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Announcing the Fund for Inclusive Recovery’s First Grantees

By Kris Hermanns

Today, Seattle Foundation and our partners are elated to announce the first round of funding for the Fund for Inclusive Recovery. Twenty-one organizations led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals – those with intimate knowledge of the obstacles their communities face –will receive a total of $12.6 million. The grants will support Community Power and Base Building approaches that create the necessary foundation for meaningful systems and policy change. This is the first of several moments where we hope to invest in the work of organizations deeply rooted in community-led change through the Fund. 

The Fund for Inclusive Recovery drives investments to BIPOC-led and -rooted organizations, coalitions, and movements. As we work to build back our region from the COVID-19 pandemic, centering BIPOC communities ensures solutions go beyond pandemic recovery and contribute to a future that is healthy, thriving, and prosperous for all. The Fund’s resources will sustain and expand the capacity and infrastructure groups need to further organize, grow community leadership, and engage policymakers.

The Fund for Inclusive Recovery builds on the work of the COVID-19 Response Fund, which was hosted by Seattle Foundation. We saw the early impact of COVID-19 on our grantees and the BIPOC communities they serve, many of whom were hit hardest by the pandemic, historically affected by racism, and deprived of economic generational wealth-building. 

Through the COVID-19 Response Fund, we saw the power of community and philanthropy coming together in unprecedented ways. We know that donors and funders can maximize their impact and work at a greater scale by pooling funds with others. Now, we aim to change the systems that created and intensified these racialized disparities in the first place.

The Fund for Inclusive Recovery exemplifies the power of philanthropy when it is flexible, responsive, and built on trusting relationships with community organizations. We’ve spent countless hours co-designing the Fund with a Community Advisory Group. The Group is comprised of local BIPOC leaders who come from the communities most impacted by racism and economic inequities. They have guided our efforts and led decision-making for these investments. 

As the Fund continues to make grants over the next few years, the Community Advisory Group will advise on the best ways to invest philanthropic dollars. We’re grateful that they hold us accountable as we work to lower traditional barriers between grantees and funders.

Thanks to the Group’s insights, our application process was intentionally streamlined and created space for conversation with those that were invited to submit a full proposal. We prioritized the depth and potential of the work of these organizations – selecting grantees based on their approach, experience, community leadership, and trusting relationships. With this diverse group of grantees, we sought a balance of approaches, issues areas, geographies, and populations served. Additionally, we included a $2,000 honorarium to all finalists as a way of acknowledging the time, energy, and resources spent applying to the Fund. 

Throughout these efforts, our ambition has remained unchanged: we aim to do philanthropy differently. 

Doing philanthropy differently means shifting power and resources. It means taking what we learned during the pandemic and shifting our practices not just during a crisis, but permanently. It means trusting people with lived experiences to drive solutions that will address the greatest needs within our communities. For this reason, grants provided from the Fund for Inclusive Recovery are multi-year, flexible, and can be used in any way organizations see fit to advance their efforts to further build community power. We trust organizations to focus on areas of greatest importance and relevance to their communities. As Seattle Foundation continues to evolve to be further accountable to community, we urge other philanthropic entities, locally and across the country, to reflect on their grantmaking practices and commit to implementing similar community-led processes as well.

Last year, we unveiled the Blueprint for Impact, Seattle Foundation’s guiding framework to advance racial equity, shared prosperity, and belonging in our region. The Fund maps directly to this Blueprint, providing a critical path as we work toward long-term, systemic change. 

This is just the beginning. From the onset, the Fund for Inclusive Recovery was designed to span a five-year period, with the goal of raising $50 million. We believe we can get there. Thanks to contributions from funders like The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Butler Community Foundation, Deloitte LLP, Delta Dental of Washington, The Peach Foundation, The Raikes Foundation, The Seattle Mariners, The Seattle Seahawks, The Sunderland Foundation, Umpqua Bank — as well as hundreds of individuals donors — we have raised over $13 million. Today is just the start. We are committed to raising the additional $37 million required to support highly effective community organizations and leaders who are remaking our broken systems and transforming our region in newly imagined ways.  

Together, we have the potential to create lasting and meaningful change. 

The full descriptions of grantees are below: 

Alphabet Alliance of Color: Alphabet Alliance of Color is working to build a base of Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (QTBIPOC) folks through an alliance of individuals and organizations to challenge the systemic issues QTBIPOC communities face. Funding will support the organization’s infrastructure and expand the reach of their leadership development and policy training activities.

Equitable Recovery and Reconciliation Alliance (ERRA): ERRA is a collective of BIPOC leaders and organizations focused on including the voices of communities of color in our region’s post-COVID recovery and prosperity. ERRA seeks to create a permanent BIPOC-led policy institute to gather data, interpret, and analyze the impacts of existing policies, present innovative solutions, and influence future public decision making.  

Casa Latina: Casa Latina supports the power and well-being of Latinx immigrants, providing critical connections for domestic workers and day laborers through employment resources, organizing, and advocacy. Grant funding will support expanding programming in South King County and advancing policy priorities for Latinx immigrants.

CHOOSE 180: Using restorative justice practices, CHOOSE 180 seeks to transform systems of injustice, while mentoring young people impacted by these systems. Grant funding will support expansion of their Youth and Young Adult Advocacy Program, advancing youth-led systems change.

Collective Justice: Brought together by a diverse group of survivors and imprisoned community members in Washington State, Collective Justice is a restorative justice organization that works to address violence and harm in ways that move us closer to wellness, accountability, and collective liberation. Over the next three years, Collective Justice seeks to build out their Heal to Action survivor organizing academy supporting individuals taking action to heal harm and create conditions for safety.

Community Health Board Coalition: The Community Health Board Coalition works to advocate for equitable policies and systems through collaboration, building leadership and trust, and serving as conduits for Black, Indigenous and communities of color. Resources will help grow and sustain the coalition’s organizing and research capacities as well as the coalition’s collective policy work.

Families of Color Seattle (FOCS): Families of Color Seattle is building a strong community by supporting 5,000+ families, caregivers, and children of color in the Seattle area through peer-led groups; spaces to share culture, skills, and resources; and racial justice education and advocacy. Funding will support the expansion of their organizing efforts and advocacy strategy aimed at mobilizing parent advocates around reproductive justice, health equity, cultural and language identity and preservation, anti-racist education/learning, and police accountability. 

Partnership between Indian American Community Services, Eastside for All, and Muslim Community Network Association: This partnership between three Black, Indigenous, People of Color organizations advances a community-centered approach to organizing and base-building aimed at preserving and expanding affordable housing in East King County. The grant will support culturally specific approaches to leadership development, community organizing and engagement with policy makers within Black African-American, Black African Immigrants, Latinx, South Asian, and multiracial/multinational Muslim communities.

Native Action Network (NAN): For more than twenty years, NAN has mobilized generations of Native leaders dedicated to serving their communities. By uplifting Native women’s legacies and positive impacts of Native-led initiatives, they affirm Native identities and futures, while advancing justice through community organizing. Over the next three years, NAN seeks to gain deeper insights through community driven research on what matters most to Native people in King County and beyond to inform leadership development and community mobilization programming.

OneAmerica: As a critical immigrant and refugee advocacy organization in Washington, OneAmerica seeks to develop a permanent unemployment assistance program for immigrant workers regardless of immigration status. Funding will support OneAmerica’s Power Building Institute, organizing capacity and communications support as necessary pieces to advancing policy change.

Open Doors for Multicultural Families: Open Doors for Multicultural Families serves individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds by providing case management and programming as well as advocating for systems change. Grant dollars will strengthen the self-advocacy program for multicultural individuals with disabilities by facilitating community connections and cultivating leadership and advocacy skills.

Pacific Islander Community Association of Washington (PICA-WA): PICA-WA serves as a cultural home that centers community power and advocates to further the wellness of Pasifika communities (Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders) throughout Washington state. Building on the social services the organization provides, grant resources will support data equity efforts, cultural weavers, and multigenerational leadership development programming to bolster community led advocacy efforts.

Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC): RBAC is a grassroots, Black-led organization devoted to locally driven development. For over ten years, it has promoted quality education, living wage jobs, affordable transportation and housing, and building community capacity in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood. Grant funding will support the development of a Food Policy Council to represent BIPOC communities informing food access, justice, and security related policy.

Skyway Coalition: Formed in 2020, Skway Coalition uses an anti-racist lens to address the historic lack of investment, inequitable policies and systems that have directly impacted this urban unincorporated King County community. Grant resources will support the coalition’s development of a leadership and learning cohort, community focus groups, and trainings to support community-driven advocacy and equitable development.

South East Seattle Education Coalition (SESEC): SESEC is a coalition of community-based organizations schools, educators, community leaders, parents and caregivers, and concerned residents working to improve education for all children, especially those in Southeast Seattle and those farthest away from educational justice. Funding will support SESEC’s advocacy programming and its work with students, parents and caregivers to affect educational policy, programs, resources and equitable decision-making.

Surge Reproductive Justice: Surge Reproductive Justice’s work centers Black women, women of color, and Queer and Trans people of color in advocating for reproductive justice. Surge is working alongside a network of QTBIPOC organizations to advance priorities grounded in community. Grant funding will support Surge’s leadership ladder, engaging communities most impacted by racism in self determined advocacy work.

United Indians of All Tribes Foundation (UIATF): UIATF provides educational, cultural, and social services that reconnect Indigenous peoples in the Puget Sound region to their heritage by strengthening their sense of belonging. Funding will support UIATF in a new partnership with Sound Alliance, expanding their capacity to support client families in advocacy work related to early childhood and K-12 education, as well as the engagement of non-Indigenous people in understanding the impacts of colonization.

U.T.O.P.I.A. WA: UTOPIA WA is a Queer and Trans people of color led, grassroots organization born out of the struggles, challenges, strengths and resilience of the Queer and Trans Pacific Islander community in South King County. Grant funding will support UTOPIA’s efforts to improve the rights, safety, and liberation of sex workers.

Voices of Tomorrow (VOT): VOT’s mission is to preserve immigrant and refugee children’s identity through culturally responsive child-focused programs. Grant funding will support VOT’s emerging policy and advocacy program, which will elevate awareness of structural inequities in the early learning system, facilitate relationships between state leaders and marginalized communities and increase civic participation in the public policy process. The long-term impact of this work will be the reduction of education disparities for East African immigrant and refugee communities.

West African Community Council (WACC): WACC provides a variety of early education and child development services, immigration legal support, and other critical resources culturally tailored to the needs of West African refugee and immigrant families living in the greater Seattle area. WACC will use this funding to further develop and solidify a strong community organizing base by and for West Africans in King County around housing, economic, and migrant justice.   

White Center Community Development Association (WCCDA): For 20 years, WCCDA has been working to raise resident voices to build a vibrant, multi-ethnic, and proud White Center community. Grant funding will support the expansion of current efforts to elevate community needs in policy influence and development, while building on their work in housing, economic justice, family wellbeing and community stability. 

The Fund for Inclusive Recovery is managed by Seattle Foundation and partners. For investment information and general inquiries, contact Kris Hermanns, Chief Impact Officer, Seattle Foundation.