Our very own Rico Quirindongo received the Jennie Sue Brown award from The American Institute of Architects Washington Council for his continued commitment and advocacy for equitable development. Congrats Rico!
Mayor Bruce Harrell today announced nearly $9 million in awards through the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI), part of the City’s effort to support property ownership among Seattle’s diverse cultural communities in high displacement risk neighborhoods. The City awarded funds to 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 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 historical lack of investment that has occurred in communities of color in Seattle.
“To tackle the challenges of displacement, Seattle is working together with community-based organizations to invest in tangible efforts – focusing on supporting underserved communities, fostering healthy families, and delivering new economic opportunity,“ said Mayor Harrell. “Our One Seattle vision includes permanent homes for organizations that serve communities of color facing growing pressures. With these investments, we are partners in helping these cultural organizations achieve their dreams of owning property and having a forever home 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 among the most historically marginalized groups in Seattle. The program is based in shared decision-making and power, working towards racial equity outcomes that allows all communities to thrive.
“These organizations and projects are responding to displacement pressures among communities of color in Seattle,” said Rico Quirindongo, OPCD’s acting director. “Our investments are another concrete step toward our shared vision of an inclusive city filled with diverse neighborhoods and cultures – not just today, but long into the future.”
“This award is a testament that our city recognizes our contribution and unwavering commitment to our community, especially our youth,” said Chettie McAfee, Central Area Youth Collaborative. “Generations of families have come through our doors, including the Mayor and myself as well. We remain in the heart of the city, known as the ‘CD’ for those who have been here a while, as we are in the heartbeat of the city that keeps on going. The award is essential for us, so we can remain true to our mission.”
The following community-based organizations received awards to support property ownership and capital projects in 2022:
- Central Area Youth Association (size of award pending) for acquisition of additional parcels to support Center House and new program space.
- Ethiopian Community in Seattle ($244,868) to support construction of Ethiopian Village, a mixed-use facility with housing and a community center.
- Hip Hop is Green ($175,000) to support predevelopment work for Cherry Street Farm and Commissary Kitchen in the Central District.
- Life Enrichment Bookstore ($1,501,187) for their site acquisition to preserve cultural space in Columbia City.
- Muslim Housing Services ($650,000) to help purchase a new Rainier Beach office space.
- Rainier Beach Action Coalition ($80,000) to contribute to tenant improvements at the new Food Innovation Center.
- Rainier Valley Midwives ($200,000) to help fund tenant improvements at the new birth center in Hillman City.
- Royal Esquire Club ($781,827) to support the rehabilitation of existing cultural space in Columbia City.
- Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network ($290,314) to help rehabilitate a donated facility for the House of Constance, a housing and community space in Capitol Hill.
- Tubman Center for Health & Freedom ($1,075,000) to contribute to a new health clinic at Graham Street in the Rainier Valley.
- United Indians of All Tribes Foundation ($1,075,000) for rehabilitation of Daybreak Star.
The following EDI partners will receive new capacity-building awards of up to $75,000 in 2022: BIPOC Sustainable Tiny Art House Community, Casa Latina, Cham Refugees Community, Estelita’s Library, Fathers and Sons Together, Friends of Little Saigon, House of Mkeka, and Khmer Community of Seattle/King County.
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 provided recommendations to the City on the funding criteria and decisions announced today. Projects were 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.
Successful applicants demonstrated 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.
The Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) fund Request for Proposals (RFP) is an opportunity for Community-based organizations working in Seattle on anti-displacement strategies, responding to creating new economic opportunities, improving educational outcomes, and other forms of community development.
The 2022 EDI funding round is available to organizations working on anti-displacement efforts in high displacement risk neighborhoods, with a continued emphasis on serving BIPOC communities that have been targeted by systemic and institutional racism. The funds will be used for organizational capacity building, property acquisition, and capital expenses.
Please review the following application material to prepare and submit your application. Applications are due June 5 at 11:59 p.m. For questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Equitable Development Fund Guidelines
- RFP Application (word file)
- Development Source and Uses Budget (excel file)
- Information for EDI RFP applicants – What is the Equitable Zoning Pilot?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Webinars for Future Applicants
The following webinar was presented to potential applicants to learn more about the process and ask questions.
For More Information
Contact Michael Blumson at email@example.com.
We are proud to share our video story about Byrd Barr Place, located in the Central District of Seattle. This is the first in the series of four videos that will focus on our Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) partners and Black-owned businesses in the Central District.
Formerly known as Centerstone of Seattle, Byrd Barr Place nurtures an equitable Seattle by providing programs that enable people to live healthier, prosperous lives. They offer support for home heating assistance, housing assistance, healthy food access, and personal finance education to break the cycles of poverty. Byrd Barr Place also supports community engagement and partnerships to better understand the root causes of poverty and displacement in Seattle. The organization is named after Roberta Byrd Barr, a staunch advocate in Seattle Civil Rights movement who fought against school segregation.
In 2020, Seattle City Council voted to formally transfer ownership of a former fire station to serve as a permanent home for Byrd Barr Place. Through EDI, Byrd Barr Place will renovate a 100+ year old historic Firehouse with inclusive, accessible design to add 1000+ square feet of community gathering space. The project will retain the building as a cultural asset for Seattle’s Black community and expand its services, which include energy assistance and home heating, housing assistance and eviction prevention, and food bank and home delivery.
These videos are a continuation of the series we began in May 2021 to recognize the work of our EDI partners in the Cham and Vietnamese communities. These videos seek to uplift, empower, and educate about the value of these community-led projects in a time when information on local resources can be scarce, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, displacement/gentrification, and ongoing racial oppression.
About our Filmmakers
TraeAnna Holiday, a true Seattleite, has watched her city change in many ways. From the age of nine, her deepest passion was in the creative field, which flourished at Garfield High. She took that passion to Howard University, where she studied theater management in her first year of college. Through studying abroad multiple times at the University of Washington Tacoma, gaining her degree in Communications and Urban Studies, and being displaced by gentrification, she’s now fueled to tell her neighborhood’s stories through film and education.
Producer/Interviewer: TraeAnna Holiday
Videographer: Jake Gravbrot
Audio: Curtis Delgardo
Editor: Gary Washington
About the Equitable Development Initiative
The EDI addresses displacement and the unequal distribution of opportunities to sustain a diverse Seattle. The EDI fosters community leadership and supports organizations to promote equitable access to housing, jobs, education, parks, cultural expression, healthy food and other community needs and amenities. For more information, visit the EDI website.
Thirteen BIPOC organizations will receive City funds to secure critical properties to prevent displacement in their communities. As existing displacement pressures mount through the COVID-19 pandemic, these funds will preserve critical sites as well as create new opportunities for self-determined solutions to meet community needs.
OPCD and the Office of Arts and Culture (ARTS) will administer $30 million from the City’s Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) in site acquisitions led by 13 BIPOC-led organizations to secure critical community owned properties to prevent displacement and increase access to opportunity in their communities/neighborhoods. City Council approved legislation for the funds, which will be used to help these organizations acquire permanent sites – up to $5 million each – in areas with significant planned public investments such as light rail station areas and parks, where increased access to opportunities will likely increase displacement pressures.
The SIF was created to prevent and mitigate displacement pressures by invest explicitly in community wealth building, respond to urgent opportunities, and leverage community assets. The projects selected for funding will create affordable housing for families and seniors, childcare, arts and cultural space, community space, small business incubation and preservation, open space, and historic preservation. The SIF’s $30 million is part of Mayor Jenny A. Durkan’s commitment of $100 million to support BIPOC organizations that face disparities due to systemic racism and oppression.
The SIF received 100 proposals from BIPOC-led organizations, with funding requests of more than $330 million. A Community Advisory Group comprised of representatives with diverse experience and expertise in affordable housing, community development and equitable development evaluated the applications. The group has recommended that the City fund 13 site acquisitions with the available funding.
Now OPCD and ARTS will begin to work with the 13 organizations to identify and acquire properties in the months and years ahead. The City will announce individual site acquisitions after the completion of real estate negotiations. Until purchase and sale agreements are signed, the names of the organizations will not be publicly available.
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.
To improve disparate outcomes for communities furthest from equity the Task Force developed 9 recommendations with 18 implementation strategies
Upon Council’s proviso lift millions can be dispersed to community by end of 2021
Mayor Jenny A. Durkan transmitted $30 million in investments recommended by the Equitable Communities Initiative Task Force (ECITF) to improve disparate outcomes for Seattle’s Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities. The investments begin to correct disparities caused by government-sanctioned and racist policies, which negatively-effect the Black and Indigenous communities at disproportionate rates. The legislation was developed after Task Force members and city departments developed implementation plans for each recommended strategy.
In 2020, Mayor Durkan requested that the City, for the first time, build the budget around $100 million in investments in BIPOC communities. The Mayor used all of the City’s resources to balance the budget during a historic shortfall, including: $73 million from the City’s emergency reserves, $20 million in reductions to the Seattle Police Department, a wage freeze for non-represented employees, redirecting voter-approved levy dollars to support basic city operations, federal relief assistance, and new City revenues. The Equitable Communities Initiative Task Force is one element of the overall $100 million investment.
“Today, Seattle is delivering on its commitment to address generational wrongs that have had a devastating impact on communities of color. These impactful community leaders have fought for justice within their communities, volunteered their time, and expertise to make recommendations that are the first step towards righting past wrongs. The best ideas come from the community, and their work underscores that fact. By working together, they’ve shown what’s possible when the government steps out of the way so that community can step forward with real solutions. I look forward to seeing these investments serving the urgent needs of communities that have for far too long been grossly under-funded.”
“The ECI Task Force focused on targeting investments to the most significant and pervasive systemic challenges facing communities of color in our city. Their recommendations focus on equity in business development, education, homeownership and healthcare. I applaud the members of the task force for their diligence and determination to find the best path to improve outcomes for generations to come,” said Councilmember Debora Juarez ex-officio Task Force member.
The Task Force developed 9 recommendations with 18 strategies to strengthen communities of color so that they can thrive. The recommendations fall under the following four pillars:
$7.5 Million – Building Opportunity through Small Business Support
- Provide Equitable Small and Micro Business Capital
- Offer Small Business Technical Assistance on Financial Health, Digital Tools, and Construction Support
$7.5 Million – Developing Diverse and Culturally Competent Educators and Education Opportunities
- Fund Culturally Supportive Re-entry Programs for Formerly Incarcerated BIPOC
- Support Equity in Education with Students
- Provide Cultural Education for BIPOC youth
$8.8 Million – Accessing Affordable Housing, Land Acquisition and Generational Wealth
- Establish a Generational Wealth Education Program and Resource Portal
- Identify Housing Strategies for Low- and Middle-Income Apprentices and Pre-Apprentices
- Broaden Priority Hire and WMBE Support
- Create Homeownership Supports and Development Opportunities
- Study the Feasibility of a Lease to Own Program
- Provide Ownership Retention Resources for BIPOC Families to Remain in Their Homes
$6.2 Million – Improving Positive Health Outcomes
- Provide Holistic Culturally Responsive & Inclusive Healthcare
- Improve Access to Culturally Responsive & Inclusive Healthcare
- Sustain a Healthy Food Fund for Community-Led Projects Focused on Food Security
- Increase Farm to Table Access with a BIPOC Emphasis
- Support an Environmental Justice Fund for Community-Led Projects
- Address Barriers to BIPOC Professionals Entering the Healthcare Workforce
- Enhance Youth Career Exploration in the Healthcare Industry
Recognizing it will take years of investment to address generations of disinvestment, Mayor Durkan has committed to including another $100 million in her proposed 2022 budget to further address systemic inequities facing BIPOC communities.
“As we closely examined generational wealth, we found that many BIPOC communities not only don’t have access to housing, but they also don’t have access to the same financial support that many White-led businesses do. We wanted to create opportunities for BIPOC business owners to work with colleagues who resemble those they serve. Through Technical Assistance, we are providing a deeper level of support while they are at the table applying for funding, helping them analyze how much they need, and assist in completing applications,” said Task Force member Donna Moodie, owner of Marjorie. “We can invite them to turn a loan into a forgivable loan simply by attending Technical Assistance classes that would improve their business acumen. This is a win-win create esteemed people in our communities whose business behavior and success can be modeled.”
“As housing prices continue to rise across Seattle, the Task Force used this opportunity to recommend steps to help address this crisis. Strategies like developing a lease to purchase program will help shift the mindset away from the thought that living in Seattle means that you can’t own. But we also took a broader approach because we know that access to good jobs and access to apprenticeships are also strategies to keep people housed,” said Task Force member Sharon Williams, Executive Director of CD Forum. “The City must also take an active role in developing educational programs that encourage longer-term strategies for families and individuals to create generational wealth. It is our hope that with these recommendations, over time, we will see more people on the path to ownership and remaining stably housed within our City.”
From December 2020 to June 2021, the Task Force of 26 community leaders met weekly for more than 60 cumulative hours in over 30 meetings. With decades of lived experience and professional expertise, the Task Force developed recommendations using the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) Equitable Development Community Indicators Report as background; tapping into the ingenuity of the Innovation Advisory Council by working with a team of Microsoft data scientists to further disaggregate race-based data within the report; and by taking a comprehensive look at current City investments into BIPOC communities, with an eye towards developing programs to fill gaps within the system and strengthening programs with proven success.
Throughout April, and due to COVID-19 safety precautions, the task force facilitator, The Profitable NonProfit hosted a series of virtual stakeholder meetings inviting rank and file community members, peer organizations, business owners, and community-based organization leadership to ensure recommendations mirrored community needs and priorities.
Following the announcement of their recommendations, the Task Force began convening weekly with City departments to help inform on the creation of implementation strategies that can be quickly launched so that millions in investments will begin landing in the community by the end of 2021. Task Force members thought deeply about systemic barriers to BIPOC organizations in accessing City funds and worked with the City to define ways to lower barriers that have blocked communities of color in the Requests for Proposals (RFP) process. Some of the strategies include:
- Being intentional about who the investments were targeting by giving priority to organizations led by people of color, and serving communities furthest from equity.
- Providing language access to reduce language barriers for potential applicants.
- Including technical support for prospective applicants and continued support throughout the process.
- Launching a simplified low-barrier RFP specifically targeting small organizations.
After seven weeks of collaboration and discussion with the Task Force, eight departments developed implementation strategies based on Task Force recommendations, including the Department of Early Education and Learning; Department of Finance and Administrative Services; Department of Neighborhoods; Human Services Department; Office of Arts and Culture; Office of Economic Development; Office of Housing; and the Office of Sustainability and Environment.
The $30 million investment was allocated in the 2021 budget, however, the funding is currently under Council proviso, meaning that recommendations cannot be implemented and money disbursed to the community until the proviso is lifted. The Task Force will present their spend plan with 18 investment strategies to the Seattle City Council Finance and Housing Committee on Tuesday, July 20 at 9:30 a.m. and request that the legislation is passed on to the full Council to lift the proviso. With swift Council action, City departments expect to begin developing RFP’s in the coming weeks with a surge of investments landing in the community by the end of 2021.
Task Force members are in ongoing discussions with the City on continued engagement to ensure accountability and tracking of investment outcomes. Further, the City of Seattle recently launched a disparity study to identify and remove inequities in the City’s soliciting and procuring of contracts and awarding of public funds.
For more information on the Equitable Communities Initiative visit: seattle.gov/equitable-communities-initiative.
Building off the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI), Major Jenny A. Durkan announced today that Seattle’s Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) is seeking proposals for $30 million for land and property acquisition to respond to disproportionate displacement pressures impacting Black, Indigenous and people of color communities. Requests for Proposals are now open for organizations in high displacement risk neighborhoods, areas with low access to opportunity, and places where future public investments are likely to spur transformational change. In addition to ongoing funding provided by EDI and the Office of Housing, this investment is part of Mayor Durkan’s commitment for $100 million in funding allocated to support Black, Indigenous and people of color communities who face inordinate disparities due to systemic racism and oppression.
“During the pandemic, Seattle continued to be the fastest-growing major U.S. city and we must continue to respond to the displacement pressures that are impacting BIPOC communities,” said Mayor Durkan. “In the years ahead, major public investments like new light rail stations will transform several Seattle neighborhoods. The Strategic Investment Fund is a unique opportunity to support equitable development so that all communities can continue to call Seattle home. Investments of this type will take years to right the wrongs of the past. That’s why I’ve committed to making another $100 million investment as part of my proposed 2022 budget.”
The SIF was created to invest in community wealth building and capital projects that create opportunities for multiple community benefits. The fund will support site acquisition projects that could include: affordable housing, affordable commercial spaces, public open spaces, cultural spaces, and childcare facilities. The fund will consider proposals in areas with significant planned public investments, like light rail station areas and parks, where increased access to opportunities will likely increase displacement pressures.
“Discriminatory practices in public and private investment, disinvestment, and public policy have significantly impacted BIPOC communities, as well as Queer and Transgender BIPOC, people with disabilities, and low-income families,” said Rico Quirindongo, director of the Office of Planning and Community Development. “The Strategic Investment Fund will support site acquisition for major community-led projects in growing and changing neighborhoods.”
The primary objectives of the SIF are:
- Respond to immediate displacement pressures.
- Create long-term impact by strengthening community relationships and creating wealth in historically marginalized communities.
- Co-locate affordable housing with other community benefits, such as affordable commercial spaces, public open spaces, cultural spaces, and childcare facilities.
- Fill gaps in the existing development finance ecosystem.
The Strategic Investment Fund has $30 million available with a maximum of $5 million per award. Sites must be in neighborhoods with high displacement risk and near existing or planned transit and parks investments. Proposals are due July 14 at 11:59 PM.
Eligible Applicants include:
- Community groups at highest risk of displacement
- Commercial or residential tenants at risk of displacement
- Property owners in focus areas interested in discounting their land
- Developers or owners of affordable housing with vacancies in commercial spaces, who are interested in offering community ownership opportunities.
Many urgent and qualified investment opportunities exist in Seattle, and the SIF is unable to accommodate them all. The City of Seattle has created a Community Advisory Group (CAG) comprised of community representatives with diverse experience and expertise in affordable housing, community development, and equitable development to assist in the process of investing SIF funds. The CAG will review land acquisition and investment opportunities to create a list of Recommended Funding Opportunities. This list will inform the Strategic Investment Fund Spending Plan that will be presented to the Mayor and City Council for approval later this summer.
The Strategic Investment Fund is a City-wide effort the involves the Office of Planning and Community Development, Office of Housing, Office of Economic Development, Office of Arts and Culture, City Budget Office, Department of Neighborhoods, and Office of Civil Rights.
For more information, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/opcd/strategicinvestmentfund.
In January, Queer the Land (QTL) announced the purchase of a new home with the help of a $200,000 award from Seattle’s Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) to support their acquisition of the Emma Goldman Finishing School (EGFS) property. QTL’s proposal was accepted during the 2019 funding round into the EDI Fund as being a project consistent with EDI goals.
QTL is a queer, transgender and Two-Spirit Black/Indigenous/people of color community (QT2BIPOC) collective who will use the funds to build the capacity building resources they need to create an owned-and-operated cooperative. This project will provide affordable transitional and semi-permanent housing, co-working space, communal space, and a community garden. The property is in Seattle’s historically diverse Beacon Hill neighborhood.
“EDI is currently partnering with over 60 local Grantees including Queer the Land, advancing inclusive economic recovery to unlock the full potential of the local economy by dismantling barriers and expanding opportunities for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC),” says Ubax Gardheere, EDI Division Manager. “Through accountable public action and investments, we are collectively advancing racial equity outcomes that centers community ownership, wealth building and anti-displacement strategies. EDI Queer the land Project Manager Patrice Thomas has been working with Queer the land project sponsors through an EDI capacity building grant to increase their capacity for self-determination.”
“We are thrilled to collaborate in the process of transforming the Beacon Hill house into a space for Queer and BIPOC folx to thrive and call home,” says the cooperative’s first residents, a queer couple with a child who are familiar with cooperative living and house maintenance.
The EDI – housed under the City of Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) – addresses displacement and the unequal distribution of opportunities to sustain a diverse Seattle. The EDI fosters community leadership and supports organizations to promote equitable access to housing, jobs, education, parks, cultural expression, healthy food, and other community needs and amenities.
For more information, please visit OPCD’s EDI webpage: http://www.seattle.gov/opcd/ongoing-initiatives/equitable-development-initiative.
For more information about QTL: www.queertheland.org.
Funding will support the creation of a Resilience District focused on community and climate resilience
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has awarded the City of Seattle a $600,000 grant to work with community partners in the Duwamish Valley on a strategy that will improve health, increase community resilience, and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate. This work will specifically deliver on key actions identified in the City-community shared Duwamish Valley Action Plan that was released in 2018.
“This award is a remarkable testament to the excellent foundation of trust and creative solutions the City’s interdisciplinary Duwamish Valley Program and community partners have built over the past few years,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “We have seen that COVID-19 has magnified health and economic disparities, especially for communities of color. As we address the COVID-19 crisis and begin to recover, we must build a more equitable and resilient city. Through this collaboration, we can help advance a new model of how to address health, equity, and climate change for our residents and businesses.”
Funding from RWJF will support the City with developing a Resilience District—a geographic strategy, inspired by global models, focused on adapting to flood risk and other climate change impacts as a key first step towards adapting to a changing climate, while taking a comprehensive approach that fosters community resilience. Specifically, the award will fund detailed scenario planning for a sea level rise adaptation strategy, research of financial models and equitable investment mechanisms, capacity building and partnership development across government institutions and community stakeholders, extensive communication and inclusive engagement, and implementation of “proof of concept” projects. More importantly, the approach will center the participation and decision-making of Duwamish Valley residents and businesses, embed a racial equity approach in each aspect of the project, and identify sustainable funding sources and investment mechanisms that will help prevent the displacement of impacted communities and foster health and equity.
The project team reviewed successful models of community resilience and scenario planning from across the world. Specifically, the team drew inspiration and lessons from successful projects in Brazil, Puerto Rico, and New Zealand. These projects offer guidance and strategies for sustainable funding mechanisms, tools for equitable distribution of benefits, community and cross-sector collaboration in creating a special planning district, and participatory decision-making in scenario planning—notably in communities that are vulnerable to earthquakes and flooding.
“We join our partners in the City of Seattle to celebrate this great news,” said Paulina López, Executive Director of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition. “For many years, we have worked together to address health disparities and racial inequities in the Duwamish Valley, centering the voice of community in decision-making, planning, and implementation of projects and investments—on issues that directly impact us. The work of this grant will also offer opportunities for equitable investments that will improve health outcomes and advance anti-displacement strategies, flooding prevention, and adaptation to a changing climate. I am really grateful for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s award and commitment to greatly improve living conditions in our community and for their support to ensure this work becomes a model for others to replicate in Seattle, in the U.S., and around the world.”
The Office of Sustainability & Environment and the Office of Planning & Community Development lead Seattle’s Duwamish Valley Program, a multi-departmental effort to advance environmental justice and equitable development. The interdisciplinary team of 18 City departments is responsible for the ongoing implementation of the Duwamish Valley Action Plan, including the execution of this grant project. Seattle Public Utilities will also be taking on a leadership role in ensuring the success of the project.
“Since 2018, Seattle Public Utilities has been working with community partners to plan and design drainage and water management infrastructure to help alleviate stormwater-related flooding in South Park and Georgetown,” said Mami Hara, General Manager, Seattle Public Utilities. “However, as sea level rises, we will be challenged by overtopping of the Duwamish River, which will require additional mitigation. We are incredibly grateful for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s support because it will allow us to lead with addressing needs and aspirations of Black, Indigenous and People of Color in Seattle’s lowest lying lands to begin long-term planning to adapt to sea level rise and other projected impacts from a changing climate.”
“Advancing equitable development and environmental equity in South Park and Georgetown has been a priority for the City of Seattle for years,” said Sam Assefa, Director of the Office of Planning & Community Development. “The Foundation’s support will allow us to expand this work by coordinating with industrial stakeholders working on the Seattle’s Maritime & Industrial Strategy. We are looking forward to helping our residential and industrial stakeholders stay and thrive in place despite projected climate change impacts.”
This project is part of a $3 million initiative from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to bring the most impactful ideas from across the globe to U.S. cities to address the intertwined issues of health, equity, and climate change. Through six projects funded through this initiative, RWJF is fostering learning and stimulating action in U.S. cities around smart, effective approaches from abroad that mitigate the unequal health risks posed by climate change.