Too often we try to pull on the wrong political levers, those requiring a huge effort, and having small and temporary impact. Progress Alliance is about finding the larger levers that are relatively easy to move and have lasting, significant impact.
Progress Alliance exists to win solutions that are at the scale of the problems we face. Our vision is a Washington State that is a healthy place to live with shared economic success and security, and a democracy that works for its people.
In order to achieve this we are building a permanent and powerful progressive movement supported by a network of committed donors who bring a fresh approach to politics.
Why invest in political systems change?
The most leveraged way to make change is at the systems level; we consider these systems to be the political infrastructure that keeps people engaged, informed and active. We believe that all of us - those who work on women’s issues, civil rights, economic justice, environmental protection - are only able to win when we work together and each piece of our foundation is strong.
- This means that all of our voters – including young people, people of color, women, and immigrants – are registered, informed about the issues, and voting.
- It means that activists and community leaders and donors are organized so their voices are loud and clear where elected leaders are making key decisions.
- It means that we can tell a simple, unified, emotionally compelling story about our vision for the future, how we get there, who is fighting for this vision, and who is standing in our way.
- It means that we are recruiting, and supporting candidates up and down the ticket who share our values, and then champion them once they are elected.
- And it means that we have powerful and attractive policy proposals, backed by research, at the ready for our elected leaders to turn into reality
Learn more about political infrastructure: This KUOW radio segment explains the political infrastructure in Washington state and highlights some of our investments and their impact.
In order to build a robust progressive movement, we researched and identified critical missing capacities that were holding us back, including sophisticated voter databases, online communications and action, engaging youth and immigrant constituencies, and more. Guided by an experienced staff and dedicated members, we are filling those gaps and creating the infrastructure necessary for long term success.
In our first decade we helped create more than ten new programs and organizations, raised over $7 million and quadrupled our membership. Together, our donor families give substantial grants to over a dozen projects and start-up organizations each year.
While we invest in Washington State, we are just as interested in national progress. As one of the first, and largest political donor alliances in the country, Progress Alliance is now a leader in a network of other state and national alliances.
Sarah Jaynes has been the Executive Director of Progress Alliance of Washington since 2006. In this capacity Sarah has helped found some of our region’s most important political engagement organizations including the Washington Bus, Fuse, and the Win/Win Network, and co-led development of the Heroes’ Narrative. Sarah has dedicated over 20 years to organizations and campaigns for shared prosperity, vigorous democracy, and a healthy environment. Prior to joining Progress Alliance, Sarah served as the campaign director for Climate Solutions, the director of Seattle Alliance for Good Jobs and Housing for Everyone (SAGE), and the political director of the WA Conservation Voters. She was initially trained as an organizer with Green Corps, the field school for environmental organizing. She spends her free time outdoors, biking, hiking, gardening, and chasing her growing boys.
As Deputy Director, Esther Handy leads Progress Alliance’s member engagement, development and democracy reform work. She brings eight years of experience as policy and political staff in local government, most recently serving progressive Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien. In that role, she led an innovative and winning legislative agenda that included: a municipal opt-out system for yellow pages, a targeted local hire policy for city public works, democracy reforms and Seattle’s first inclusionary housing policy. Esther developed her own political activism as an anti-racist community organizer and she is committed to centering communities of color and racial justice work in our progressive movement. She serves on the Board of Homestead Community Land Trust and the Win/Win Network, and in her free time, enjoys doing crafts, digging in her p-patch and exploring the outdoors.
Political and Programs Director
Kirsten Harris-Talley brings over 15 years of experience in cultural proficiency, program implementation, and organizational development. She manages Progress Alliance’s granting process, equity plan and investments in the growing progressive electorate—including communities of color, women and youth led organizations. She is active in the #BlocktheBunker and #NoNewYouthJail movements for policing and incarceration reforms. As a founding board member of Surge Reproductive Justice, she knows first-hand the transformation of community centered leadership in political movements. In fall 2017, she was appointed as interim Seattle City Council Member for Position 8, where she brought her work in community to the city budget process. When she has downtime, she loves to cook with her family and rock the mic on karaoke.
As Progress Alliance's Member Organizer, Precious helps recruit, on-board, and engage our growing membership. For the past nine years, she has organized with GABRIELA Seattle, a grassroots organization that advocates for the rights of Filipino women and currently serves on the executive committee of the national alliance, GABRIELA USA. She recently worked at the Washington State Budget & Policy Center, coordinating operations and outreach activities including managing the annual Budget Matters policy conference. Precious has built many relationships in the Seattle community through organizing and advocacy, during her tenure in theater, and as a barista and restaurant manager in the Fremont and Mount Baker neighborhoods.
Programs and Operations Manager
Jessica Jones comes to Progress Alliance with over five years of experience in progressive political non-profits, as well as five years of event planning experience. She most recently served as Operations Director for The Washington Bus, leading the organization in doubling revenue for their signature summer fundraiser, building new rebranded organizational websites, and developing equity-centered Human Resources policies and hiring systems. Jessica currently serves as Board Treasurer of Ingersoll Gender Center, supporting the self determination of transgender and gender nonconforming communities through peer-led support groups, advocacy, and community organizing. She has a passion for organizational development and is excited to bring a systems lens to operations work at Progress Alliance. In her free time, Jessica loves seeing local music, drawing, and exploring the outdoors.
Susan is co-founder and Executive Director of the Na’ah Illahee Fund, and is a former training and technical assistance specialist for youth tribal programs for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice, and Delinquency Prevention's Tribal Youth Programs through Education Development Center, Inc. Susan carries valuable expertise in all levels of nonprofit operations and management, having been an independent consultant working with tribes, artists, and nonprofits, and currently serves on the board of the Potlatch Fund.
Rod practices environmental law at the Cascadia Law Group PLLC. He has done extensive environmental advocacy, including serving as environmental representative on a number of commissions and task forces, including the Growth Strategies Commission, which led to the creation of the Growth Management Act, the Regulatory Reform Task Force, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation, and the Climate Action Team. Most recently, he co-chaired Governor Inslee's Carbon Emissions Reduction Task Force.
Sharon's interest areas for activism include chemical policy reform, growing the electorate, and shared prosperity. She currently serves on the boards of Washington Conservation Voters and Toxic-Free Future. She has a Computer Science Engineering degree from Princeton University and formerly worked at Microsoft for 12 years. Today Sharon lives in Capitol Hill with her husband Peter and three school-aged kids. If it weren't for pushing to make the world a better place, she would spend more time armed with a camera capturing the beauty of this world.
Scott is a licensed clinical psychologist in independent practice in Wallingford, where he provides intensive psychotherapy to adults, and consultation and supervision to students and fellow mental health professionals. He formerly worked at the Fremont Community Therapy Project and for the Alliance Community Psychotherapy Clinic, organizations offering clinical training and low-fee pscyhotherapy, and currently serves on the board of the Bainum Family Foundation and Choice Hotels International. Scott lives in Capitol Hill with his wife, Katie, a teacher and nonprofit consultant, and his teenage son and daughter.
Jean is a founder of Women Gaining Ground, and serves on the board of Pangea, and is a Social Venture Partners “Lead Partner” for Equal Opportunity Schools. Previously, Jean was a trial lawyer at Reed, McClure, Moceri & Thonn in Seattle, and also was a principal in Seattle Community Consultants. Jean and her husband, Peter Miller, have three daughters, who are in far flung places building interesting lives.
Estevan is a program officer with the Piper Fund, where he oversees grant making to support community organizing and advocacy to advance state and municipal money-in-politics reform. He also serves as chair of the Funders' Committee for Civic Participation's Money in Politics Working Group and board president of Rainier Valley Corps. He is a tireless advocate for fair representation and racial equity in our democracy and passionate about youth engagement, community organizing, and the diffusion of power.
Peter retired in 2014 from a software career that included systems engineering at IBM in the 80s, program management with Microsoft in the 90s, and co-founding web-based startups in 1999 and 2005. He brings database expertise and a business perspective to the Progress Alliance board. Peter earned an AB in Physics at Dartmouth (’83) and an MBA at Harvard (’89). He and his wife Winky have raised three kids in Seattle and are active supporters of the Seattle Repertory, where Winky is a board member.
Brady is the CEO of Grist.org, a leading national source of environmental media. Brady served two terms in the Washington State Legislature, and previously spent several years at the Gates Foundation. A Fulbright Scholar in Honduras and a graduate of Princeton, Brady lives in Capitol Hill with his husband, Micah, a marine biologist.
Brooke is a native Oregonian who grew up walking precincts with her family of small-town politicians. She has made Seattle her home since 2005, when she moved to the region to work for then-Congressman Jay Inslee. After working as a Congressional staffer and public involvement consultant on transportation projects, she's spent the last five years volunteering with organizations including Social Venture Partners, Southeast Seattle Education Coalition, OneAmerica, and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. Brooke and her husband Josh live in Madison Valley with their son.
Cary is an urban planner and civic activist. She directed the People's Waterfront Coalition, which helped reclaim Seattle's downtown waterfront as civic space. Cary has a Masters in Landscape Architecture, an Urban Design certificate from University of Pennsylvania, a BS in Engineering from University of Michigan, and an earlier career as a systems engineer. She is currently launching a new advocacy effort in Seattle to promote sustainable, just, innovative urbanism.
We share our gratitude for the contributions of photography for this website, used with permission from our partners: OneAmerica, Win/Win Network, Progressive Majority Washington, Moxie Media, Mike Harring and Tara Gimmer.