Bringing the Vital Conditions to Life: Meaningful Work & Wealth

This is one installment of our Vital Conditions series that’s designed to help you bridge the connection from understanding what each Vital Condition entails to identifying how to improve the Condition in your community and where to start. 

Inspired by our organization’s name -- IP3 -- we’ve structured this series to showcase People successfully improving Conditions at the local level, Places who have built up momentum worth modeling, and inspiring Possibilities to drive your work.

What is Meaningful Work & Wealth?

People's lives and self-worth flourish when doing productive, rewarding work that pays a living wage. Meaningful work, a supportive work environment, and long-term financial security can raise living standards across multiple generations of a family and, in turn, the community where they live. This widely-shared prosperity helps create a sense of pride that further contributes to healthy outcomes across a lifespan. Learn more

Why is this considered a vital condition for health and well-being?

Meaningful Work & Wealth is about personal, family, and community wealth that provides the means for healthy, secure lives. It is about good-paying, fulfilling jobs and careers, as well as financial security and wealth-building opportunities that extend across the lifespan. Learn more

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Visualizing Well-Being: Meaningful Work + Wealth
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons

Inspirational People

In King County, Washington, which includes the city of Seattle, Dow Constantine serves as the King County Executive -- a title much like a mayor. He stated in his 2017 State of the County address:

“Each of us should have the chance to participate, and to contribute to the best of our abilities, and to thrive. That’s a big part of who we are… Our message to newcomers and old-timers alike is simple: This is your home. You Belong Here.”

Behind those words stand policies and initiatives focused on improving meaningful work and wealth in King County through creating more equitable conditions. These include:

  • Addressing the root causes of homelessness by creating affordable housing, increasing access to employment, and consolidating support services

  • Investing in workforce programs accessible through the Roadmap Project, which organizes education, training, and economic development organizations into a coordinated response team, making it possible for employers to partner with just a single group to ensure that job training programs prepare students for the current job market

  • Developing a fair tax system that is based on ability to pay and recognizes that property and sales taxes mean low-income people pay seven times more of their assets in taxes than do the wealthiest residents

Executive Constantine was recently overwhelmingly re-elected to a third term-- proof that the citizens of King County believe in his vision for their communities. 

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WIN Pacesetter Story: King County, Washington
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Cover page of King County's Journey in Institutionalizing Equity and Social Justice
King County’s Journey in Institutionalizing Equity and Social Justice
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by American Society for Public Administration

Inspirational Places

What was once considered a top-ten “most miserable” city, Stockton, California has made remarkable strides, especially in terms of improving Meaningful Work & Wealth. After declaring bankruptcy in 2011, the city took the disruption in government as an opportunity to reinvent itself. Successful programs include:

  • Starting a cradle-to-career pathway project, which includes $20 million in private investments to launch the Stockton Scholars program to guarantee higher-education funding for all graduating seniors for the next 10 years

  • Recruiting philanthropic investors to partner around the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration -- one of the first guaranteed income projects in the nation -- that will give randomly-selected residents a guaranteed income of $500 a month for 18 months

  • Ready to Work: a public-private partnership that provides housing, food, education, work training, skill-certification, stipends, and referrals to permanent housing for people that struggle with homelessness

Stockton’s success was recognized recently when it received a 2018 All-American City Award from the National Civic League.

Staff Pick!
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Stockton Demonstration
Resource - Blog
Brought to you by Medium
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WIN Pacesetter Story: Stockton, California
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons

Possibilities to Inspire You

The Well Being Trust has chosen to highlight these solutions as ones that are not only possible, but have a real chance to improve lives. 

There are many opportunities to improve conditions for Meaningful Work & Wealth in communities. Some of the most significant opportunities pertain to:

  • gainful employment and a livable wage
  • promoting wealth building opportunities
  • advancing equitable prosperity for all

We offer the following collection of community success stories, resources, and tools to help you explore current conditions, look for possibilities, build community, and take action.

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