Seattle Foundation Blog

An Update for Our Community

We look beyond this moment with a re-commitment to strengthen relationships and build bridges across our community – while centering racial equity.


October 31, 2020

As we look to the week ahead and the culmination of key electoral processes, we also look beyond this moment with a re-commitment to strengthen relationships and build bridges across differences in our community—while centering racial equity. At Seattle Foundation, we believe we all have a stake, no matter the party or side, in supporting a healthy democracy and thriving region in which we can all participate.

Many partners across sectors agree that our region cannot go back to a pre-pandemic normal. The way forward is to collectively build new and better ways of ensuring well-being in our region. But how will we do this? We can make progress on health, housing, education, and other core needs for well-being (see the Civic Commons Scorecard for Shared Prosperity). We can target investments, both public and private, to accelerate recovery—while centering communities who have been historically excluded from decision making tables.

We’ve heard from and have been speaking with many community members who urged Seattle Foundation to lean into our civic leadership role, beyond crisis response efforts. On October 28 we reported on our work to stand up the COVID-19 Response Fund in this blog post entitled “Equity at the Center of Disaster Response.” We also previewed upcoming phases of support for our region’s recovery and reinvention. Based on our initial analysis of just this one grants program: in the last seven months, we have deployed more than $6 million in grants to Black- and Indigenous-led organizations. We still have three additional grant cycles that are in process of making final decisions—all of which have a specific focus on supporting Black-led groups and movements—so we anticipate that the investments in these communities will be even higher by yearend. Once these grants are finalized in Q1 2021, we will conduct a more complete review of all grantmaking that was directed to Black, Indigenous, and people of color-led (BIPOC) groups, coalitions, and movements.

We are grateful for the generous contributions of time, funds, and service by philanthropists and community partners during this ongoing period of tremendous challenges, especially in assisting families and workers most impacted. Working together, we’ve accomplished more than any of us could do alone. That said, we feel an imperative to do more and better, particularly in relation to systemic racial equity.

While we continue ongoing funding initiatives, we are also re-evaluating our grant policies and have initiated an anti-discrimination grants policy review process. As part of this process Seattle Foundation is convening a Stakeholder Advisory Committee to review and refine options for revising our grant policies. Seattle Foundation is proud to have relationships with many diverse stakeholders including grantees, other funders, community partners, and philanthropists, who will be represented on the committee or asked to provide input. 

The advisory committee will examine approaches, explore potential innovations, and make recommendations to our Board of Trustees regarding ways of advancing equity through improved policies and procedures. We have also engaged an outside consultant, Angela Powell, Imago LLC, to assist us in the grant policy review process as a thought partner, facilitator, and in support of bridging among diverse community voices.

To learn more about our journey to reimagine community philanthropy to meet the challenges of our era, please see our 2019 Impact Report. If you have any questions about this policy review process, please contact our team.

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