The City of Seattle and the King Conservation District have partnered to award funding for projects that advance environmental justice along with improving natural resources in Seattle. Seven community organizations were awarded grants ranging from $13,000 to $75,000 for projects that will be launched in 2018. A total of $391,000 was awarded.
The King Conservation District and the City of Seattle have worked together since 1995 to fund projects that support water quality, soil protection, ecosystem restoration, and urban agriculture within city boundaries. In 2017 the program guidelines and criteria were expanded to reflect Seattle’s deepening commitment to environmental justice. Project proposals were required to address the goals of the Seattle Equity & Environment Agenda as well as natural resource priorities. The Office of Sustainability and Environment coordinates the City’s involvement in the program.
“The 2017 project awards demonstrate a significant shift in our approach,” said Jessica Finn Coven, the director of the Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment. “This year, communities of color, immigrants, refugees, Native Americans, youth, or people with low incomes are the leaders or partners on all of the funded projects. We appreciate the partnership of the King Conservation District in implementing our shared goal to resource those most-affected by environmental injustices to lead on the solutions.”
Bea Covington, King Conservation District Executive Director, said “Our partnership with the City of Seattle brought an equity and social justice lens to awarding KCD funds, providing a living example of how effective collaboration leads to better outcomes for everyone.”
The organizations receiving funding and their proposed projects are:
- Na’ah Illahee Fund: Native Food Systems Initiative to plant, grow, harvest, prepare, and deliver a mix of vegetables and native plants to urban Natives in need across Seattle, as well as year-round, culturally relevant education and outreach events for the Seattle urban Native American community.
- Sustainable Seattle: Fairview Christian School Depave and Rain Garden Project (Phase 1) will remove asphalt and install a series of three connected rain gardens to treat storm water from the roof of Fairview School. The project will teach the school and greater community about stormwater, climate resilience, and children’s health benefits of green infrastructure.
- Chinese Information & Service Center: Green Life – Green Family – Green Community will raise awareness, deepen knowledge and change behaviors about promote water conservation, growing vegetables, and community environmental issues among Chinese immigrants through of all ages.
- InterIm CDA: The WILD Youth Program will build equity in the field of environmental justice and support youth in gaining marketable skills for future careers.
- Seattle Parks Foundation: The Greening Concord Field and Garden project will convert an underutilized outdoor area at Concord International Elementary School into pollinator gardens and add trees. It will be a significant green resource in a culturally-diverse neighborhood that disproportionately lacks access to healthy open spaces.
- Rainier Beach Action Coalition: Rainier Beach Community Farm Stands will provide youth with job and leadership skills and increase access to fresh, locally grown food while supporting King County farms.
- Asian Counseling and Referral Service: New Beginning for the Seattle Community Farm will actively steward the Seattle Community Farm while engaging in meaningful engagement with our youth and immigrant and refugee communities around the Farm, and developing a long-term farm plan.