Seattle Foundation Blog

Element Notes -- August 25

In this news roundup, drug deaths reach record highs in King County, Yemen faces “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis” and Seattle grapples with the hate that came out in Charlottesville

August 25, 2017

Deep community knowledge is a key benefit of working with Seattle Foundation. Our team has extensive knowledge about community issues and trends, as well as an expansive network of relationships with nonprofit organizations working locally, nationally and globally. We track key developments in each element of our Healthy Community Framework:  Arts & Culture, Basic Needs, Economy, Education, Environment, Health & Wellness, Vibrant Communities and Global Giving. Every other week, we compile Element Notes to share the latest developments affecting efforts to make Greater Seattle a stronger, more vibrant community for all.

Basic Needs

Seattle Could be First in the Nation to Stop Rental Criminal History Discrimination

The City Council has passed the Fair Chance Housing Legislation, making Seattle the first city in the nation to prevent landlords from denying applicants based on their criminal background. One in three Americans are estimated to have a criminal record.

Rapid Rehousing Didn’t Work Out. Now Lisa Sawyer May Face Eviction.

Rapid rehousing (providing case management and short-term housing vouchers to get people experiencing homelessness into market-rate housing) is a central approach in Seattle’s Pathways Home plan. However, Real Change vendor and homelessness advocate Lisa Sawyer’s experience exemplifies how this approach can fail, leaving people back on the street with an eviction on their record.

Can the Ethiopian Community Hang on in Seattle?

Ethiopian community members are attempting to fight displacement in the Rainier Beach area with a housing project for seniors and other low-income residents at the Ethiopian Community Center. But despite political support, funding has been hard to come by.


Even With Affirmative Action, Blacks and Hispanics Are More Underrepresented at Top Colleges Than 35 Years Ago

A New York Times analysis finds that even with affirmative action programs, there are fewer Black and Hispanic students at top colleges than there were 35 years ago. Experts warn that many of the educational and equity disparities begin far before college admissions.

Why the Myth of Meritocracy Hurts Kids of Color

A new study finds that marginalized youth who grew up believing in the American ideal that hard work and perseverance lead to success show a decline in self-esteem and an increase in risky behavior during middle school. Researchers tie this to a disconnect between that ideal and their own experiences with unfairness.


A Fishy Excuse? Tribes Say Eclipse Didn’t Cause Atlantic Salmon Escape

Local tribes question the attribution of the recent escape of thousands of Atlantic salmon from a net-pen fish farm to solar eclipse-related tides. Many have concerns about the safety of these enclosures, especially as the release of Atlantic salmon could negatively impact already endangered native salmon populations.


‘It’s a Slow Death’: The World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis

The United Nations has called the situation in Yemen the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with more than 10 million people who require assistance following two and a half years of violence. The United States is a major donor to the relief efforts, but also a primary supplier of arms to the conflict.

UN Official Sees Genocide Threat in Central African Republic

U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien said he sees ‘the early warnings of genocide’ in Central African Republic, one of the world’s most impoverished nations. The country has been wracked by violence since predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels overthrew the Christian president in 2013.

Health and Wellness

Drug-Use Deaths Hit Record in King County

The opioid epidemic is hitting King County hard, with drug deaths last year reaching an all-time high of 332. Two-thirds of these deaths were opioid-related overdoses. Another study testing wastewater found that Seattle now has the highest detected levels of residual marijuana components in the world.

Vibrant Communities

Advocates Want to Take Down Seattle's Own Confederate Memorial

As a national movement builds around removing Confederate monuments, activists petition to remove Seattle’s memorial in Lake View Cemetery on Capitol Hill. Others have questioned the Lenin statue in Fremont.

Trump supporters confronted by counter-protesters during Seattle rally; 3 arrested

Following the violence by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Seattle protestors confronted a pre-scheduled march by right-wing group Patriot Prayer in Westlake.

Seattle’s Filipino community questions deletion of historic “Manilatown”

Filipino community members are questioning the recent rezoning regulation for the International District, which removes a reference to Manilatown.


Audacious Philanthropy

In the Harvard Business Review, Bridgespan shares its analysis of 15 successful “shoot for the moon” social change movements and the 5 key components of the philanthropy that supported them:

1)  Build a shared understanding of the problem and its ecosystem

2) Set “winnable milestones” and hone a compelling message

3) Design approaches that will work at massive scale

4) Drive (rather than assume) demand

5) Embrace course corrections

Investing in Collaborative Systems Change in Turbulent Times

The recent national Collective Impact Convening shared findings on how funders can achieve collective impact in increasingly challenging environments. Recommendations include investing in multi-year grants, putting equity at the center, using stories to build trust in a community and leveraging non-financial capital. “Collective Impact” is a structured approach, utilized in many Seattle Foundation initiatives, that is designed to create collaboration between government, business, philanthropy, nonprofit organizations and citizens to achieve significant and lasting social change.

Learn more about our Elements of a Healthy Community and connect with a philanthropic advisor to amplify your community impact.



For Philanthropists


healthy community frameworkBasic NeedseducationEnvironmentHealth and Wellnessaffordable housingHomelessnessRacial equityAmerican Indians and Alaska NativesGlobal GivingAsian Americans and Pacific Islandersphilanthropistssocial equalityElement Notes news roundup

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