Communities of Opportunity expands investments to increase civic engagement and strengthen connections

SUNN meeting
Seattle Urban Native Nonprofits (SUNN), one of the partnerships supported by COO, united in spirit and practice at the UW Intellectual House

Communities of Opportunity (COO) is expanding efforts to help neighborhoods and cultural communities build partnerships that contribute to better health, safe and affordable housing, economic opportunity and stronger community connections for residents.

COO will provide $3.1 million to six efforts that tap into the collaborative power of residents to improve health and well-being.

In King County – one of the most prosperous metropolitan regions in the United States – race, income, and ZIP code are major predictors of a person’s health and life expectancy. To reverse these inequities, these new partnerships are designed to support leadership and civic engagement among groups that have historically been marginalized, sharing in decision-making and power, and working together to improve outcomes for all communities in our region.

COO is working with partnerships in the urban Native community, LatinX community of Vashon Island, transgender and gender nonconforming communities, and in the communities of Kent, Seattle’s Central District, and rural Snoqualmie Valley.

These latest awards build on a recent round of investments to 27 nonprofit organizations working to improve outcomes across our region, as well as the work of three initial partnerships in Rainier Valley, White Center and SeaTac/Tukwila.

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Geographic and cultural community partnerships

Africatown: Replanting Roots, Rebuilding Community is bringing organizations together in the heart of Seattle’s historic African American community to strengthen the community’s sense of place in the face of displacement due to historic practices and current gentrification. The project will focus on shaping existing and planned affordable rental housing and commercial development efforts to preserve and restore community connections and economic opportunities for African American/African diaspora community in the King County region.

Communidad Latina de Vashon Organizamos is working to dramatically enhance community connections and mobilize LatinX residents on Vashon Island to activate their leadership in community decisions and advance greater health and well-being. Partners in this effort include Latino-based organizations in Seattle that will share their expertise in civic engagement with the Vashon Latino community.

Kent Community Development Collaborative is a partnership of community-based organizations working to ensure everyone can participate and benefit from decisions that shape their neighborhood and greater community. The partnership will convene community forums focused on creating affordable, safe housing for Kent residents, as well as opportunities for living-wage jobs and access to healthy, affordable foods.

Seattle Urban Native Nonprofits (SUNN) Seattle Urban Native Nonprofits (SUNN) is a leadership roundtable that aims to unite the efforts of Native-led organizations to advocate for policies and positive changes that will improve health and well-being. The partners include the Potlatch Fund, Seattle Indian Health Board, Na’ah Illahee Fund, Chief Seattle Club, and NAWDIM, who all have a long history of engaging in the needs of urban Native families and relatives through a unique cultural lens. SUNN envisions an urban Native community that is united in spirit and practice, trusting and compassionate in our relationships, and fully embracing the ancient wisdom and healing that will sustain us for generations.

Snoqualmie Valley Supportive Community for All will strengthen community connections by building an inclusive coalition of service providers and key community stakeholders around a shared vision of coordinating human services across the Snoqualmie Valley.

The Transgender Economic Empowerment Coalition will address the economic barriers transgender and gender-nonconforming communities and LGBTQ people of color experience as a result of transphobia, homophobia and racism. The Coalition will build leadership development programs and engage area employers to develop model employment policies.

From our partners

“We are thrilled  the Latino Community is receiving resources to deepen their decade long leadership development process.  Our partnership with Seattle/Burien based Latino organizations will enhance our ability to organize and continue to build our community in culturally connected strength and unity.” – Alejandra Tres, Volunteer Community Organizer for the Communidad Latina de Vashon

“As a coalition of community led organizations we have been working together for decades to support and advocate for our communities. We are excited to receive this funding because it will expand our capacity to think bigger and develop a bolder vision of policies and programs to interrupt the systemic poverty our communities face – making a profound impact on the lives of transgender and LGBTQ communities of color.” – Karter Booher, Executive Director of Ingersoll Gender Center

“The SUNN is an opportunity for the Native community to come together in greater collaboration and partnership. Seattle is a Native city and through SUNN, we hope to offer leadership and guidance for our region as it changes and expands. Native collaboration and focused leadership for our community will mean better outcomes for Native people and a better region for all.” – Colleen Echohawk, Executive Director, Chief Seattle Club.

“With this grant, A Supportive Community for All has the opportunity to build an inclusive, grassroots coalition around a shared vision of strengthening connections between human service providers up and down the Snoqualmie Valley. It will enable the community to identify gaps in service and engage the most economically and socially marginalized to meet the unique needs of this rural community. We couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to get started on this important work!” -Julian Graef, Center Manager, Hopelink- SnoValley

About Communities of Opportunity
Communities of Opportunity is a network of residents, communities, decision-makers, and funders who believe every community can be a healthy, thriving community—and that equity and racial justice are both necessary and achievable.

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