This Black History Month, we’re reminded that actual change is not done in siloes; instead, collective efforts move us forward.
Throughout Black History Month, Seattle Foundation has spotlighted leaders and organizations in our region who are #MakingBlackHistoryNow. Through this lens, we aimed to elevate the impact and importance of community. As a community foundation, we know that we cannot do this work alone; we’re thankful to the many partners and grantee organizations that continue to push us to do the work necessary to reach the full potential of our region.
Our Black History Month features began with a spotlight on the Black-led and -serving organizations we have the privilege of working with daily. From members of our Black-Led Organizations Cohort (“the BLOC”) to the numerous grantees that work to support the vast diaspora of Black communities in the Greater Seattle Region, we’re thankful for your partnership as we continue to build a community – together – where everyone can thrive.
Our continued efforts to learn from these organizations resulted in the Racially Equitable Philanthropy Aimed at Initiating Reparations, or the REPAIR framework. Established in 2021, REPAIR is our commitment to invest a minimum of $25 million in Black-led organizations in the Seattle region by 2026. Our internal tracking efforts reveal that the Foundation, and our partners, have invested $19.8 million in the Black community since launching the framework. This total includes grants, sponsorships, and business expenses with Black vendors. We’re pleased with this progress but understand that this is just one step of many to advance and support Black-led community leadership.
We look forward to continued conversations and the lessons that we will learn from our trusted partners as we journey on this path.
Leaders Who Inspire Us
The work of countless leaders in our region inspires us. These leaders, such as Antoinette Malveaux, Brian Surratt, Iyibo Jack and Leslie Byrd, and myriad others, represent many industries where Black excellence and leadership ignite a path forward. Below, you can read more about each person and the work that they’re doing to better our communities.
Antoinette Malveaux, Managing Director of Strategic Initiatives, Casey Family Programs
Antoinette Malveaux is the Managing Director of Strategic Engagement and Initiatives at Casey Family Programs, where her charge is to help change the national conversation around the important work of safely reducing the need for foster care in the United States.
The proud daughter of educators and social workers, Antoinette is a leader who emphasizes strengthening communities while keeping hope at the forefront. From building mayoral capacity across the nation to focus on reducing violence-related deaths of African American males, supporting the capabilities of tribes to prevent the suicides of Native American youth, to building multi-sector collaborations focused on strengthening the educational pipeline to improve academic outcomes for boys and men of color, she has led and continues to lead a diversity of initiatives to improve the safety and well-being outcomes for children, youth, and families.
Brian Surratt, President & CEO, Greater Seattle Partners
Brian Surratt is the president and CEO of Greater Seattle Partners (GSP), a public/private partnership that advances inclusive economic growth and competitiveness for the Puget Sound region. The GSP team focuses on attracting new investment and talent, promoting international trade, and growing existing industry clusters to create and sustain opportunity and prosperity for everyone in the Greater Seattle region.
Throughout his career, Brian has served an incredibly impactful and multifaceted role right here in the Pacific Northwest. Prior to working at GSP, he was the founding executive director of the Puget Sound office of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). In this role, he tackled issues that the region knows well, and partnered with Amazon to launch a housing equity program to support emerging housing developers of color. As the former director of the Office of Economic Development for the City of Seattle, he was the policy lead in Seattle’s historic efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and negotiated the agreement to build Climate Pledge Arena. He has also served as the vice president at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc., a real estate investment trust focused on building collaborative life science and technology campuses in the nation’s most dynamic innovation centers.
Brian’s passion for creating and innovating opportunities for all is not limited to Seattle proper. Through his work at GSP, Brian works on advancing prosperity for the entire Puget Sound area, recognizing that each part of the whole has strengths of their own. Brian’s longstanding presence in the Greater Seattle community is one that continues to address challenges head-on with meaningful solutions to make for a more equitable, robust region.
Iyibo Jack, co-founder, partner, and Director of Operations for Alpha Sharp Development Partners
Iyibo Jack and Leslie Byrd are the founders of Alpha Sharp Development Partners (ASDEV). ASDEV is a Black-owned real estate development firm that builds affordable housing in King and Pierce County. Through Iyibo and Leslie’s work, ASDEV has completed two multi-family projects in Tacoma, with several more on the way. Iyibo and Leslie handle all aspects of the development process, including designing, financing, building, and operating for ASDEV’s projects. Through their work, Leslie and Iyibo are creating positive community impact on the affordable, attainable housing landscape across the Puget Sound.
Iyibo is co-founder, partner, and Director of Operations for ASDEV. Iyibo grew up in Puyallup, attended the University of Washington, and has a history of touching the lives of folks in the Puget Sound. Alongside his work with ASDEV, Iyibo serves as a Principal & Senior Vice President of product development at Milliman MedInsight, an industry leader in healthcare analytics. In Iyibo’s numerous positions, his efforts are impacting lives in Seattle and beyond.
Leslie Byrd, founding partner, Alpha Sharp Development Partners
Leslie is a founding partner of ASDEV. Before co-founding ASDEV in 2019, Leslie worked as a project engineer at Boeing for twelve years focusing on aircraft interiors. In this role, Leslie’s work centered around solving intricate integration issues due to size constraints and complexity. Leslie brings this unique background and his University of Washington education into his service at ASDEV—service that is informed by the Puget Sound community and helps create solutions to meet its affordable, attainable housing needs.
We are honored to uplift Leslie and Iyibo’s important work to expand access to affordable, attainable housing across our region.
The Tubman Center for Health & Freedom
The Tubman Center for Health & Freedom is our spotlight for this week of #BlackHistoryMonth! The Tubman Center addresses health and wellness in both a systemic and clinical approach, inspired by namesake Harriet Tubman who both freed people from systems of oppression and provided medical care as a nurse in the Union army. As a community organization, the Tubman Center is united in its goal of achieving health justice and creating new standard-setting models of healthcare that support underserved communities.
The flagship clinic, slated to open in 2025, will be a groundbreaking health center that will serve as a state- and nation-wide model. From the beginning of the design process, the Tubman Center sought to hear community members’ and organizations’ input with the understanding that communities know their own health best. The team at the Tubman Center is committed to addressing the health and healing needs of the community, particularly those that are underserved by current physical and behavioral health services.
Recently, 20 Washington State legislators signed a letter advocating for state investment in the clinic. When built, the Tubman Center will be the state’s only Black community-owned and -led health services and workforce development center focused on the needs of marginalized people. This will be a historic and transformative opportunity for those who have experienced the greatest barriers to health. We look forward to seeing the clinic continue to come to life!
Our final highlight focuses on the Black-owned businesses within and surrounding the Greater Seattle Region. As we move further away from February, we hope this blog will serve as a resource for Black organizations and businesses we can support all year. Black History Month has a set start and end date; however, we know that the impact that our region’s Black leaders, organizations, and businesses are making will transcend the limitations of time. With this community-guided and informed leadership, we are joyful about our efforts to move forward together.