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Seattle awards $250,000 for environmental justice projects

The Environmental Justice Fund will support seven projects in 2020

Contact:  Ximena Fonseca-Morales, Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment, 206.386.1130

The Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment, through the Environmental Justice Fund, awarded $250,000 to seven community-based projects to improve environmental conditions and respond to impacts of climate change. Funding of up to $40,000 was awarded to projects that will be led by and benefit those most impacted by environmental and climate issues, including communities of color, immigrants, refugees, and Indigenous people.

“Seattle will continue to be a national leader in fighting climate change, and we must ensure true opportunity for communities that have disproportionally shouldered the weight of environmental injustice,” said Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “The communities hit the hardest by climate change are most often our historically underserved communities of color, and as we develop and implement new policies, we must continue to evaluate the race and social justice impacts. The City’s Environmental Justice Fund is an incredible example of giving community the tools they need to create lasting, impactful change.”

The Seattle Environmental Justice Fund was launched in 2018 as one of the key strategies to advancing the goals of Seattle’s Equity & Environment Agenda. Like the Equity & Environment Agenda, the Environmental Justice Fund was created with the understanding that the most effective environmental and climate solutions come from the community itself.

“Seattle’s frontline communities have been—and continue to be—disproportionately impacted by environmental and climate injustice,” said Jessica Finn Coven, Director of the Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment. “I’m inspired the by resiliency of these communities and pleased that the City can support critical community priorities like capacity building and education with these funds.”

Project proposals were reviewed by a team of five community members, some of whom also serve on Seattle’s Environmental Justice Committee

“These grants are powerful levers for change,” said Victoria Santos, Co-Executive Director of Young Women Empowered (Y-WE). “We were awarded funding last year and our Y-WE Nature Connections program has engaged youth and adults in environmental justice and healthy food activities that grow community while supporting young women’s leadership. I’m very happy to see grassroots community groups continue to benefit from this vital resource.”

Proposed projects represent a wide spectrum of ideas and activities, including arts, community education, food access, green jobs, mitigation, multi-generational activities, youth leadership and more.

The organizations receiving funding and their projects are:

Black Farmers Collective – $40,000
Through this project, community members from ethnic communities in Seattle will be educated about urban (food-garden) soil contamination and engaged in finding solutions to address it. Community members’ recommendations will be used to heal the soil at Yes Farm.

Delridge Neighborhood Development Association – $25,626
This community engagement and awareness project focuses on Delridge Wetland Park. The project will include community workshops and volunteer habitat restoration events. Community engagement efforts will focus on neighborhood youth.

Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition – $40,000
Through a series of community workshops, the Coalition will teach skills in embodied art and storytelling to build resiliency and place-based preservation in the Duwamish Valley. The project aims to engage neighbors of South Park, Georgetown, Beacon Hill and White Center with a special focus on service workers, teachers, nurses, gardeners, seniors, and the Duwamish people. The project will culminate in the creation of a community archive of stories to be used for anti-displacement organizing.

El Centro de la Raza – $35,624
As part of a two-year partnership, El Centro de la Raza and the United States Environmental Protection Agency co-developed the Beacon Hill Air & Noise Pollution Community Action Plan (CAP). Funding from the Environmental Justice Fund will enable further implementation of the CAP and facilitate additional community response in addressing the ongoing negative environmental and health impacts affecting Beacon Hill residents.

InterIm CDA – $40,000
Youth from InterIm’s WILD Project will visually document the personal histories of lower-income residents and their physical and social environments within the context of social justice, community development and sustainability. The product of this work will be showcased at public venues.

Key Tech Labs – $36,625
The Farmbot Greenhouse project brings youth leaders, community members and local businesses together to build and upgrade community gardens to become automated gardens that can seed, water and weed themselves. Project activities include sessions teaching community members – with an emphasis on youth – how to build an agricultural robot, how to construct smart greenhouses and how to maintain the gardens.

Somali Family Safety Task Force – $32,125
Participants in Somali Family Safety Task Force’s Girls Guide youth development program will be educated about environmental justice issues – with a focus on asthma-related air quality issues – and trained to engage their families and elders.

To learn more about the Environmental Justice Fund, contact Ximena Fonseca-Morales, Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment, 206-386-1130.