and educational outcomes for their children.


At our annual Girlvolution conference girls deliver workshops on social justice issues impacting their lives. Workshop titles from the past five years show that girls are living the reality of these issues every day – and they are ready to take action.


The rate of suicide in the United States has been increasing since 2000, with disproportionate increases in the suicide rate for 10-14 year-old girls. Locally, 42% of 8th grade girls said they were not likely to seek help if they were depressed. One national survey found 57% of Black girls, 40% of Latina girls and 31% of White girls felt sad or hopeless for two or more weeks straight.


Girls are more likely than boys to say that they have experienced cyber bullying – 38% of girls report being bullied, compared with 26% of boys. One in ten high school girls in our state reports that in the last year an intimate partner limited her activities, threatened her or made her feel unsafe. And one in six girls reported being hit, slapped or physically injured. Despite high rates of violence, a recent study found the majority of girls view such incidents as a “normal part of life.”

Teen Dating Violence Depression Doesn’t Have To Be Depressing Media Bytes! Youth In The System: Afterlife Teen Drop-Out Rates Is it Justice or Just Us? NoH8: Homophobic Bullying Girls Are Not For Sale Uh-Oh…Baby! Oversexualization Nation Beauty and Body Image Stereotypes in African-American Culture WTF To Do About Teen Suicide Battling Bullies Gangs in Greater Seattle Monsters In The Closet: How DV Affects Children Racial Profiling: Are You Next? Families Are Being Torn Apart: Deportation

Source: Powerful Voices’ 2014 Trends Analysis

Beautiful Disaster: Addiction 4

BUILDING ON PROGRESS Our 2010 – 2013 Strategic Plan provided three strategic goals to guide Powerful Voices in achieving our mission. During this time, Powerful Voices achieved considerable accomplishments with respect to each of the strategic goals: Operational Strength: We will build a dynamic work environment that reflects our mission, vision, and values and enhances Powerful Voices’ ability to achieve its goals. Welcomed Jane Hinton as our third Executive Director, in July 2011 Invested in competitive wages, benefits, and professional development opportunities Increased diversity of leadership among our Board of Directors Leverage Partnerships: We will create and sustain strategic partnerships that enhance our ability to serve the complex needs of girls. Addressed a critical need for pregnant and parenting girls in South Seattle through a partnership with Atlantic Street Center and the City of Seattle Human Services Department Sustained programming for girls in King County Juvenile Detention by leveraging long-standing partnerships with Detention staff, Seattle/King County Public Health, Harborview and TeamChild Community Impact: We will increase and sustain our positive impact in the community through investments in program development, cross-program evaluation, outreach and organizing. Exceeded national scores on the Youth Program Quality Assessment Launched Girl Justice trainings – sharing our curriculum with 205 youth development professionals in our region during the first three years

“Watching each and every girl develop more self confidence and personal strength was an experience that I will never forget.” - volunteer


PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE In 2014, Powerful Voices was ready to reevaluate the changing environment for girls and nonprofit organizations. We chose to use the Real Time Strategic Planning model to develop tools to inform ongoing strategic thinking and action. This progressive model of planning honors both Powerful Voices experience and our commitment to creating innovative change with girls. Our Board of Directors listened to the voices of volunteers, staff, girls, partners, donors, and other thought leaders from education, business, and government sectors. These conversations guided work to solidify our identity, define our impact and refine strategy for the future. The Real Time Strategic Planning model sees strategy formation as a continuous cycle. Our Board of Directors is committed to using this framework as a source of inspiration to guide our work.

Real Time Strategic Planning Cycle Source: La Piana, D. (2008). The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution: Real Time Strategic Planning in a RapidResponse World.

“Powerful Voices has had a huge impact on my life…I want to thank all of the staff and donors for keeping this program alive for young girls who need that extra push to overcome obstacles and accomplish magnificent things.” – program alumna

LOOKING AHEAD WE ARE POSITIONED TO HELP STRONG GIRLS BECOME STRONG WOMEN. SOCIAL JUSTICE APPROACH Powerful Voices is a social justice organization. We develop leadership from our own communities, work to address the root causes of sexism and racism, and bring people together to build power and create systemic change. GIRL JUSTICE PIONEER Our founders completed a county-wide needs assessment in 1995, which showed the lack of support for girls with the greatest needs and with limited access to resources. Powerful Voices launched gender-specific programs in schools and detention systems, places historically designed for boys. Since then, over 6,000 girls and allies have learned to challenge bias and prejudice and build a more just world. INNOVATION + EVIDENCE-BASED Rather than a one-size-fits-all model, Powerful Voices integrates girl- and race-specific practices with best practices in the youth development and violence prevention fields. PROGRAM QUALITY Powerful Voices exceeds national scores on the Youth Program Quality Assessment in program quality as related to creating a safe environment, creating a supportive environment, youth interaction and youth engagement. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION Girls are overall happy, thankful and pleased with the services we provide. Girls’ families, school administrators and referral partners see positive impact on girls. Alumnae remain engaged with Powerful Voices long after program graduation. FISCAL STABILITY Powerful Voices is supported by a diverse community of donors – City of Seattle Human Services Department (49%), individual donors (28%), foundation grants (15%), United Way of King County (5%), corporations (2%) and program fees (1%).



POWERFUL CHOICES Through school- and community-based groups, girls will gain skills to develop healthy relationships, increase 21st century skills that lead to economic security, develop respect for self and others through the exploration of identity and develop leadership through activism and service.


YOUTH EMPLOYMENT Girls will participate in group-based training focused on employable skills such as public speaking, project management, teamwork and communication. Projects will culminate in girl-led social justice projects such as workshops at Powerful Voices’ Girlvolution Conference and the production of a print and online Zine.

CASE MANAGEMENT Girls affected by violence will be matched one-to-one with a Case Manager who supports them in setting and achieving goals in academics, employment and basic needs, while also developing skills such as communication, goal setting, time management, accountability, and selfadvocacy.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Powerful Voices will partner with others to advance social justice through workshops for girls in detention, 1:1 mentoring (Adult Ally program), training other providers to use our curriculum (Girl Justice), and girlled conference on social justice issues (Girlvolution). Powerful Voices will also be an active member of community coalitions such as the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative and King County Juvenile Detention Oversight Committee.


LOOKING AHEAD WE WILL MAKE THE MOST EFFECTIVE USE OF OUR RESOURCES. The needs of all girls are vast. Recognizing that disparities exist, and resources are limited, Powerful Voices is focused on empowering girls most impacted by oppression and violence, ages 12-18. We define “girl� as anyone who is socialized and/or identifies as female. Powerful Voices also engages with adults and young men who are interested in working in solidarity with girls to create a more just world. We think holistically about girls and acknowledge their family members and friends as customers of Powerful Voices.

WE WILL MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON GIRLS AND THE COMMUNITY. Girls feel proud of who they are. Girls make safe and healthy choices. Girls build safe and healthy relationships. Girls succeed in school and life. Girls become leaders and change makers. Girls and allies work together for justice and equity in their communities. Strong girls become strong women and build strong communities.

WHILE WORKING TOWARD OUR VISION. All girls live healthy and personally meaningful lives in a society that values them.


“I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.” – Malala Yousefzi



Does this strategy… 1. …advance our mission?

Powerful Voices invites girls to realize their dreams, engage their communities, and shape a more just world.

2. …emphasize and build upon our competitive advantages? Social justice approach Girl Justice pioneer Innovation + Evidence-based Program quality Customer satisfaction Fiscal stability

3. …promote relationships of trust and inclusion across our community?

Our community includes girls and their family/friends, staff, Board, volunteers, partners, and funders. Guiding questions: How do community members benefit from this opportunity? How might they be harmed? How do we know? How will this strategy enhance our presence, visibility, and reputation with our community?

If the answer is yes to above initial criteria, proceed to financial criteria. 4. …fit our current resources and include a plan to raise revenue to cover additional expenses?

Guiding questions: Does this work within current fiscal year budget or bring new revenue to cover costs within current fiscal year? What is the plan to sustain this opportunity beyond current fiscal year (if applicable)? Is this opportunity a better use of funds than others? Does this strategy allow us to build capacity or leverage other funds?

“There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.” – Zora Neale Hurston


The Real Time Strategic Planning Model encourages the development of Big Questions to explore operational, programmatic and organizational strategy. This tool moves Powerful Voices toward consensus on understanding of a major opportunity or challenge facing the organization prior to developing a strategy to address it. Potential strategies are developed and screened – and if approved – implemented and evaluated.


How will we continue to provide quality programs while increasing community impact? How will we lead in the girl-serving community? How will we amplify our brand? How will we diversify revenue?



We are already developing and testing strategies as part of the Real Time Strategic Planning Cycle. We are looking forward to sharing the results with you in the coming months and years. Your ongoing support and input will be critical to our success as we seek to help strong girls become strong women.


Take our community survey (


Board of Directors (three year term) Internships (minimum of 3 months in program, marketing, or fundraising) Adult Ally (mentoring January - May) Mock Interviewer (one time, July or November) Girlvolution Event Crew (monthly, January-May) Luncheon Committee (monthly, July-October) Girlvolution Dress Rehearsal (May)


Girl Justice Training (January or June) Girlvolution Sneak-Peek (May) Girlvolution Conference (May) Program Graduations (June, August, November) Girl Talk Events & House Parties (ongoing – call for next dates)

GIVE • • •

• • • •

giveBIG (May via The Seattle Foundation) Day of the Girl Luncheon (October) #GivingTuesday (December via Online ( Designate Powerful Voices through your employer’s workplace giving campaign Wishlist ( In-kind gifts of goods or services


POWERFUL VOICES 1620 18th Ave, #100 Seattle, WA 98122 206.860.1026


Powerful Voices Strategic Framework  

The Board of Directors of Powerful Voices is pleased to present our Strategic Framework. In 2014, Powerful Voices was ready to re-evaluate t...

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