Equity and Social Justice
OESJ COVID7 Supplemental Budget
King County continues to hear from Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color communities (BIPOC) on the need for the county to engage more in meaningful power-sharing, accountability, and co-creation of systemic changes that result in equitable outcomes for BIPOC communities, and holding institutions, including the county, accountable to those changes.
We recognize the need and urgency for more direct investments for BIPOC communities to improve economic opportunity and wellbeing. The King County Council passed Executive Constantine’s COVID-7 emergency supplemental budget in May 2021, which included many community funding opportunities. The processes described below are reflective of community feedback for us to be more bold, creative, and to respond with greater urgency and clarity to address the intersecting crises of racism and COVID-19.
Racism Is A Public Health Crisis - $25 Million Economic Justice Fund
In 2022, the Racism Is A Public Health Crisis Initiative will embark on a community-led process, called the Gathering Collaborative, to equitably allocate $25 million to start to undo the harms of racism compounded by the pandemic, influence the county's 2023-24 budget cycle to prioritize and reflect anti-racism and pro-equity investments, and form a multi-generational vision for King County to become an anti-racist government. Visit the Racism Is A Public Health Crisis Initiative website for more information.
Information on the additional OESJ COVID-7 Funding for Direct Investments in Communities
The Office of Equity and Social Justice (OESJ) is working closely with the Budget Office to launch multiple funding and contracting opportunities available to community. These direct investments are funded through federal dollars, or the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CLFR), a part of the American Rescue Plan.
Our goal to align grantmaking with communities’ priorities for an equitable recovery and strategically position these resources to meet the urgent needs of our communities resulted in the following grants/contracts:
Digital Equity Grants: King County is providing $2 million in grants to organizations that promote digital equity and provide services to communities that face barriers to accessing digital services such as tech devices, internet connection and digital literacy, and have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the 29 local groups, agencies and organizations that received grant funding.
Coalition Against Hate and Bias: King County is providing $1.5 million in grants to current and new members of the Coalition Against Hate and Bias. In response to the dramatic rise in anti-Asian bias and hate incidents, exacerbated by COVID-19, King County convened the Coalition Against Hate and Bias as a community-led initiative. The Coalition’s goal is to collect reliable data and promote community-based safety outside of law enforcement agencies, thereby strengthening and connecting communities who experience racist and bigoted treatment and all forms of oppression. The intent of this funding is to increase the Coalition’s opportunity to expand the idea that targeted outreach based on community relationships is much more effective than traditional law enforcement or anonymous reporting. To learn more about the Coalition’s work, visit their website.
Strategic Communications Campaign: King County allocated $1.75 million to equitably increase awareness of and access to its Revive and Thrive programs, grants, contracts, and support services available. The program will contract with community-based media outlets and organizations to conceptualize, plan and implement a mix-media campaign intended to reach communities most impacted by COVID-19 and racism. The program will also create a feedback loop between King County and residents so the county can better understand how its COVID-19 Relief spending efforts are impacting the lives of communities, families and individuals. Grant awardees will be published on the Strategic Communications Campaign website once contracts are finalized.
Technical Assistance and Capacity Building: Since our grantmaking dollars are from CLFR, they come with numerous federal compliance requirements. We want to minimize the potential impacts of those requirements on applicants and be able to effectively support them through the grantmaking process. Technical assistance and capacity-building resources are available to nonprofits and community-based organizations awarded federal COVID-19 grants and contracts or that will be applying for federal COVID-19 funding. Learn more about our Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Program.
Applications Open to Serve on the Immigrant and Refugee Commission
The Office of Equity and Social Justice and King County Council are currently recruiting for six vacant positions on the King County Immigrant and Refugee Commission.
Commissioners from across King County work together to identify, elevate and develop shared strategies and solutions; streamline and strengthen efforts; and bring more resources to the most pressing issues affecting immigrant and refugee communities. It’s important that applicants:
- Are immersed in one or more immigrant/refugee communities and represent immigrant-led and/or faith-based organizations, when possible;
- Have had personal experiences as immigrants, refugees or asylees;
- Reflect the racial, ethnic, professional, socioeconomic, gender, sexual orientation, age, and geographic diversity of King County communities;
- Are well-versed on the issues affecting immigrant and refugee communities locally as well as nationally.
While we’re conducting broad outreach, we want to ensure equal representation across membership and hope to recruit community members who live or work in the 1st, 2nd, 7th, and 8th King County Council districts. We’re also hoping to fill up to two organizational representative seats. Members who serve on the commission as an organizational representative must be nominated by a nonprofit organization that serves one or more immigrant and refugee communities in King County.
Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Services Available for Nonprofits
King County and our partners can provide technical assistance and capacity building to community-based organizations and nonprofits receiving federal COVID-19 funding. King County has allocated millions of dollars in grants and contracts through its federal COVID funding and continues to do so. Not every community-based organization that is eligible for these grants has the infrastructure to successfully apply for funding, or the experience and capacity to manage these funds and comply with reporting requirements. King County and the Office of Equity and Social Justice are committed to investing in capacity building and infrastructure for community-based organizations awarded these federal COVID-19 grants and contracts.
King County is investing in community engagement and co-creation
King County’s Office of Equity and Social Justice is investing in enhancing the County's approach to partnerships with communities. We value improving trust, and want to ensure fair and accessible community-led engagement. Learn more about the County's strategies in co-creation, including compensation for community members who serve on advisory groups, cultural liaisons, and our new Community Engagers Team.
King County awards $2 million in digital equity grants to local groups, agencies, and organizations serving communities most impacted by COVID-19
King County’s Office of Equity and Social Justice awarded $2 million in grants to 29 local groups, agencies, and organizations that aim to increase digital equity and literacy in communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help King County residents and families attain improved education, health and wellbeing, and economic outcomes, this grant program provides direct support to community partners promoting digital access, broadband adoption, literacy, and inclusion. The award recipients will increase digital equity and literacy through various ways, including but not limited to, classroom instruction and skills-based workshops, navigation services, technical support, subsidized or pre-paid service plans, and loan-to-own device programs. These grants funded by federal dollars will provide linguistically and culturally appropriate services in communities that face barriers accessing digital services. Learn more about the grant recipients.
King County is Leading with Racial Justice
King County is prioritizing racial justice as part of our government work overall and implementation of our Equity and Social Justice (ESJ) Strategic Plan. We are intentionally leading with racial justice to confront the historical and racial inequities that continue to exist in our community and our organization. These racial inequities affect all of us and our ability to live well and thrive. Learn more about our commitment to racial justice.