Black leaders know their communities best. A group of 15 Black nonprofit leaders have come together to determine how United Way funding will be directed to support equitable recovery and the long-term viability of King County’s Black community.

Sustained Commitment

United Way has committed $1.5 million in this and each of the past two years for the Collective to invest as they see fit and shift power to the Black Community.

What is participatory grantmaking? 

This is an approach that cedes decision-making power for funding to the communities impacted by the funding decisions. It’s a paradigm shift in how we work and honors the fact that organizations are agents of change in their communities, not just beneficiaries of grants. Therefore, they are best suited to make funding decisions. By increasing the number and diversity of decision-makers, it will strengthen the decisions and allow more funding to those most able to create long-lasting change.

There is no greater way to ensure that these resources lead to transformative change than to have those who reflect impacted communities determining how investments are made. This is what the Collective is accomplishing and I am proud to be a part of the process.” –Sean Goode, Executive Director of Choose 180 

Origin Story

After committing to making the investment, we turned to our Black staff and listened to their ideas of how we could honor and uplift the Black community. Under their leadership, the Black Community Building Collective was born.

Early discussion by Collective members focused on building relationships, acknowledging the good work the organizations are doing, and the issues and challenges each is facing. The result of these discussions led to the guiding principal to center the Collective rather than the individual organizations and the following funding hierarchy:

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Investments in program, operating costs and capacity building for Black women-led organizations of the Collective.

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Investments in the long-term sustainability of the Black-led organizations throughout the community, not limited to Black Community Building Collective member organizations.

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Investments in program, operating costs and capacity building for Black men-led organizations of the Collective.


These 15 Black-led organizations are all deeply committed to working collectively for the greater good of the Black community and represent a range of organizational size, geographic location, existing grantees and new partners, and community issues.

Africatown Community Land Trust: Working for community ownership of land in the Central District that can support the cultural and economic thriving of people who are part of the African diaspora in the greater Seattle region.

African American Leadership Forum: Committed to the revitalization and sustainability of a vibrant African American community in Greater Seattle and King County.

Baseball Beyond Borders: Helping student-athletes of color in the Seattle area connect their passion for baseball with their academic futures off the field.

Byrd Barr Place: Providing food, shelter, warmth and financial tools for neighbors in Seattle’s Central District to build stability and self-sufficiency, as well as advocate for equity statewide.

Choose 180: Envisioning a future where youthful behavior is decriminalized and young people are offered restorative practices in lieu of traditional prosecution.

Community Passageways: Creating alternatives to incarceration for youth and young adults by rebuilding our communities in the Seattle area through relationships centered on love, compassion and consistency.

East African Community Services: Inspiring East African immigrant and refugee families to achieve cradle to career success in King County. 

Glover EmpowerMentoring: A leader in restorative justice practices that foster youth empowerment and divert them from criminal justice involvement into positive pathways of education, employment and healthy relationships.

Nurturing Roots: A community farming program focused on healthy food choices; creating community through gardening in Beacon Hill.

Rainier Beach Action Coalition: Promoting quality education, living wage jobs, affordable transportation and housing, and building community capacity in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood.

Reclaiming our Greatness: Providing culturally appropriate support to communities of color experiencing housing, food insecurity, and need assistance navigating healthcare, education and justice systems.

REACH Renton: (Renton Ecumenical Association of Churches) Focused on ending homelessness and hunger. 

Supporting Partnerships in Education and Beyond: (formerly Somali Parent Education Board). To dismantle systemic inequities in education by engaging parents, educators, and community partners in systems change work on a local, state, and national level.

Technology Access Foundation: Partnering with school districts, educators and organizations to challenge the current public education system.

Voices of Tomorrow: Working closely with community partners to eliminate racial inequities in the early learning system, which deeply affect immigrant and refugee children’s growth, development and academic performances.

Support this important work by making a gift today.

Thanks to the following companies for investing in racial equity in our community:

Amazon, Brighton Jones