Honoring and Investing in King County’s Indigenous Communities.
Despite being among the communities with the greatest basic needs, only 0.23% of philanthropic funds are awarded to Native-led nonprofits. In 2020, when United Way launched the Indigenous Communities Fund, we wanted to change that—and centering our values of redistribution, representation, and reparations—hand the decision-making power back to King County’s Indigenous communities through 12-member Seattle Urban Native Nonprofits (SUNN).
United Way has committed two rounds of $1 million to local, Native-led organizations with minimal reporting requirements and autonomy to disperse revenue where it is needed most:
- The first $1 million was used as COVID-19 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).
Real People. Real Stories.
“Designated funding for the Indigenous population of Seattle is important. Period full stop. And this funding is a dream—something that is truly rocking our nonprofit world. It has been an amazing experience in participatory funding that has been shaped by the collective of Native nonprofits and the team at United Way. The SUNN (Seattle Urban Native Nonprofit) collective has been trusted to know what is best for its own community. We are excited to see how this impact will lead to further investments into the community that is tragically underrepresented in philanthropy dollars.”
—Jessica Juarez-Wagner Interim Advocacy & Grants Management Potlatch Fund
Indigenous Communities Fund: The Formation
Under the leadership of United Way’s Indigenous staff, the Indigenous Communities Fund emerged in response to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous communities, highlighting racial disparities and social inequities.
Our goal? To swiftly deliver vital resources to King County’s Native communities for their equitable recovery and long-term viability. To do that, we used participatory grantmaking to direct funds to Native-led organizations that amplify the cultures, concerns, and courage our local Indigenous people.
Support the Indigenous Communities Fund
At United Way of King County, we recognize the responsibility to acknowledge the history of the first people of these lands. This acknowledgment only becomes meaningful when combined with accountable relationships and informed actions. By supporting this fund, you support Indigenous people by directing funds to groups led by them, for them. We invite you to join us is in our vision for an equitable and just community where everyone thrives.
For more information about the Indigenous Communities Fund and its impact, please contact Marlo Klein at email@example.com.