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$5.8 Million Available from Equitable Development Initiative Fund

Community-based organizations working in Seattle on anti-displacement strategies and responding to the economic impacts of COVID-19 are encouraged to apply to the City of Seattle’s Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) fund by Sept. 23, 2020.

For the 2020 EDI funding round, a total of $5.8 million will be available to organizations led by and serving people of color in high displacement risk neighborhoods. The funds will be used for organizational capacity building, property acquisition, and capital expenses.

New for this year, projects that apply for EDI funding will also be evaluated for how they are supporting communities of color and small businesses respond to the devastating economic dislocation caused by our current public health emergency.

Funding will be allocated to both existing EDI projects as well as new organizations within the following allocations:

  • $3.665 million for multi-year capacity-building support for existing projects to maintain levels of support and time-sensitive capital requests
  • $1.75 million to invest in new partnerships meeting the 2020 RFP criteria
  • $250,000 to partner with the Office of Sustainability and Environment’s Environmental Justice Fund
  • $225,000 will support communities, artists and creatives facing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic insecurity and other inequities through mini grants distributed by Seattle Together, a collaboration between City Departments and community working to build a future for Seattle where BIPOC communities feel connected, rooted, recognized, prosperous, and safe.

The EDI fund, administered by the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD), was created to respond to the needs of marginalized populations, reduce disparities, and support access to opportunity in healthy, vibrant communities. The initiative was championed by community organizations concerned about displacement pressures and historical lack of investment that has occurred in communities of color in Seattle.

“COVID has disproportionately impacted our low-income Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities in Seattle, adding more pressure on those struggling against systemic racism and long-term disinvestment,” said Sam Assefa, OPCD Director. “Our aim is to improve racial equity and create a city in which everyone can thrive regardless of race or means. We will continue to support community-initiated projects because they serve those most at risk of displacement and support community wealth building and empowerment that benefits Black people and other people of color in our city.”

As in years past, OPCD will evaluate applications based on their ability to positively impact several equity drivers, including:

  • Promoting economic opportunity through education and job training, and enhancing community cultural anchors.
  • Helping marginalized populations, businesses, and community organizations stay in their neighborhoods.
  • Enhancing health outcomes, access to healthy, culturally relevant food, and supporting safe environments.
  • Priority will be given to proposals that build on existing community assets, leadership, and experiences and those that directly connect to liberation movements that actively seek to dismantle systemic and institutional racism

Successful applicants will demonstrate a deep relationship with the community they are seeking to serve and feature an inclusive community process, with community members serving in their organizational leadership.

OPCD, Office of Economic DevelopmentOffice of Housing , Department of Neighborhoods, and other City departments coordinate the administration of the EDI fund. An interim advisory board helps guide the EDI and provides feedback on funding decisions.

EDI funds are intended to complement existing funding sources and address resource gaps identified by the communities most in need. Engagement with partner organizations will involve a multi-year process of building their capacity, developing a project, and overseeing implementation and reporting.

OPCD strongly encourages pre-application meetings and will accept requests for meetings until Sept. 17. Applications are due Sept. 23. Final contracts with successful applicants are expected to be completed by  December 2021. Please visit the EDI website to sign up for webinars related to the funding if you have questions about the application process.

EDI currently partners with 25 organizations: