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Mayor Durkan Announces $9.8 Million to BIPOC-Led Community Organizations Through the Equitable Development Initiative

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced $9.8 million in awards through the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI), the largest annual total since EDI’s first awards in 2017, to support the purchase of additional properties to house BIPOC organizations at risk of displacement. EDI is a central component of the City’s effort to support Seattle’s existing residents, businesses and organizations in high displacement risk neighborhoods. This year, the City is awarding $9.1 million to community organizations for site acquisition and major capital projects and another $750,000 for capacity-building support for organizations seeking to advance anti-displacement projects.

“The Equitable Development Initiative has helped community-based organizations in our city tackle the challenges of displacement and helped strengthen underserved communities and create economic vitality. The Equitable Development Initiative has a strong record of creating generational change by investing in affordable homes and community spaces for our City’s residents and non-profits,“ said Mayor Durkan. “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially devastating for our Black, Indigenous, and communities of color – that why we are growing our investments in this critical program as we build back better and more equitably.”

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 is championed by community organizations concerned about displacement pressures and the historical lack of investment that has occurred in communities of color in Seattle. All 46 EDI partner organizations who have received $49 million in EDI funding to date are led by and serve people of color. OPCD and partner departments, including Office of Economic Development (OED), Office of Housing (OH), Department of Neighborhoods (DON), Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), and Office for Civil Rights (OCR), have coordinated the administration of the EDI Fund. The program was established in November 2016, using one-time funding. Mayor Durkan proposed a sustained funding source for the program in 2019 and has continued to grow the program.

“These projects are grounded in community-led vision for responding to displacement pressures,” said Rico Quirindongo, interim director of OPCD. “Census data show that Seattle continues to grow rapidly, but our shared prosperity isn’t reaching all neighborhoods and communities. Our vision for the future of Seattle must include a permanent home for these and other BIPOC organizations.”

EDI fosters community leadership and supports organizations to promote equitable access to jobs, education and childcare, outdoor space and recreation, cultural expression, healthy food, and other community needs and amenities. These partnerships are designed to support leadership and build capacity among the most historically marginalized groups in Seattle, sharing in decision-making and power, and working towards racial equity outcomes that allows all communities to thrive.

“We were thrilled to take ownership of the Central Area Senior Center when the City transferred the property to our organization last year.  CASC reflects a 51-year journey of the African American community, culture, and legacy in the Central District,” said Director Dian Ferguson.  “We celebrate this award and thank the Equitable Development Initiative Fund.  This EDI award will help us make needed improvements and tackle the deferred maintenance.  Furthermore, it will allow us to sustain this valuable community institution as a form of Black self-determination and to continue as a gathering place for seniors and the community.”

“We stand on the shoulders of many generations that came before us. Nurturing Roots and our community are extremely honored to receive this gift and opportunity of landownership,” said Nyema Clark of Nurturing Roots. This moment will solidify a place of healing, cultural education, and humanity. To grow, seeds need nutrients, grounding, and a place of belonging. This will ensure we never blow away. ASHE.”

An EDI Advisory Board grounded in community provides ongoing guidance for the program and developed recommendations to the City on the funding decisions announced today. Projects are evaluated on their ability to positively impact several equity drivers that lead to racial equity outcomes including:

  • Promoting economic opportunity through education, 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.

Based on the advice of the EDI Advisory Board, the 2021 awards were designed to expand the EDI pool to include more organizations and offer capital funding for property acquisitions by new EDI partners. The cohort of five original EDI projects in 2017 was expanded to 15 projects in 2018 and 25 projects in 2019. The 2020 funding round was focused on Covid-19 relief efforts.

EDI Awards for Capital Projects

The following community-based organizations will receive awards totaling $9.1 million for site acquisition and major capital projects that advance anti-displacement strategies and economic development opportunities:

Central Area Senior Center ($1,038,000) – This funding will support the completion of deferred maintenance items in the facility, with the intention of stabilizing the building and extending its useful life. The center provides a core gathering place for seniors in the Central Area to remain connected to neighbors in the face of increasing gentrification.

Chief Seattle Club Northgate ($700,000) – This funding will support the construction of a Longhouse and cultural space as part of the joint development with Bellwether Housing on the North Seattle Community College Campus.

Delridge Neighborhood Development Association ($1,065,000) – This funding will support repairs and upgrades to the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in Delridge so the facility can continue to provide affordable space to Arts nonprofits and low-income housing.

Duwamish Valley Sustainability Association ($348,000) – This funding will support a pilot sustainability project generating energy from food waste and investing in a circular economy, while providing youth with experience and education in new sustainability and green jobs technology.

FAME Housing Association ($1,075,000) – This funding will support the development of the ground-floor space at Bryant Manor, an existing affordable housing project located in the Central Area, to support the expansion of Ashe Preparatory Academy onto the site to serve families in the expanded housing project.

Khmer Community of Seattle/King County ($1,075,000) – This funding will support the purchase of property allowing KCSKC to re-establish their community center after having been displaced from their previous location in White Center. The target site is located within the Seattle City limits in the Westwood/Highland Park area.

Nurturing Roots ($935,000) – This funding will support the purchase of the location on Beacon Hill, ensuring that Nurturing Roots and the Black Power Epicenter have a permanent home while allowing the farm to continue to provide a needed resource for food distribution efforts and youth education in Southeast Seattle.

Somali Health Board ($1,000,000) – This funding will support the equitable transit-oriented goals of the Graham Street Community-Action Team to acquire a site for a mixed-use development providing affordable housing and a range of other community serving uses in advance of the new light rail station.

Youth Achievement Center ($700,000) – This funding will support a partnership with Africatown CLT, Community Passageways, and Creative Justice to provide housing with wrap-around services for homeless and at-risk youth. The Columbia City property is currently owned by Sound Transit, which is working with King County to support transfer of the site to community ownership.

Two additional organizations are acquiring property using funds from a 2021 EDI award and are in the midst of real estate negotiations. Information about these projects will be announced when a purchase and sale agreement is completed.

The following organizations were selected for capacity-building awards of $75,000 to help support the development of additional anti-displacement efforts: AiPACE, Black and Tan Hall, Cham Refugees Community, Community-Owned Resource Development, Eritrean Community in Seattle & Vicinity, Estelita’s Library, Hip Hop is Green, Seattle Indian Services Commission, Stem Path Innovation Network, and Wa Na Wari.