Communities of Opportunity – Rainier Valley
HomeSight is the convening agency for Communities of Opportunity (COO) in the Rainier Valley. Communities of Opportunity is a cross-collaborative initiative sponsored by Public Health – Seattle & King County and The Seattle Foundation. The initiative identifies specific needs of local residents and allows receipts to work with their communities to co-design effective programming. HomeSight was one of three initial recipients of the funding. The others being Global to Local (in the SeaTac and Tukwila area) and White Center Community Development Association (in the White Center/North Highline unincorporated area). Each organization receives at least $150,000 each year for the next three to five years to implement strategies to address health, housing and economic opportunity disparities in these target areas.
What is unique about this funding opportunity, beyond the conjoined public and private investment, is the cross-sector collaboration at its core. COO has brought together Public Health, The Seattle Foundation and four community coalitions representing a total of 42 separate organizations. The four community coalitions are:
- On Board Othello (OBO) – A coalition of SE Seattle community leaders working to create, coordinate, and implement a shared vision of equitable growth for the Othello neighborhood. On Board Othello’s vision and priorities are grounded in the goals of the community. Together, On Board Othello and community partners will work to foster a strong sense of place, thoughtfully designed development, and equitable growth opportunities at Othello.
- Multi-cultural Community Center (MCC) – A coalition of immigrant and refugee serving organizations working together to share programming, resources and space to preserve cultural anchors and strengthen the community’s diversity.
- South Seattle Organizing for Racial and Regional Equity (South-CORE) – South CORE envisions sustainable multi-racial neighborhoods in the Rainier Valley and South King County where all community members are socially included, economically self-sufficient, politically engaged, and are at the forefront of shaping the future of our city, county and region.
- Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC)– A group of residents, representatives from community-based organizations serving Rainier Beach, and members from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Rainier Beach Action Coalition serves as a steward of Rainier Beach’s neighborhood plan.
HomeSight, who currently leads the On Board Othello and Multi-cultural Community Center coalitions, also participates in the Rainier Beach Action Coalition and South Seattle Organizing for Racial and Regional Equity coalitions. For the past 5+ years these four coalitions have worked in coordination to elevate community voice in important decision making processes, mitigate displacement, and advocate for equitable growth. This unique funding opportunity from COO, a 3-5 year award, is bringing together a broad range of community efforts already underway with the goals of generating holistic, community led solutions for Health, Housing, and Economic Opportunity. While we are still in the first year, planning stage of the funding cycle, Communities of Opportunities has the potential to be a model for community driven equitable growth, in Seattle and nation-wide.
To learn more about the Communities of Opportunity initiative, watch this video by The Seattle Foundation: