Seattle Foundation Blog

Creative Equity Fund Inaugural Grants

Seattle Foundation and partners infuse $200,000 into 14 organizations building racial justice through arts and culture


November 16, 2018

Seattle Foundation and its partners are fueling the power of arts and culture to dismantle racism through the new Creative Equity Fund, which is announcing a total of $200,000 in grants to 14 King County organizations.

The grants will provide either project-based or general operating support to nonprofits with a wide array of approaches to addressing structural racism through their programming. This includes nonprofits working in the areas of housing and homelessness, criminal justice, arts education, reproductive health, public policy and food security. All are using arts and culture strategies to create empathy, transcend divisions, inspire innovations and engage the community in collective change.

“This grant program is designed to harness the power of arts and culture to not only influence systems and policy change but also to fund organizations using creative solutions to counter the impacts of structural racism in their communities. The 14 organizations these grants support are igniting civil discourse, inspiring action and helping create a more just world for people of color in King County,” said Jonathan Cunningham, Program Officer at Seattle Foundation.

A cross sector group of community members, all people of color from the Greater Seattle region with arts and culture experience, co-designed the Creative Equity Fund and all of its facets with the support of funders. 

The 2018 Creative Equity Fund grantees are:

21 Progress
Arts Corps
Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas
Chief Seattle Club
Creative Justice
Hip Hop is Green
Indigenous Showcase
International Capoeira Angola Foundation (ICAF Seattle)
Northwest African American Museum
Northwest Tap Connection
Surge Reproductive Justice
Studio Lazo
Totem Star
Wing Luke Memorial Foundation


A few organizations’ plans for the grants include:

  • Totem Star will help fund its music-recording program, which empowers youth of color through music production and performance that in turn teaches life skills, leadership and civic engagement. The program provides critical arts access and entrepreneurship to youth from under-served communities.
  • Hip Hop is Green, which connects hip hop to the environment, will use its grant to increase connections for youth and families of color to healthy food, fitness, gardening and nature. The group produces cultural and educational events and programming that increases health and wellness in communities with less access to healthy food.
  • Surge Reproductive Justice will use the funds to support their open-mic nights, which lift up the experiences of black and brown women who are addressing the systemic barriers communities of color often face related to reproductive health care. Through this storytelling, Surge will strengthen its policy change initiatives aimed to improve reproductive health within communities of color.

The grantees were selected from 75 applicants, and were decided by an intergenerational panel of community members of color with professional experience in the arts and culture field. In an effort to lessen the power imbalances that often exist in philanthropy, funders did not have a vote.

The Creative Equity Fund is administered by Seattle Foundation and was developed initially through a collaboration with ArtsFund and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, with support from Macklemore. Additional leadership and financial support comes from The Boeing Company, Microsoft and the Nesholm Family Foundation.

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