The Communities of Opportunity grants will help local organizations expand the work they’re already doing to improve the health, housing, and economic opportunities in places that have the greatest inequities in the region. Unlike the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to programs, this allows communities to take a leadership role and address the specific needs of neighborhoods.
King County Executive Dow Constantine and The Seattle Foundation announced more than $1.5 million in investments over the next three years to confront the increasing inequity in King County.
The three recipients are local community-based organizations that have demonstrated success in creating opportunities in places that have the greatest inequities in the region.
“These grants will help local organizations expand the great work they are already doing to improve health, housing, and economic opportunities in our region,” said Executive Constantine. “Our partnership with The Seattle Foundation will increase the positive impact of existing programs, coordinate the ongoing efforts, spur future investments from the public and private sector, and empower communities to take a leadership role.”
“This is the first major effort launched under our new Center for Community Partnerships, focused on leading collaborations and investments to end economic and racial inequities,” said Tony Mestres, president and CEO of The Seattle Foundation. “Communities of Opportunity—with the alignment of government, philanthropy and residents– embodies the ideals at the heart of the Center’s work.”
How it works
Unlike the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to services, these Communities of Opportunity grants identify the specific needs of local residents and allow grantees to work with the communities to co-design effective programs.
The three recipient places are SeaTac and Tukwila, through the nonprofit Global to Local; the Rainier Valley in Southeast Seattle through HomeSight; and the White Center/North Highline unincorporated area through the White Center Community Development Association.
Each organization will receive at least $150,000 each year for the next three to five years to implement their strategies to improve health, housing and economic opportunities. The total investment from The Seattle Foundation and King County will be more than $1.5 million. Communities of Opportunity also receives national funding and technical assistance from Living Cities.
The grants will allow the recipient organizations to expand their existing efforts that have already demonstrated positive results in communities that have the highest inequality health, housing and economic opportunity measures in King County.
Profiles of the three initial grant recipients
|SeaTac and Tukwila||Global to Local||Work is anchored around creating a Food Innovation Network to address disparities in health and economic opportunity through collective impact. Food innovation districts offer a geographic concentration of food-oriented businesses and services that local government supports with planning and economic development initiatives. Local residents are interested in food businesses such as catering, small scale food processing, baking, launching a food truck, and urban farming. The partnership is working on a shared kitchen and multi-purpose space for several community entrepreneurs.|
|Rainier Valley in SE Seattle||HomeSight||Smart planning, policy and investments in the community can mitigate the current difficulty in finding affordable housing and quality jobs for low-income people and families, who are disproportionately people of color. The COO grant will be used to catalyze investment in the Rainier Valley by furthering the work of four community-led coalitions (Multicultural Community Center, On Board Othello, South Communities Organizing for Racial/Regional Equity, and the Regional Equity Network), leveraging a Byrne Justice Grant to support youth development, creating a food innovation district to foster entrepreneurial innovation and health, and steering land use and transportation planning centered on equitable development.|
|White Center||White Center Community Development Association||Community-driven work to create a vibrant and healthy community, including a data system shared across partners, neighborhood plan, communications, fund development and administrative support. As the lead in the White Center Promise effort, the Community Development Association puts cross-systems efforts in place that support community priorities and drive institutional change.|
About the grants
An 11-member governance group—which included representatives from The Seattle Foundation, King County, PATH, Futurewise, Sound Cities Association, and others—created a panel that reviewed applications and conducted site visits
The review panel included community representatives from the Urban League, the Latino Community Development Fund and Solid Ground.
Communities of Opportunity used data collected by Public Health – Seattle & King County and the King County Department of Community and Human Services to identify areas that have the greatest inequity. In King County, where you live, how much you make, and the color of your skin are significant predictors of your life experience and your chances of living well and thriving. While average measures of quality of life, social, and health factors are among the highest in the country, these averages mask differences by place, race and income.
Significant portions of the County have been left behind as demographics have shifted. King County now has some of the greatest inequities among U.S. metropolitan areas. For example:
- Average life expectancy can be 10 years shorter in communities that are just a few miles apart.
- Average household income in one ZIP code can be $100,000 less than one nearby.
- Unemployment among African Americans is twice what it is for whites.
- Smoking rates can range from 5 percent in one community to 20 percent in another.
Communities of Opportunity is designed to maximize positive impact by working with a wide range of public and private partners to drive resources toward underinvested neighborhoods and coordinate and engage local residents to determine the specific needs and co-design solutions with communities.
- Overview of Communities of Opportunity
- INFOGRAPHIC: Building Equity and Opportunity in King County IMAGE
- Center for Community Partnerships
- NEWS: Report shows King County taking action to build social equity
These grants will help local organizations expand the great work they are already doing to improve health, housing, and economic opportunities in our region. Our partnership with The Seattle Foundation will increase the positive impact of existing programs, coordinate the ongoing efforts, spur future investments from the public and private sector, and empower communities to take a leadership role.
This is the first major effort launched under our new Center for Community Partnerships, focused on leading collaborations and investments to end economic and racial inequities. Communities of Opportunity—with the alignment of government, philanthropy and residents—embodies the ideals at the heart of the Center’s work.
I’m glad to join the Seattle Foundation in recognizing the Communities of Opportunity awardees. The White Center Community Development Association is doing great work to foster a more vibrant neighborhood, stronger families, and engaged community. As a result of their efforts, more people in South King County will have a better chance to achieve health, wellness, and prosperity.
With the Communities of Opportunities grant, South King County partners will work with Global to Local to create a Food Innovation District that creates local jobs and improves access to healthy food in our community.
We are delighted that the Rainier Valley is one of the first Communities of Opportunity sites and see great potential to link with the City’s various efforts to support economic opportunity and equity in Southeast Seattle.
This grant is a great opportunity for the City of Tukwila to continue our long standing partnership with Global2Local to improve opportunities for all Tukwila residents. The City is particularly excited about the tailored and innovative approach taken by this effort.
The City of SeaTac is extremely pleased that the strong foundation built by the Food Innovation Network will be solidified and advanced with the new support from Communities of Opportunity!
Here in King County, we are increasingly seeing a “suburbanization of poverty,” while many social services and resources are still centered in Seattle. Communities of Opportunity isn’t just about bringing new resources to the areas where they are most needed—it’s also about tapping into existing community assets, and strengthening the capacity of communities to proactively tackle these new challenges.
Communities of Opportunity helps us move from costly, crisis-driven systems to ones that invest in prevention and preclude poor outcomes from happening in the first place.
Communities know their issues and understand which solutions work best for them. It’s our hope that Communities of Opportunity will put the policies and systems in place to enable these solutions.
This new process of empowering local communities to identify their priorities which exist at the intersections of health, housing and economic opportunity will bring positive changes to places throughout King County that have struggled for much too long.
Communities of Opportunity takes a cross-sector approach to addressing health and social disparities in underserved communities in King County. The health care system is a strong partner in developing community-driven prevention strategies.
The Communities of Opportunity funding approach is a game changer. Communities have well-defined priorities and need the resources to act on them.
For more information, contact:
Mary Grace Roske, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-235-8518
Chad Lewis, email@example.com, 206-263-1250