Equitable Development Initiative

What's Happening Now?

Our fund currently supports 25 community-driven projects identified through three rounds of funding, totaling $22.3 million. Funds support: 

  • Community Capacity Development: active engagement with organizations representing historically underserved communities, communities of color, and communities at risk of displacement. 
  • Real Estate Development: predevelopment (site acquisition, feasibility studies, operations budget), development (tenant improvements, building construction, renovation). 
  • Community ownership and wealth building - community wealth creation and business support. 

What is Equitable Development?

Equitable development means public and private investments, programs, and policies in neighborhoods that take into account past history and current conditions to meet the needs of marginalized populations and to reduce disparities so that quality of life outcomes such as access to quality education, living wage employment, healthy environment, affordable housing and transportation, are equitably distributed for the people currently living and working here, as well as for new people moving in. 

The City's Equitable Development Framework involves integrates people and place to create strong communities and people as well as great places with equitable access. It also involves the following six equity drivers: 

  • Advance economic mobility and opportunity 
  • Prevent residential, commercial, and cultural displacement
  • Build on local cultural assets
  • Promote transportation mobility and connectivity
  • Develop healthy and safe neighborhoods 
  • Enable equitable access to all neighborhoods

Our Projects

  • Chief Seattle Club (Pioneer Square)
    A mixed-use project in Pioneer Square that will create more than 80 affordable apartment homes in addition to a health clinic, non-profit office space, and a cafe/gallery space. The project will focus on serving the homeless American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) population in Seattle. Chief Seattle Club on: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • African Women Business Alliance (Southeast Seattle)
    This project would create a permanent home for the Alliance, which is currently relying on pop-up markets. The majority of women engaged by the Alliance are from households making less than $35,000 a year, and are motivated towards entrepreneurship as a means of breaking out of low-wage employment. Most cite access to seed capital as their primary barrier. African Women Business Alliance on: Facebook and Instagram.
  • Birth Center (Southeast Seattle, Rainier Valley)
    SE Seattle Rainier Valley Midwives has been operating out of a temporary location in the Rainier Valley Community Clinic that is becoming untenable due to escalating rents. They are working to acquire and build a permanent Birth Center in the Rainier Valley for people of color. The Birth Center would provide wrap-around services before, during, and after the birth process. Birth Center on LinkedIn.
  • Black and Tan Hall (Hillman City)
    Finish construction of physical location of Black and Tan Hall that includes a cooperatively-owned restaurant, performing arts venue, and community gathering space. Build internal capacity of organization by hiring management team to develop systems and programs to sustain community-oriented and cooperative business model. Black and Tan Hall on: Facebook and Instagram.
  • Byrd Barr Place (Central Area)
    Byrd Barr Place will renovate the 100+ year old historic Firehouse with inclusive, accessible design to add 1000+ SF of community gathering space. The project will retain the building as a cultural asset for Seattle's Black community and expand its services, which include energy assistance and home heating, housing assistance and eviction prevention, and food bank and home delivery. Byrd Barr Place on: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Central Area Youth Association (CAYA) Community Center (Central Area)
    The new mixed use community center will accommodate growing programming needs as well as affordable housing to mitigate displacement of our community. CAYA on Facebook.
  • Cham Refugee Communities (Southeast Seattle)
    Construction of an upgraded, 12,000 square foot community center at their existing location. Development will be sharia-compliant and expand programming for youth, the elderly, and disabled members of the community. Cham Refugee Communities on Facebook and Youtube.
  • Daybreak Star Center (United Indians of All Tribes, Discovery Park)
    The United Indians of All Tribes is embarking on a capital campaign to advance the rehabilitation of the Daybreak Star Center at Discovery Park. Daybreak Star Center on: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Duwamish Longhouse (Duwamish Valley Tribal Services, Duwamish Valley)
    Purchase of property adjacent to the Longhouse to support the continued viability of the cultural space. The current location has significant safety issues that affect the visitors attempting to access the Longhouse. Duwamish Cultural Center on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Donate: https://www.givebigwa.org/Duwamish.
  • Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition (South Park)
    Build the capacity of the Coalition and the South Park and Georgetown communities. The coalition has developed a 3-prong anti-displacement approach - preserving existing affordable housing; developing new affordable housing; and developing a multi-purpose building that provides community gathering space, childcare and affordable spaces for local non-profits. Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition on Facebook.
  • Ethiopian Village (Southeast Seattle)
    Seattle Redevelopment of existing community center into a mixed-use project including 100 affordable senior homes, childcare, commercial space, and an expanded community center. Ethiopian Village will serve multiple generations of the Ethiopian community. Ethiopian Community in Seattle on: Facebook and Instagram.
  • Innovation Learning Center (Filipino Community of Seattle, SE Seattle)
    Construction of the Filipino Community Village Innovation Learning Center and Community Gathering Space, which will house STEAM education for youth and young adults, health and wellness programs for seniors, cultural enrichment programs, and domestic and gender-based violence counseling. The project also includes 95 affordable senior apartment homes. Filipino Community of Seattle on Facebook.
  • Homestead Home (Wing Luke Museum, Chinatown-International District)
    The Wing will preserve the Homestead Home one block south of the Museum and to develop the adjacent parking lot. This home is the most intact remaining single-family home in the Chinatown-International District, constructed in 1937. On the lot, The Wing intends to build 60 affordable apartments above a street-level community gathering space. Wing Luke Museum on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.
  • Hope Academy (South Delridge)
    Established in 2002, Hope Academy is the only East African community-based K-8 school accredited by the WA State Board of Education. HAS serves 120 students and more than 400 East African refugee and immigrant families through their programs. EDI funds will help secure ownership of the property.
  • Lake City Collective
    Lake City Collective uses a community ambassador model to increase the ability for local communities to become self-determining. LCC seeks to establish a location in Seattle's Little Brook neighborhood that would allow them to expand services and establish partnerships that would preserve existing affordable housing sites in the neighborhood and improve living conditions. Lake City Collective on Facebook.
  • Little Saigon Landmark Project (Friends of Little Saigon, Chinatown-International District)
    A gathering place for the regional Vietnamese community in the Little Saigon business district. It will bring together the district's cultural, shopping, and culinary aspects in a distinctive physical anchor. The mixed-use Landmark Project will include a cultural center, Southeast Asian  grocery, Emerald Night Market, and restaurant. Each component of the development will reflect Vietnamese Americans' rich culture, history, and future. The project is currently in feasibility and predevelopment. Friends of Little Saigon on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Midtown Center Africatown (Central Area)
    Africatown Community Land Trust has partnered with Capitol Hill Housing and the Capitol Hill Housing Foundation to develop Africatown Plaza at Midtown - a seven-story, mixed use building with 5,000-8,000 SF of commercial space and approximately 130 apartments affordable to households earning up to 60% AMI. Africatown Seattle on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.
  • Multicultural Community Center (SE Seattle)
    Prioritized by immigrant and refugee communities in Southeast Seattle during neighborhood planning, the MCC will be an outcome of community groups working together to build power and shared resources. MCC will be a shared cultural gathering space and co-working space for member organizations, as part of the Opportunity Center @ Othello Square development.
  • Opportunity Center @ Othello Square
    Othello Square brings together multiple non-profit partners to pool their strengths in a community-focused campus. The Opportunity Center @ Othello Square includes non-profit offices, classrooms, cultural center, and maker space; 200 affordable and workforce apartments; and a mid-block public plaza for community use.
  • Queer the Land  (Various locations)
    QTL seeks to fund the capacity building resources that they need to create a QT2BIPOC-owned and operated cooperative in one of Seattle's historical communities of color to include affordable transitional and semi-permanent housing, co-working space, communal space, and a community garden. Queer the Land on Facebook.
  • Rainier Beach Food Innovation District
    An employment, education and entrepreneurship project prioritized and driven by the community with a new model of transit oriented development (TOD) that is based on production and decent quality jobs rather than consumption and low-wage jobs. This new model is in contrast to the more common model of "high cost housing over low-wage jobs." Rainier Beach Action Coalition on Facebook, TwitterYoutube, and Flickr.
  • West African Community Center (West African Community Council, Southeast Seattle)
    Renovation and expansion of community facility with services and programs including housing advocacy, financial assistance and education, family counseling, tutoring, bilingual preschool. WACC serves the Alian, Guinean, Senegalese, Ivorian, Nigerian, Gambian, Liberian, Burkina Faso, Mauritanian, Guinea-Bissau, Benin, Cape Verde, Ghanaian, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Niger communities in Seattle.
  • William Grose Center for Cultural Innovation Africatown (Central Area)
    Create a space that supports small businesses, creative entrepreneurs and creating pathways to the knowledge-based economy.

    On August 6, 2020 the City moved towards entering a long-term lease of Fire Station 6 with Africatown Community Land Trust to use the building as the William Grose Center. A State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review for this action is required. Please find the SEPA documents below. Public comments on the SEPA determination are open until August 20th.


    WGCCI would address community priorities and create career pathways that support entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic development located in the Central Area, which will serve Seattle's historically Black community that has been and continues to face high risk of displacement. The WGCCI will create dedicated spaces for innovation and civic tech events that can draw people in from the street and serve as a tech epicenter near existing cultural and community assets. Africatown Seattle on: FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Youtube.

EDI Implementation Materials

The Equitable Development Initiative builds on the Equitable Development Implementation Plan and Financial Investment Strategy that were adopted by City Council in 2016 as part of our Comprehensive Plan – Seattle 2035. An interim advisory board helps determine criteria and priorities for Equitable Development funding.

Other documents related to Equitable Development and Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, which is the City’s commitment to eliminate racial disparities and achieve racial equity in Seattle.

  • Executive Order 2015-04: Directing the creation of a new executive office to coordinate planning and implementation to build thriving and equitable communities
  • Executive Order 2014-02: Affirms the City of Seattle’s commitment to the Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), and expands RSJI’s work to include measurable outcomes, greater accountability, and community-wide efforts to achieve racial equity in our community.
  • Race and Social Justice in the 2017 Budget Provides an overview of the major citywide initiatives underway and specific projects and programs that will help create a more equitable city.
     

 

Background

Seattle has grown rapidly in recent years, but the benefits and burdens of growth have not been shared among our communities. Disparities persist in income, unemployment rates, homeownership and even life expectancy. Our plan for growth moving forward, Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan, envisions Seattle as a diverse city where all people can achieve their full potential regardless of race or means.

  • The EDI addresses displacement and the unequal distribution of opportunities to sustain a diverse Seattle. The EDI fosters community leadership and supports organizations to promote equitable access to housing, jobs, education, parks, cultural expression, healthy food and other community needs and amenities.
  • Council approved an interfund transfer loan of $16 million to be used on EDI projects in advance of the completion of the Civic Square transaction.
  • In late 2016, directors and staff from multiple departments began working together to create the EDI program, including the EDI fund, and coordinate interdepartmental efforts to prevent displacement and advance mobility.
  • EDI Subcabinet Directors recommended the City invest $6.5 million in the four neighborhoods where the proposed place-based projects are located (Chinatown-International District, the Central District, Othello and Rainier Beach) for capacity building, pre-development, and capital investments. The initial investment would be based on project funding criteria that are being developed.
  • EDI Subcabinet Directors approved the release of an additional $5.5 million for up to seven additional projects through an open application process starting at the end of 2017.