Communities of Opportunity (COO) is announcing a new investment to support Black communities by releasing a one-year investment in Black-led (including African descent and diaspora) organizations working on systems and policy change in the Black community.
Communities of Opportunity (COO) is a cross-sector, collaborative initiative founded by King County and Seattle Foundation in 2014 that supports community-led solutions that create greater health, social, and economic and racial equity so that all people thrive and prosper. COO Systems and Policy Change grants support community-led and community-engaged organizations that are changing public policy, institutional practices, or systems to increase community connections, economic opportunity, health, and affordable housing.
In June 2020 King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Public Health released a declaration that Racism is a Public Health Crisis. That declaration states:
- King County has been complicit in maintaining and perpetuating structural racism, and that as an institution we must be a vital player in dismantling oppressive systems that are grounded in white supremacy
- Community leaders and organizations will be provided with resources to develop solutions.
- King County will drive resources toward where they are needed most as indicated by those in that community.
While racism is a public health crisis that impacts all people of color, it is also true that Black people in the United States have been uniquely impacted by racism. A review of public health data across King County shows:
- In King County, infants born to Black mothers are more than two times likely to die before reaching their first birthday than infants born to white mothers.
- In King County, Black adults are more than 1.7 times as likely to run out of food without money to purchase more than White adults.
- In King County, Black adults are more than 1.5 times as likely not to have a bachelor’s degree compared to White adults.
- In King County, the median income for Black households is $48,075 which is about half the median income of White households ($94,533).
- COO has $725,000 to award, supporting work taking place in 2021.
- Grants will be awarded as $145,000 partnership grants.
- Organizations may not apply as individual organizations, this funding is only available to support organizations of two or more working together towards a common outcome.
- All grant resources must be spent down by December 31, 2021.
The Foundation seeks to support
- Community-based efforts focused on changing policies, rules, systems, or regulations in order to reduce and eliminate inequity and advance antiracism.
- Efforts to reduce inequity through systems and policy change. Efforts can be targeted at a wide variety of institutions including but not limited to; government, regulatory agencies, schools, and post-secondary institutions, hospitals and health care delivery systems, and places of employment.
- Efforts that demonstrate deep community leadership in the identification of issues and development of solutions.
- Efforts that demonstrate knowledge of the practices, policies, rules, systems, or regulations they seek to change.
- Partnerships or coalitions in which leadership and organization staff represent the Black (including African immigrant and diaspora) community;
- Partnerships or coalitions working specifically in the Black community to further Black liberation;
- Partnerships or coalitions that are led by and for the community in which the proposed grant work takes place;
- Partnerships or coalitions that center racial equity in their work and approach;
- Partnerships or coalitions with strong relationships and trust in the community;
- Partnerships or coalitions seeking to make a policy change at the neighborhood, city, county, or state level;
- Partnerships or coalitions must demonstrate the impact of their work in King County;
- Partnerships or coalitions that are currently receiving funding or participating through other COO strategy areas, including Cultural and Place-based community partnerships, are eligible to apply, providing their proposal meets the criteria in this RFP;
- All applicants must have 501(c)3, nonprofit status or have a fiscal sponsor that qualifies as a nonprofit 510(c)3 organization;
- All applicants must be based within the state of Washington.
For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3cuw0XV