With initial support from the Seattle Foundation and Strategies to Eliminate Poverty (STEP) program, the North Dakota Economic Security and Prosperity Alliance (NDESPA) began in late 2008 as a coalition of advocates with an early purpose of promoting passage of a state earned income tax credit (EITC) in North Dakota. Although the legislation ultimately failed, NDESPA continues its work, in an even broader scope.

Since originally forming, NDESPA has maintained work in the following key areas of education, outreach, and advocacy:

  • Coalition-based communication, coordination, and planning activities: to provide/convene meetings, conference calls, and electronic organization and to reach a greater audience of allies and advocates through social media, including http://ndespa.blogspot.com/ and Facebook (with the most popular post reaching 780 readers).
  • Public Education and advocacy: to remain in contact with legislative champions, to draft model legislation, assist with press releases and conferences, to provide testimony during the legislative session and at interim committee hearings, to gain greater legislative support/momentum and to make individual contacts with district legislators; to inform policymakers and the public about the benefits of poverty reduction efforts; to convene statewide and regional community meetings to provide policy information and assess community needs and to convene an annual summit
  • Coalition-building: to increase the diversity and reach of the coalition and to provide feedback to constituencies to build the coalition into the future
  • Technical assistance: through national partners including Public Works, CFED, and the Hatcher Group, NDESPA receives technical assistance and support that can then be provided to local, regional and state asset building efforts; NDESPA is the Lead State Organization (LSO) for the Assets & Opportunities Scorecard

NDESPA is committed to connecting this effort to a broader agenda for poverty reduction and asset building in North Dakota into the future. While North Dakota experiences an unprecedented growth in financial resources, there remain children and families who have no health care, food pantries with not enough food and waiting lists for affordable childcare. These issues place an increased burden on parents/adults already working multiple jobs simply to make ends meet.
The coalition is broad and diverse. Some organizations are tasked with helping a particular segment of people (abused women, people with disabilities, single parents) but all organizations are committed to a partnership that does not draw those distinctions. Rather, they wish to work together toward the common goal of poverty reduction recognizing that a “rising tide will lift all ships.” Some organizations opt out of support or opposition to some NDESPA initiatives from time to time if they have a conflict of interest.
Partners in the coalition include the following (click on the partners for their website):

For more information contact Scott Fry at 701.224.0588, extension 106, or by email at scottf@agree.org.





NDESPA is an alliance of advocates, organizations and concerned individuals who share in the desire to eliminate poverty in North Dakota and to help build assets for people of low and moderate-income.

Building and sustaining a system of economic security for all North Dakotans.