Seattle Foundation Blog

Seattle Foundation Announces New Vibrant Democracy Initiative

The goal of the Vibrant Democracy Initiative is to strengthen the voice and participation of underrepresented communities to allow for more equitable systems change.


October 14, 2016

By Aaron Robertson, Senior Officer, Community Programs

Seattle Foundation created the Center for Community Partnerships to advance collaborative, systemic change to achieve greater economic and racial equity in the region. We are now launching the Vibrant Democracy Initiative with the goal of strengthening the voice and participation of underrepresented communities to allow for more equitable systems change. 

Research has shown that community change efforts are able to achieve and sustain more effective results when the community members directly affected are engaged. However, due to historic disinvestment in low income communities of color, many of the organizations serving these communities lack the infrastructure and capacity to engage and mobilize their community members to participate in community change efforts. The region’s ability to create a more equitable future, is dependent upon the availability and leadership of communities. Without sufficient capacity, representative and truly democratic processes will not be possible. The Vibrant Democracy Initiative has therefore been designed to increase participation and amplify the voice of communities of color and low-income communities by investing in leadership, mobilizing efforts and coalition building to increase the potential effectiveness efforts focused on equity.

The Vibrant Democracy Initiative was developed alongside our two other Center initiatives, Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) and Communities of Opportunity (COO) to bridge the grassroots capacity building of N2N and the place-based and policy change efforts of COO to create an integrated approach to community engaged systems change.

The Vibrant Democracy Initiative has three funding programs:

Engagement Pipeline – Investments in leadership development coupled with broader organizing strategies to strengthen the voice of communities through individual leadership and participation in community change and mobilization efforts.

Applications Materials
Engagement Pipeline Cover Sheet

Engagement Pipeline LOI

Deadline: LOI’s are due November 18th, 2016

Contact Aaron Robertson at 206-515-2135 or a.robertson@seattlefoundation.org for more information.

Partnership Mobilization – Flexible grants designed to foster new and unique partnerships in order to strengthen community influence.

Applications Materials
Partnership Mobilization RFP

Partnership Mobilization Cover Sheet

Partnership Mobilization Partnership Table

Deadline: Applications accepted on a rolling basis and will be reviewed quarterly. The deadline for each quarter is: December 2, 2016, February 24, May 19, and August 25, 2017.

Activating High-Barrier Communities (pilot grants currently underway) – A partnership with King County Elections aimed at increasing the civic participation of limited English speaking and other underrepresented populations.

Deadline: The next funding opportunity will be available in 2017.

Contact Aaron Robertson at 206-515-2135 or a.robertson@seattlefoundation.org for more information.

Information sessions to learn more about the current funding opportunities will be held at:

2100 Building (2100 24th Ave S. Seattle, WA 98144)

Monday, October 24, 2016
3:00-4:30

Tukwila Community Center (12424 42nd Ave S, Tukwila, WA 98168)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
2:00-3:30

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social equalityBasic Needseconomic opportunityhealthy community frameworkphilanthropistseducationChildren and youthcommunities of opportunity

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