Putting folks back to work using private funding while serving a major public asset can succeed, say advisors working to create the Jefferson Community Conservation Corps (“JCCC”). This group of Port Townsend volunteers announces a new community employment program to support economic recovery while benefiting a landmark destination on the Olympic Peninsula.
“What can we do to reduce suffering on the local level while improving the quality of life for all in our community? How can we retain local workers who would otherwise relocate out of the area? And how can we conserve a public space at the same time?” asks organizer Matilda Henry. “A Civilian Conservation Corps, paid by the US Treasury, once put millions of unemployed citizens back to work during a dark Depression. Let’s put our hearts, minds, and resources into a rapid response to our current local crisis and, like the ‘mutual aid’ societies springing up all across the country, solve part of the problem ourselves,” adds Lori Bernstein, another JCCC member.
JCCC’s premiere initiative is to gather donations and grants to hire workers for projects at the Fort Worden State Park campus that meet a community need, enhance public spaces, and support the non-profit organization managing the projects; it’s like the Civilian Conservation Corps, but with local control and private funding.
The JCCC is partnering with the Fort Worden Public Development Authority (‘FWPDA’) and its fundraising Fort Worden Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit, to fund part of the staff necessary for reopening business on the campus at the Fort. The FWPDA, a driver of regional economic activity, suffered loss of income and staff due to the closure of operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The historic facilities and grounds will need cleaning and maintenance to make the campus safe, comfortable, and attractive when reopened and thereafter to maintain that condition. This partnership is an opportunity to develop a sustainable jobs program, raise awareness, and generate wide support.
This premiere JCCC campaign will pay strictly local workers; $35K can fund a crew of 10 for one month of full-time employment through the FWPDA. JCCC organizers have donated seed money, and a crowdfunding effort is now underway.
In addition to donations, the JCCC seeks volunteers to develop its own fundraising organization and programs.
More information is available on the Jefferson Community Conservation Corps Facebook page and at the Fort Worden Jobs Project fundraiser page. Contact JCCC at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jefferson Community Conservation Corps
Matilda Henry and the JCCC Advisory Group