Equitable Development Initiative

New Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) Awardees Announced

This month Mayor Bruce Harrell announced $13,550,000 in awards through the EDI, part of the City’s effort to support property ownership among Seattle’s diverse cultural communities in high displacement risk neighborhoods. The City awarded funds to community organizations for site acquisition and major capital projects, as well as capacity-building support to organizations that are still developing their plans for permanent spaces in Seattle.

Additional EDI funding will be available this year. Information on the application and approval process will be announced in the coming weeks.

 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.
  • Cham Refugees Community (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 Refugees Community 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)
    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 Coalition (SE Seattle)
    The Multicultural Community Coalition (MCC) will anchor several community organizations serving Seattle's growing immigrant, refugee and people of color communities by creating a community-owned and operated co-working space and an essential Cultural Innovation Center (CIC). The CIC is envisioned as a vital heritage and cultural arts venue which will house year-round, cultural events and activities as well as serving as a Creative Economy space in which artists, cultural nonprofits, and creative small businesses will produce and distribute cultural goods and services that generate jobs, revenue, and quality of life.
  • Opportunity Center @ Othello Square (Othello)
    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  (Beacon Hill)
    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 (Rainier Beach)
    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.
  • Refugee and Immigrant Family Center (Delridge)
    The Refugee and Immigrant Family Center is a bi-lingual childcare provider that has been central to the Delridge community for many years. The EDI program was able to help them purchase their building when the owner put the property on the market, preventing their imminent displacement.
  • 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. WGCCI will 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.

About the Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board provides guidance to the City on the implementation of the EDI to ensure that the program furthers the City's Race and Social Justice Initiative goals. The board implements the accountability goals of the Equitable Development Implementation Plan, develops funding criteria, and creates recommendations for the allocation of the EDI fund.

Meeting Notes and Agendas

2023 Advisory Board Members

Lindsay Goes Behind is a member of the urban Native American community in Seattle, comprised of over 300 Indigenous nations and about 90,000 people. Lindsay brings forward her traditional teachings and values in addition to her professional experiences to right the ongoing inequities throughout the city and rampant gentrification and commodification of housing and land access that leaves out LGBTQ2S+, low income, and communities of color in the pursuit of self-determination and prosperity. Lindsay believes the Equitable Development Initiative is a fantastic example of how government can and should work with community groups and members to bring their strategic vision, wisdom, and creativity forward when determining access to resources that are vital to combat the systemic support of land development, which seeks to build and contain wealth within a small sector of the population. Lindsay is proud to be a member of the EDI Advisory Board and aid in this work and provide a perspective that is often not included at tables such as this.

Abdirahman (Abdi) Yusuf has five years of experience working as an advocate and a community organizer for local community-based organizations. Abdi is also an active community member and appreciates the opportunity to give back by lending his advisory skills to a board like the Equitable Development Initiative. Abdi is highly experienced in community advocacy and organizing and education with a focus on low-income, immigrant, and communities of color in nonprofit and public sector settings on issues of education, civic engagement, affordable housing, land use policy, community based participatory planning and racial justice in policy making.

Evelyn Allen believes that being an Advisory Board member is the natural next evolution in her service to her community to insure that tangible resources and policy changes benefit BIPOC communities and their needs. There are specific service models and processes needed to be recognized and honored in addressing the historic trauma the BIPOC communities have lived through. Evelyn believes it is best that leaders from those communities assist our city to make wise and effective policy changes, resource investments, services and housing designs.

Willard Brown is a former director of Housing and Environmental Programs at the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association (DNDA) and continues to support the restoration of the Delridge Wetland as a volunteer and community member. Willard worked for over 30 years as a key employee and served as HOPE VI Property Management Administrator for Redevelopment at Seattle Housing Authority (SHA). Willard worked on the redevelopment of old Holly Park, Rainier Vista and High Point communities. Willard retired from SHA in 2010.

Willard has served on the Advisory Council for African American Elders. As a member of the EDI Advisory Board, he continues to fight for investments in infrastructure in all neighborhoods experiencing displacement of cultural, structural and environmental assets. Willard is the first elected Chair of the EDI Advisory Board.

Denise Perez Lally was born into poverty and raised in the West Side neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. At an early age, she learned from her grandparents to honor “La Tierra Madre” (mother earth), and to honor our ancestors, a belief she continues to practice today. Ms. Pérez Lally began her career providing direct services to working families, immigrants and refugees, and children in the Latinx, Afro-Latino and African communities in Washington, Colorado and New Mexico. Denise was the first in her extended family to graduate from college; she is a proud graduate of New Mexico Highlands University. Her continuing education includes training from the People’s Institute, the Center for Creative Leadership, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and Centro de Estudios Lingüísticos y Multiculturales, in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Ms. Pérez Lally’s proudest accomplishments include being a team member to create income eligible-housing and providing supportive housing services to homeless families in Seattle and King County. Additionally, expanding social services and youth programs for adults, youth and children while centering racial equity. Denise Pérez Lally currently serves as the Senior Director of Housing, Social Services and Economic Development for African Community Housing and Development in Sea Tac, Washington. “My core values have led me to my life’s work of healing our community from generational trauma, oppression and racism, through love, compassion, and spiritual belief.”

Jennell Hicks has served King County residents for the last 23 years. She is an advocate and champion for vulnerable populations in King County. Jennell has a bachelor’s degree from Seattle University in Public Administration and a master’s in Social Work from Seattle University. She is active in the community participating on several boards and has been active in labor contract negotiations at King County on the bargaining team for the last three contracts. Jennell is passionate about equity and social justice and everybody being able to live their best lives in King County. Jennell enjoys working with community and making a difference through direct service and policy work. In her free times she loves being a Gigi to her three grandchildren, singing Karaoke and performing with live bands.

John Rodriguez is originally from the Dominican Republic, his family moved to New York City when he was a teenager, he fell in love with Seattle and has been living in the emerald city for the last five years. He is a full-time LGBTQ+ community advocate and human rights activist. As an advocate for social equity, equality and human rights for the past 15 years, John has served as human rights ambassador for the United Nations in the Caribbean. John has worked as Executive Director for different nonprofits in different countries, he has a professional background in business consulting, nonprofit development, communications, business management, travel industry management, marketing, marketing research and sales.

John has vast experience in board project advisory and consulting, for the last years in Seattle he has been involved with the Dominican Association of Washington State, an organization that he founded here in Seattle and has built a BIPOC network for promoting social justice and equity serving mainly BIPOC and underrepresented communities. He also served as co-chair of the Seattle LGBTQ Commission from 2019 to 2020 and served as Executive Director for the Seattle Chapter of Affirmation LGBTQ Mormons Families and Friends, an organization that supports LGBTQ members and queer ex-members of the LDS religious organization, and also founded the Dominican Chapter for this organization. He currently serves as remote Executive Director for one of the It Gets Better Project’s affiliates in the Dominican Republic and co-chairs an advisory committee for health providers for a local and regional health program serving the King, Snohomish and the Island counties. John has been leading a peer support group focused on spiritual and emotional support and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth in Seattle. John is fully bilingual in English and Spanish.

Equitable Development Monitoring Program

As outlined in the Equitable Development Implementation Plan, the Equitable Development Monitoring Program (EDMP) is an ongoing source of data and analysis to inform City policies, programs, and investments - and to aid work within communities - to reduce race-based disparities, advance equity, and combat displacement. The program includes:

  • Community Indicators Report: Based on concerns and priorities expressed by community members. Topics include housing affordability, neighborhood livability, transportation, and education and economic opportunity.

The EDMP also includes information on Neighborhood Change so that the indicators can be viewed alongside historical context and recent shifts in racial and ethnic demographics.

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.

Equitable Development Zoning

On March 23, 2023, the Office of Planning and Community published a Determination of Non-significance (DNS) for a proposed suite of Land Use Code amendments intended to address regulatory barriers facing equitable development projects.

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 integrating 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

Additional 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.

Planning and Community Development

Rico Quirindongo, Acting Director
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 94788, Seattle, WA, 98124-7088
Phone: (206) 386-1010

The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) develops policies and plans for an equitable and sustainable future. We partner with neighborhoods, businesses, agencies and others to bring about positive change and coordinate investments for our Seattle communities.