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A new Portland-based nonprofit was created that will reimburse child care costs to caregivers and parents who wish to participate in civic events or attend public meetings.

SUBMITTED IMAGE - Politisit is a new nonprofit designed to reimburse parents and caregivers who wish to attend civic events or participate in public meetings.Politisit.org was founded to eliminate cost as a barrier to civic participation — access to affordable childcare keeps many people from participating in civic activities and political engagement on a regular basis, Politisit founder Rachel Sowray said.

"During the election last year I was struck by the long lines to vote," Sowray said. "I thought, 'I can't imagine trying to do that with a toddler,' and a mom shouldn't have to choose between paying a babysitter to go vote and paying the bills. This only illustrated a fraction of the problem, though."

Sowray said that when she thought about how many voices are silenced because of a lack of affordable childcare, she decided to fix the problem.

"I hope that Politisit enables caregivers to influence legislation and policy so it reflects what they truly want and need." She said. "By getting more voices to the table, we will strengthen our communities and democracy as a whole."

Politisit is a simple scholarship program. When a caregiver is interested in Politisit's service, she first fills out the application form.

After approval, she can request childcare reimbursement for civic events she is interested in attending. After the event, the caregiver sends proof of attendance, and Politisit then reimburses for the approved childcare cost via Paypal or check.

"We want to become a model for raising the voices of caregivers across the United States," said Ms. Sowray. Oregon will be the first focus, with hopes for a subsequent expansion to other states after a successful model is established.

The YWCA of Greater Portland is providing fiscal sponsorship services to Politisit. This allows all cash and in-kind donations to Politisit to be tax deductible under U.S. tax law.

The YWCA of Greater Portland also supports Politisit with expertise in financial management, operations, and leadership, which allows Politisit to build capacity and focus on implementing an effective program.

To learn more about Politisit, visit the website: www.politisit.org/

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