Since the beginning of January, members of the 2019 Pooled Fund Grant Committee have been reading and discussing 368 Letters of Inquiry submitted to Washington Women’s Foundation this past fall. Using new curriculum and updated resources, they thoughtfully reflected on the new grant criteria to make decisions about which organizations to invite to submit full proposals. Our focus this year is to support and collectively invest in organizations that are reflective of and embedded in the communities they serve, draw on the strengths and assets of these communities, and are accountable to these communities in order to achieve the long-term goals of increasing equity and reducing disparities.
This year, we invited Letters of Inquiry from organizations that meet the following criteria:
- Is focused on providing services to communities affected by inequity due to race, gender identity, and/or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination and/or exclusion.
- Is accountable to the community being served. “Accountable” means
- Ensures that people or communities being served are visibly leading;
- Develops leadership of the people being served;
- Engages the community being served in ongoing decision-making, planning and assessment; and/or
- Draws on the strengths and assets of the community being served to achieve the long-term goals of reducing disparities and increasing equity.
- Has the expertise to do the work. “Expertise” includes being able to demonstrate
- An understanding of the root causes of the issues facing the community being served.
- A track record of success in reducing disparities and/or achieving more equitable outcomes
We’re delighted to share the list of our Top 25 organizations this year and a bit about what they are applying for below. Each of these organizations submitted Letters of Inquiry that demonstrated meeting all three of the criteria explained above. Read on for a refresher of how our process works from this point forward.
Arts & Culture
Arts Corps: To support general operating costs in order to build capacity and reduce the race and income-based opportunity gaps in access to arts learning for youth in South Seattle and South King County.
Coyote Central: To expand their hands-on creative workshops for adolescents with professionals in visual, media, performing, and vocational arts to Lake City, Seattle.
DNDA (Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association): To provide urgent structural upgrades to the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, a Southwest Seattle community hub that houses key community-based organizations, including Arts Corps, Totem Star, REEL Grrls, and The Service Board.
Mari’s Place for the Arts: To build staff and development capacity to support their high-quality afterschool weekly arts and culture classes for low-income immigrant children in Snohomish County.
Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra: To support the Jazz Scholars program, providing jazz technique and instrumental music lessons to students at low-income schools in South and Southwest Seattle.
Denise Louie Education Center : To expand their programs for low-income, refugee, and immigrant families to North Seattle, provide staff training on immigration rights, and increase development and outreach capacity to reach more families.
Equity in Education Coalition: To expand their Lunch and Learn program, bringing monthly educational events to statewide audiences and college campuses, and mobilizing communities of color in Ellensburg, Yakima, and Spokane to build equity in education.
Friends of the Children – Seattle: To expand their Teen Mentoring program, which works to ensure that youth with the highest risk of long-term poor outcomes graduate from high school prepared for post-secondary education or a career.
Para Los Niños: To increase the number of families served through their educational programs developed by and for Latino parents in Burien, ensuring that hundreds more Latino children from low income families achieve academic success.
Unloop: To invest in their in-house development shop, training incarcerated individuals in coding and software development to create a viable career pathway for formerly incarcerated people in tech in King County.
Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/Technical Advisory Group: To support organization and staff capacity for more community engagement, to ensure a Duwamish River cleanup that is accepted by and benefits the community and protects fish, wildlife and human health.
Got Green: To build organizational capacity to more rapidly develop communities of color as leaders for climate justice, wage successful grassroots campaigns, and develop a dynamic and powerful movement focused on community resiliency, reducing the food security gap, and increasing access to fair green jobs.
Nurturing Roots: To build infrastructure for their community farming program in South Beacon Hill Seattle, expand school partnerships, construct a greenhouse and complete their water-irrigation system.
Puget Sound Sage: To build a long-term agenda for shaping an equitable future, focused on an environmentally just future, as part of their work to combine research, public policy and organizing to ensure an affordable place to live, a good job, a clean and healthy environment, and access to public transportation for all in Puget Sound.
Women, Farms & Food (WSU Foundation): To address the financial, market and human risks women farmers experience as they develop their agriculture enterprises in Washington State through training and other customized support.
All Girl Everything Ultimate Program (AGE UP): To expand their youth sports programs for 18-24 year old young adults, strengthen support at school sites and develop more rigorous data collection and analysis to support their use of Ultimate Frisbee to build community.
Cierra Sisters: To build organizational capacity and hire staff, ultimately doubling the number of people they reach annually to increase breast cancer knowledge in the African-American community in Seattle and create equity in breast cancer outcomes.
Elizabeth Gregory Home: To extend the hours of the EGH Day Center, providing health services including referrals to compassionate healthcare providers, assistance in applying for/maintaining health insurance and other support to homeless and at-risk women in Seattle.
Peer Seattle (Formerly Seattle Area Support Groups): To flexibly respond to the unprecedented demand for services (including peer coaching and support groups) due to the opioid epidemic and amplified threats against the LGBTQ community through expanding programs and increasing their mental health first aid training services.
Somali Health Board: To increase long-term sustainability by building capacity in financial, program evaluation, technology, and fundraising, ultimately reducing health disparities of Somali immigrants and refugees in Seattle through meaningful partnerships, education for providers and community leaders, and provision of culturally appropriate and relevant services.
Casa Latina: To expand their employment, education, and community organizing programs to South King County, ensuring that all Latinx immigrants in the area have equitable access to their unique programs no matter where they live.
Chief Seattle Club: To design and construct a 9-story mixed-use building containing 75 studios, a health clinic, a cafe/art gallery space to be operated as a social enterprise by the Club, and expanded services for homeless/low-income American Indians/Alaskan Natives in King County.
Community Action Skagit County: To support Financial Empowerment & Volunteer Training, children’s enrichment activities, and Employment and Adult Education programming for low income communities in Skagit County.
Next Step Housing (NSH): To provide a Homeless Case Manager to provide wrap-around support to individuals and families living at the Bicycle Apartments, a sober living facility in Yakima, WA.
Refugees Northwest: To increase staff capacity to keep pace with the increasing demand for their asylum services, supporting asylum seekers and survivors of torture in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties.
Need a refresher on WA Women’s grantmaking process? Our large-scale, strategic approach to collective grantmaking is a national model that has been tested and refined over the last 23 years. The goal of our grantmaking and programming is to challenge and educate our members, who then use their collective power to influence community transformation.
Here’s a quick recap of our annual Pooled Fund grant making process:
- January – LOIs: The Grant Committee reviews and discusses Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) and invites 25 organizations to submit proposals.
- March/April – Proposals: The Grant Committee evaluates 25 full proposals and selects 15 organizations to receive site visits.
- April/May – Site Visits: Teams of WA Women’s Foundation members visit 15 organizations and report their findings to the full Grant Committee. The Grant Committee then selects the final 10 organizations to appear on the ballot.
- June – Member Voting: All 420 members of WA Women’s Foundation vote by electronic ballot to determine which 5 organizations will receive our $100,000 Pooled Fund Grant Awards. The grantees are announced at our Grant Award Celebration on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Mark your calendar now to join us at this special event to be held at Benaroya Hall.
Through our groundbreaking model of women-powered, collective philanthropy, Washington Women’s Foundation has given out more than $17 million in transformative grants. We invite all who identify as women to join us to make a more powerful impact in communities across Washington state.