Communities of Opportunity Invites Proposals for Black-led Systems and Policy Change

Proposals are requested for the 2021 grant year

Communities of Opportunity (COO) commits $725,000 to system- and policy-change projects led by and for Black communities in King County. Eligible partnerships of Black-led (including African descent and diaspora) organizations working on systems and policy change in Black communities may apply for funding through this Request for Proposal.

In June, 2020 King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Public Health released a declaration that Racism is a Public Health Crisis. The declaration states that King County has been complicit in maintaining and perpetuating structural racism, and must be a vital player in dismantling oppressive systems that are grounded in white supremacy. The declaration includes a commitment – that King County will drive resources toward where they are needed most as indicated by those in that community.

While racism is a public health crisis that impacts all people of color, it is also true that Black people in the United States have been uniquely impacted by racism. A result is significant disparities in health, housing and economic outcomes for Black residents. At the same time, philanthropic funding for Black-led organizations and communities is both insufficient and contributes to resource gaps. Despite this, joy, creativity, resilience and innovation persist in Black communities across King County. And, every day, advancements for justice, inclusion, greater equity and opportunity come from Black-led movements for change. It is grounded in these realities that Communities of Opportunity offers this Black-led systems and policy change funding opportunity.

Communities of Opportunity (COO) is a cross-sector, collaborative initiative founded by King County and Seattle Foundation in 2014 that supports community-led solutions that create greater health, social and economic and racial equity so that all people thrive and prosper. COO Systems and Policy Change grants support community-led and community-engaged organizations that are changing public policy, institutional practices or systems to increase community connections, economic opportunity, health and affordable housing.

The most recent application cycle closed on October 27, 2020. Stay tuned for any upcoming rounds of funding on our grant opportunities page.

COO funds community-based efforts to change policies, rules, systems or regulations in order to shift the conditions in housing, health, economic opportunity and community connections to reduce and eliminate inequity and advance anti-racism. Efforts can be targeted to a wide variety of institutions, including but not limited to: government, regulatory agencies, schools and post-secondary institutions, hospitals and health care delivery systems, and places of employment. Proposals should demonstrate deep community leadership in the identification of issues and development of solutions, as well as a knowledge of the practices, policies, rules, systems or regulations they seek to change.

Organizations must apply in partnerships of two or more working towards a common outcome. Applicants are eligible for up to $145,000 for work taking place in 2021. COO has a total of $725,000 to award. All grant resources must be spent down by Dec. 31, 2021.

Funding Requirements: Detailed terms of grant reporting will be finalized with selected grantees and reflected in final grant contracts, but will include at a minimum twice-yearly grant updates.

Seattle Foundation will host question and answer sessions for potential grantees at the grant mid-point and right before the close of the RFP. These sessions are an opportunity for folks who have questions about the grant program to drop in and ask questions to Communities of Opportunity staff about the grant opportunity and grant process. The Question and Answer sessions will not be recorded and will not be posted on the website. Please register using the Eventbrite link, registrants will receive the zoom login information the day prior to the Q&A.

Oct. 7: 11-12 p.m.
Register to attend here:

Oct. 23: 11-12 p.m.
Register to attend here:

Compilation of Questions and Answers from the Sept. 22 Informational Session may be downloaded here, and the webinar recording can be seen here.

Virtual Site Visits:
Applications will be reviewed by a review committee of Communities of Opportunity Staff and community volunteers, following the review process finalists will be invited to grant follow up meetings during the week of Dec. 1. These meetings are an opportunity for review committee members to ask any follow up questions to applicants and learn any additional information prior to making a final funding decision. Organizations will be informed of their invitation to participate in these virtual follow up meetings by Nov. 13. The virtual follow up meetings will be informal in nature, and will require minimal preparation by the participating organization.

View the entire Request for Proposal and accompanying documents

If you have questions, please contact Dionne Foster for additional information.