By: Lauren Sato, CEO

The global COVID- 19 crisis has shone a spotlight on many of the weaknesses in our economic and social systems.  As is historically true during economic crises, women, people of color, and the LGBTQIA+ community are being disproportionately affected. These individuals are more likely to feel the strain of unemployment, little to no healthcare and the loss of childcare or other social services, widening the socioeconomic gap they already face.

The challenge our country faces is not only that of the virus itself, but how to recover and create a more inclusive and resilient economy that provides upward mobility and access to high paying jobs to historically marginalized individuals.

This challenge is one Ada has long been rooted in and we are proud to continue to champion a mission that combats these, now exacerbated, systems of oppression.  

The work we are doing at Ada is more important than ever to our regional economic health and the stability of the communities we serve in Seattle. The need to create high-paying, secure opportunities for underrepresented minorities, women, people from low socio-economic status, and those who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community is greater than ever. This doesn’t just benefit individuals, but whole communities.

When we invest in people who have experienced oppression and have had to learn how to care for themselves and those around them, we see that they lift while they climb and lean in to take care of those most in need. Since this pandemic began, 26 new volunteers have signed up to support Ada, totaling over 80 hours of no-cost assistance for our students and adding to the already 180+ volunteers at Ada. The passion our students have to succeed – for themselves, their families, and their community – continues to fuel our organization even during these unprecedented times.

This is the future we are working to build at Ada. A future of powerful, resilient, community and family-focused people who are financially stable and able to give back to others in times of need.

Our job at Ada is clear: support our community in every possible way and extend the reach of Ada’s mission and vision to create more impactful Adies! To support our current students, Ada has moved quickly and thoughtfully to a virtual curriculum. Many of these tools and systems were not planned for in our 2020 budgeting, yet in order to help our students persist in these unprecedented times, we have adapted and been creative in our approach – just like our students! 

  • Knowing this burden would impact parents both on the staff and student side, we reallocated nearly 20K for childcare, setting up a partnership with Weekdays to provide safe onsite childcare at Ada for those who need it.
  • We stretched ourselves and our budget to push the implementation of an online learning management system to help us become excellent remote educators, and better scale our program over the long-term. 
  • We added tools such as Zoom and Panapto, and flipped classroom techniques to ensure that the collaborative cohort model that makes Ada so special translates to a supportive remote environment, and an effective learning model.

This is our investment in our mission, community, and the future we want for Seattle. It is incredibly difficult to see beyond the present crisis, but we at Ada are anchoring our staff, students, and alums in our vision to weather this storm. This future, one in which we have an inclusive, resilient economy built by resilient people, is a future we cannot help but believe in.

Having more women and gender diverse people with financial agency and opportunity to weather storms like these will make Seattle a model for how the world can come back from one of our worst challenges stronger and more empowered than ever.

Join in on our cause by making a donation to support Ada’s goal of raising $150,000 to continue our work through this difficult time. An investment in Ada today is an investment in more inclusive economic growth for Seattle tomorrow!  

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