United Way of King County launched the Indigenous Communities Fund in 2020 to address the differential impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the county’s Indigenous People. The pandemic exposed the same underlying social inequities that have led to existing racial disparities, have put Indigenous and other people of color at increased risk of illness, hospitalization and death. The two-year, $2 million fund provides Indigenous communities resources to address COVID-19’s impact and other issues with minimal reporting requirements and autonomy to disperse revenue where it is needed most.
Funding has been allocated in two, $1 million increments: The first $1million was used as COVID relief and restricted to food and housing; it went to four organizations comprising the Seattle-based National Coalition to End Urban Indian Homelessness. The second $1 million was granted with no restrictions to the 12-member Seattle Urban Native Nonprofits (SUNN).
Indigenous staff at United Way helped lead the way in bringing the Indigenous Communities Fund together, and donor dollars are making more investments possible. It is all part of our effort to get critical resources out to King County’s Indigenous communities to support their equitable recovery and long-term viability.