Seattle Foundation Blog

N2N Spotlight Winter 2022: Inside White Center and the UpNUp

Our words, our way: A look at two community-based podcasts recently funded by N2N.

April 05, 2022

By: Aileen Balahadia, N2N Program Consultant and Elaine Chu, Senior Philanthropic Officer

Representation matters. In the mainstream media, we do not see accurate representation of the faces, languages, viewpoints, and lived experiences of diverse communities of color. Negative stereotypes, unbalanced reporting, and competing interests contribute to narratives that can often hurt whole neighborhoods and the people that call them home.

This is not a new phenomenon, but communities are increasingly taking control of their own narratives. We’re excited to see an increase in community-driven journalism and accessible storytelling told from the perspective of those closest to the ground. This winter, N2N funded two such groups. The Inside White Center and UpNUp podcasts both focus on uplifting the unique stories of their respective communities.

“Representation is half the battle, sometimes.” We heard this from Robel Andmicael, Co-Founder of the UpNUp, who began the media organization back in 2018 with Co-Founder Ermias Haile. Once they had the platform developed, they decided that UpNUp would focus on community stories of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) that inspire, uplift, and build the next generation of community visionaries.

Robel and Ermias know listeners are inspired by community members sharing stories of overcoming adversity, systemic racism, and other barriers to find success in their respective fields. “We produce timeless content,” Robel explains, “And it’s always about cultivating culture through an individual’s story or journey. We talked with Nyema Clark from Nurturing Roots on our show. How many people know Black urban farmers? We’ve had a small business owner and we’ve heard from mental health therapists. We want our listeners to be inspired by people in different fields.”

Podcast hosts Lisa Nguyen and Frank Johnson pictured with Burien City Councilmember and White Center raised Hugo Garcia (far left). Similarly, young folks who grew up in the White Center neighborhood wanted to fill a representation gap by highlighting genuine stories of grit, culture, and activism. In unincorporated King County, the community battles decades-long negative stereotypes. Podcast host Lisa Nguyen shared, “The Inside White Center podcast proves that we take care of ourselves and our community. Just listen to our stories.”

Through podcasting, Inside White Center has a unique ability to tell stories, preserve history, and involve youth. The latter is especially important as youth continue to lean into — and learn from — their family legacy and community history through this oral medium.

Centering the stories of those most impacted by systemic inequities makes these podcasts special. And inspiring listeners to find purpose, make connections, and get involved is core to both podcasts’ visions. N2N is proud to support such important, community-driven narrative change efforts.

Learn more about Inside White Center here. And learn more about UpNUp here. Both podcasts can be streamed on Spotify or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.


The full list of N2N Winter 2022 grantees are:

  1. African Community Alliance**: To support the Alliance’s growth and structure. A coalition of 16+ community organizations largely anchored in South King County, Alliance members are united to empower and serve their cultural communities, while understanding the power of a larger African collective.
  2. Global Wisdom Collective**: To pilot an intergenerational knowledge-sharing program in partnership with the Khmer Community of Seattle King County and others looking to document their elders and traditional ecological wisdom of their communities.
  3. Griot Girlz*:  To curate a series of intergenerational gatherings of South Seattle Black Womxn and Gxrlz incorporating ritual poetic drama within the African continuum. Griot Girlz aims to foster relationships, cultural connection, and empower the collective with the power of storytelling towards liberation.
  4. Haida Roots:  To support online Haida language classes and usage of the newly created Haida home immersion curriculum for Seattle area Alaskan Native families. Haida Roots protects indigenous language from extinction, promotes healing, and strengthens community bonds.
  5. Inside White Center**: To support skills building and further develop the Inside White Center podcast, a storytelling and media effort driven by communities of color. The podcast seeks to celebrate community successes, inspire listeners as they hear about great work happening in White Center, and empower people with information so they can be part of moving the community continually forward.
  6. People of the Confluence*: To support indigenous youth in South Seattle and White Center with Planting Roots and 13 Moons of Medicine teachings. People of the Confluence works to instill cultural competency, a spirit of potlatch, and the skills necessary to understand the culturally, scientifically, and legally effective ways to protect our water, air, earth, and spirit.
  7. Pro Se Potential**:  To engage BIPOC youth from Kent and surrounding areas with social-emotional learning circles and team-building activities to create connections and build community.
  8. Red De Apoyo Comunitario (REDACO)*: To expand the existing Burien community network by establishing and growing membership of a White Center group led by those impacted by racism in the immigration and detention system. REDACO is facilitating "Know Your Rights" trainings for immigrant and undocumented people and developing outreach and communication plans to advocate for more just policies.
  9. Rooted Reentry*:  To support formerly incarcerated Black, Indigenous, and people of color, and their loved ones, largely in South Seattle and surrounding areas. Rooted Reentry offers community-centered reentry, peer support, and leadership development so formerly incarcerated folks can remain in the community.
  10. The UpNUp*:  To support a multimedia podcast centered around cultivating Black and communities of color culture through storytelling and representation, inspiring and empowering listeners in the greater South Seattle towards community engagement and breaking down systemic barriers.
  11. WA State Coalition of African Community Leaders:  To support a partnership with the Rainier Valley Leadership Academy to offer a new Afro Cultural Stamp program targeting Black/African youth to empower, teach culture and history, and deepen relationships between African born and African American communities.

*First time grantee of N2N
 **First grant the organization has ever received

For more information about Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N), please contact Program Consultant Aileen Balahadia at 206-250-4299 or The quarterly deadlines for N2N are January 30, April 30, July 30, and October 30.  



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