Due to rapid growth and changing demographics, communities across East King County have faced new challenges over the last 15 years and disparities are only growing. Kirkland, Wash., was unfortunately home to some of the first COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States. But well before the COVID-19 crisis hit, East King County was experiencing significant change. Dramatic economic growth sparked widespread development, which, combined with good schools, attracted immigrants and people of color. But many were left behind, often priced out of their homes. COVID-19 has amplified the inequities as vulnerable workers and families face even more urgent needs, requiring a new philanthropic mechanism for greater investment. Now is the time to act and step up for the most impacted communities in East King County.
A coalition of philanthropists and community leaders recognized these changing dynamics and approached Seattle Foundation about establishing a fund that would enable donors to channel resources toward East King County’s greatest needs.
A new fund at Seattle Foundation, the East King County Community Fund is dedicated to serving the East King County region, including the communities of Bothell, Bellevue, Carnation, Duvall, Fall City, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Newcastle, North Bend, Redmond, Snoqualmie, Sammamish, and Woodinville. This effort is built on the existing infrastructure at the Foundation and complements the region-wide COVID-19 Response Fund. The vision for the East King County Community Fund is long term, and our collective aspiration is to create a philanthropic effort that lasts well beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
Over the next few months, the East King County Community Fund aims to raise $2 million and donations of any size are welcome. Seattle Foundation houses the East King County Community Fund in order to respond to COVID-19 on the eastside of the county, and therefore your donation is eligible to be matched one to one by a matching grant from Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos (up to $1 million, per unique gift).
To ensure that resources move quickly and address the greatest needs, the East King County Community Fund will work with communities most impacted to design solutions to the challenges they experience. An advisory group with strong community relationships and expertise will guide the Fund’s grantmaking, working with Seattle Foundation staff to identify gaps in support where philanthropy can complement public programs and have the most meaningful impact. Grants will be made on a rolling basis.
Amy Liu, Microsoft
Aneelah Afzali, Muslim Association of Puget Sound
Beth Osborne, Symetra
Debbie Lacy, Eastside for All & Eastside Refugee and Immigrant Coalition
Jim McEachran, East King County Community Fund Planning Team
Lalita Uppala, Indian Association of Western WA
Lauren Thomas, HopeLink
Lisa Hart, Empower Youth Network
Nela Cumming, Encompass
Paul Lwali, Friends of Youth
Pearl Leung, Amazon
Putter Bert, KidsQuest Children’s Museum
“I am excited to support an East King County Fund. This fund will bring additional resources to East King County while extending Seattle Foundation’s practice of working with local leaders to make the best funding decisions for each community.”
—Robbie Bach, former President, Microsoft Corporation,
civic volunteer, board member, and Bellevue resident
"We support many individual Eastside nonprofits and will continue to do so. We are excited about contributing to the new East King County Community Fund, which will seek out and support nonprofit organizations that are invested in grassroots community efforts to provide critical support during these times of COVID-19 economic fallout and increased need to design more equitable systems of support."
—Cathy Habib, education advocate, board member, and Kirkland resident
For questions, please contact Seattle Foundation's Philanthropic Services team at firstname.lastname@example.org.