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Mayor Harrell Announces $9.5 Million to Community Organizations Through the Equitable Development Initiative  

Mayor Bruce Harrell announced $9,582,651 in awards through the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI), part of the City’s effort to support property ownership among Seattle’s diverse communities in neighborhoods at high risk of displacement. The EDI funding is intended to support community organizations for site acquisition and major capital projects, as well as capacity-building support to organizations that are still developing their plans for permanent homes in Seattle.   

The EDI fund, administered by the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) was created to respond to the needs of historically marginalized communities, reduce disparities, and support organizational capacity building, property acquisition, and capital expenses. The initiative is championed by community organizations concerned about displacement pressures and historical lack of investment that has occurred in communities of color in Seattle. EDI investments are funded through many sources including the JumpStart Payroll Tax. 

“Displacement pressures are disproportionately impacting communities of color, and Seattle is actively committed to supporting organizations that are working to keep communities in place,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “The Equitable Development Initiative embodies our One Seattle vision, bringing to the forefront innovative community-based programs that increase affordable housing and economic opportunity, and ensure vibrant cultural spaces find permanence in our city.” 

EDI fosters community leadership that promotes equitable access to jobs, education and childcare, outdoor space and recreation, cultural expression, healthy food, and other community needs and amenities. These funding partnerships are designed to build capacity to meet these fundamental community needs among the most historically marginalized groups in Seattle. The program is based in shared decision-making and power, working towards racial equity outcomes that allow all communities to thrive. 

“The Equitable Development Initiative plays an important role in ensuring Seattle’s diverse communities can continue their great work in our city, and that BIPOC communities, families, and services are not further displaced,” said Rico Quirindongo, Director of OPCD. “We are not only trying to slow the negative impact of displacement, but we are trying to bring people back into the city that have been displaced.” 

“The Board of Directors and staff of the Nehemiah Initiative Seattle are proud and honored to be selected to receive this 2023 EDI grant. It affirms our mission as a contributor to equity in our community,” said Bishop Garry L. Tyson, co-founder and Board Chair of Nehemiah Initiative Seattle. “With the Seattle EDI award we can continue to advocate for our faith-based development partners to develop affordable homeownership opportunities for their community. Thank you.”   

“This grant will allow us to continue renovating the former Seattle Vocational Institute as a cornerstone of the Central District and a destination for African American and BIPOC communities to build economic power, leadership and connections,” said Shaudé Moore, CEO of the McKinney Center for Community and Economic Development. “We view the renewal of The McKinney Center as a renewal of our community every step of the way.”   

The following community-based organizations were selected to receive funding to support property ownership, capital projects, and capacity building to provide important public benefit services to the people of Seattle: 

Nehemiah Initiative Seattle – $375,000 to support participating churches in the Central District to plan and implement state legislation about working with faith communities for affordable housing development. 

Seattle Indian Services Commission – $75,000 to provide capacity-building support to continue planning for the Native Village project. 

Friends of Little Saigon – $75,000 to provide capacity-building support to continue planning for the Little Saigon Landmark project. 

Na’ah Illahee Fund – $75,000 to provide capacity-building to support planning for the Elip Tilikum Land Conservancy. 

Rainier Beach Action Coalition – $629,999 in gap funding to support tenant improvements at the Rainier Beach Growth Center. 

Co Lam Pagoda – $75,000 to support capacity-building to explore mixed-use development for the Lotus Village project. 

BIPOC Sustainable Tiny Art House Community – $1,075,000 in acquisition support to assist with finding a permanent location for the Art House pilot. 

Central District Community Preservation and Development Authority (CDCPDA) – $1,473,204 to support rehabilitation of the McKinney Center for Community & Economic Development. 

East African Community Services – $840,000 to support acquisition of property to develop a mixed-use affordable housing and community facility. 

Eritrean Association in Greater Seattle – $1,000,000 to support rehabilitation at the EAGS community center. 

FAME – Equity Alliance of Washington – $75,000 to support capacity building and visioning for a new mixed-use affordable housing development. 

Somali Health Board – $75,000 to finalize purchase agreements for a new mixed-use affordable housing project. 

Urban Black – $75,000 to assist with project scoping and design for the Legacy Program and the Tayes Plaza project. 

ADEFUA Cultural Education Workshop – $75,000 in capacity building support to assist with potential property acquisition. 

Eritrean Community in Seattle & Vicinity – $75,000 in capacity-building support to continue scoping facility rehabilitation for the ECISV community center. 

Estelita’s Library – $75,000 in capacity-building support to continue site remediation efforts. 

Hip Hop is Green – $200,000 to install solar panels at the HHIG garden site. 

Khmer Community Seattle-King County – $75,000 to continue acquisition efforts for the Khmer community center. 

Two other community organizations, not listed, have been selected to receive awards while still in negotiations to acquire real estate. Additionally, a May 2023 funding round awarded $13.5 million in EDI funds to community-based organizations. 

Selection as an EDI recipient is an important step towards realizing the projects proposed by these community organizations. City funding will be contingent on OPCD due diligence and execution of an agreement for services between the City and each community organization. 

Since November 2016, 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 EDI Advisory Board of community members provides guidance and sets direction to advance several 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.  

EDI projects receiving financial support demonstrate a deep relationship with the communities they serve and feature an inclusive community process, with community members serving in their organizational leadership.