YWCA Spokane's CEO will head state commission
Regina Malveaux, who has been CEO of YWCA Spokane since 2013, is the new director of the Washington Women's Commission as to Sept. 1.
In her new role, she will continue to advocate for women about sexual assault, domestic violence, child care and economic issues.
For now, she will stay in Spokane, and work remotely as other state staff are doing.
Since 2018, Regina has been a member of the Washington Women's Commission, which does research to advise the governor and works with state agencies "so policies create opportunities, not barriers, for women," she said.
"We insert our expertise to build relationships with local women's organizations," she said.
The nine commissioners are developing a survey on issues women face and their unique needs related to COVID-19 impact. She will work to build a strong leadership team, as she has done with Spokane's YWCA.
When Regina came to Spokane, YWCA Spokane was a $3 million organization. Now its annual budget is $5.5 million. It has expanded programs in mental health therapy and work readiness, remodeled Spokane's emergency shelter and added a shelter in Spokane Valley. It expanded its board of directors and created programs through partnerships with the city, county, law enforcement.
In 2015, Spokane Family Justice Center opened at the YWCA to provide coordinated services for victims of domestic violence.
The YWCA broadened community education on domestic violence and families living in poverty, which has helped "increase brand recognition and build support," Regina said.
With nearly 70 percent of the YWCA's income based on state, federal, local and private grants, she said it has kept the emergency shelters in Spokane and Spokane Valley open, while reducing in-person services such as advocacy-based counseling, therapy, job readiness, family law, legal advocacy, and Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP). Staff are providing some of these services remotely for clients who have internet access, so the YWCA has been able to maintain its funding and keep its staff.
"I would have liked to do more related to our mission to engage the community in eliminating racism and promoting social justice," Regina said. "We have expanded our Stand Against Racism event."
Since the murder of George Floyd, the Spokane YWCA joined in sharing resources from the national 21-Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge in a 14-Day Challenge.
The local challenge sought to help community members create time and space in their schedules to build more effective social justice habits, especially around addressing race, power, privilege and leadership.
Each day focused on different topics.
The challenge was offered through daily emails from June 15 to 28 and sent to 700 people who signed up. It is still online —ywcaspokane.org/challenge—offering prompts that invite reading articles, listening to podcasts and reflecting on personal and historical experiences.
The daily themes are: "Anti-Racism vs. Non-Racism," "Equity vs. Equality," "Micro-aggressions," "Stereotyping and Cultural Appropriation," "Intersectionality," "Understanding and Utilizing Privilege," "Race and How It is Covered in the Media," "COVID, Xenophobia and Racism," "Inequities in the Legal System," "Housing Segregation," "Domestic Violence and Racism," "Education Disparities and the School to Prison Pipeline," "The U.S. Census and Voter Disparities," and "Call to Action."
"As other resources are available, the YWCA will add them to the website," said Regina, noting disappointment when in late May Spokane police used tear gas on the Black Lives Matters protesters because a small fraction began looting at the end of the march. She was also disturbed by the presence of the armed white militia, who seemed to have free reign on the streets.
"The days after George Floyd's murder were disturbing because I'm the mother of a bright young black man and the grandmother of two black grandsons," she said.
As she leaves the YWCA Spokane, she will stay on the national board of the YWCA to continue her connection to YWCA work. With YWCA USA, she worked with Sen. Patty Murray and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to help launch the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act campaign in 2019.
She helped pass gun violence prevention policies in the state, including initiatives for universal background checks and legislation for victim protection, extreme risk protection orders and victim notification.
"I chose to work with the YWCA because it provides practical direct services, works for public policies and promotes systemic change," said Regina.
Although her roots are in San Diego, where she was born and spent most of her adult years, she lived in Casper, Wyo., from second to eighth grades. Her father, an African American from Louisiana, decided to follow opportunity to the oil fields there. Her mother grew up in a South Dakota family with roots from Sweden.
Regina felt an affinity for the YWCA's mission to eliminate racism, because she experienced race-based bullying in Wyoming, and felt an affinity for its work to address domestic violence because of having been in an abusive marriage.
She started studies at Alabama A & M University majoring in journalism and finished a degree in public policy at San Diego State in 1997. She earned a law degree at Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 2000.
Regina felt her goal to be in a public policy career wasn't consistent with being the mother of children who were five and seven. So she returned to San Diego and worked for nonprofits including the YWCA promoting public policy on behalf of women and children. She founded the Women's Legal Center and served as a director at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation in San Diego.
In 2010, she began working for the YWCA Norfolk, Va., but in 2012 returned to San Diego to help her family.
Deciding to return to the YWCA network, she moved to Spokane.
Regina is grateful that Spokane has embraced her as a civic leader. She believes the YWCA Spokane and its nonprofit service providers, social justice and government partners will continue to provide services and support women.
"In a city the size of Spokane it is easy to build relationships and collaborate with key decision makers to move people forward," she said.
The YWCA Spokane Board of Directors has named Jeanette Hauck, its long-time chief financial officer, as the acting CEO.
Jeanette has worked with the YWCA for 10 years, updating it's financial plan.
For information, call 326-1190 or visit ywcaspokane.org.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, September, 2020