Equitable Development Initiative

New Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) Awardees Announced

This month Mayor Bruce Harrell announced $13,550,000 in awards through the EDI, part of the City’s effort to support property ownership among Seattle’s diverse cultural communities in high displacement risk neighborhoods. The City awarded funds to community organizations for site acquisition and major capital projects, as well as capacity-building support to organizations that are still developing their plans for permanent spaces in Seattle.

Additional EDI funding will be available this year. Information on the application and approval process will be announced in the coming weeks.

 Our Projects

  • Chief Seattle Club (Pioneer Square)
    A mixed-use project in Pioneer Square that will create more than 80 affordable apartment homes in addition to a health clinic, non-profit office space, and a cafe/gallery space. The project will focus on serving the homeless American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) population in Seattle. Chief Seattle Club on: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • African Women Business Alliance (Southeast Seattle)
    This project would create a permanent home for the Alliance, which is currently relying on pop-up markets. The majority of women engaged by the Alliance are from households making less than $35,000 a year, and are motivated towards entrepreneurship as a means of breaking out of low-wage employment. Most cite access to seed capital as their primary barrier. African Women Business Alliance on: Facebook and Instagram.
  • Birth Center (Southeast Seattle, Rainier Valley)
    SE Seattle Rainier Valley Midwives has been operating out of a temporary location in the Rainier Valley Community Clinic that is becoming untenable due to escalating rents. They are working to acquire and build a permanent Birth Center in the Rainier Valley for people of color. The Birth Center would provide wrap-around services before, during, and after the birth process. Birth Center on LinkedIn.
  • Black and Tan Hall (Hillman City)
    Finish construction of physical location of Black and Tan Hall that includes a cooperatively-owned restaurant, performing arts venue, and community gathering space. Build internal capacity of organization by hiring management team to develop systems and programs to sustain community-oriented and cooperative business model. Black and Tan Hall on: Facebook and Instagram.
  • Byrd Barr Place (Central Area)
    Byrd Barr Place will renovate the 100+ year old historic Firehouse with inclusive, accessible design to add 1000+ SF of community gathering space. The project will retain the building as a cultural asset for Seattle's Black community and expand its services, which include energy assistance and home heating, housing assistance and eviction prevention, and food bank and home delivery. Byrd Barr Place on: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Central Area Youth Association (CAYA) Community Center (Central Area)
    The new mixed use community center will accommodate growing programming needs as well as affordable housing to mitigate displacement of our community.
  • Cham Refugees Community (Southeast Seattle)
    Construction of an upgraded, 12,000 square foot community center at their existing location. Development will be sharia-compliant and expand programming for youth, the elderly, and disabled members of the community. Cham Refugees Community on Facebook and Youtube.
  • Daybreak Star Center (United Indians of All Tribes, Discovery Park)
    The United Indians of All Tribes is embarking on a capital campaign to advance the rehabilitation of the Daybreak Star Center at Discovery Park. Daybreak Star Center on: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Duwamish Longhouse (Duwamish Valley Tribal Services, Duwamish Valley)
    Purchase of property adjacent to the Longhouse to support the continued viability of the cultural space. The current location has significant safety issues that affect the visitors attempting to access the Longhouse. Duwamish Cultural Center on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Donate: https://www.givebigwa.org/Duwamish.
  • Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition (South Park)
    Build the capacity of the Coalition and the South Park and Georgetown communities. The coalition has developed a 3-prong anti-displacement approach - preserving existing affordable housing; developing new affordable housing; and developing a multi-purpose building that provides community gathering space, childcare and affordable spaces for local non-profits. Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition on Facebook.
  • Ethiopian Village (Southeast Seattle)
    Seattle Redevelopment of existing community center into a mixed-use project including 100 affordable senior homes, childcare, commercial space, and an expanded community center. Ethiopian Village will serve multiple generations of the Ethiopian community. Ethiopian Community in Seattle on: Facebook and Instagram.
  • Innovation Learning Center (Filipino Community of Seattle, SE Seattle)
    Construction of the Filipino Community Village Innovation Learning Center and Community Gathering Space, which will house STEAM education for youth and young adults, health and wellness programs for seniors, cultural enrichment programs, and domestic and gender-based violence counseling. The project also includes 95 affordable senior apartment homes. Filipino Community of Seattle on Facebook.
  • Homestead Home (Wing Luke Museum, Chinatown-International District)
    The Wing will preserve the Homestead Home one block south of the Museum and to develop the adjacent parking lot. This home is the most intact remaining single-family home in the Chinatown-International District, constructed in 1937. On the lot, The Wing intends to build 60 affordable apartments above a street-level community gathering space. Wing Luke Museum on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.
  • Hope Academy (South Delridge)
    Established in 2002, Hope Academy is the only East African community-based K-8 school accredited by the WA State Board of Education. HAS serves 120 students and more than 400 East African refugee and immigrant families through their programs. EDI funds will help secure ownership of the property.
  • Lake City Collective (Lake City)
    Lake City Collective uses a community ambassador model to increase the ability for local communities to become self-determining. LCC seeks to establish a location in Seattle's Little Brook neighborhood that would allow them to expand services and establish partnerships that would preserve existing affordable housing sites in the neighborhood and improve living conditions. Lake City Collective on Facebook.
  • Little Saigon Landmark Project (Friends of Little Saigon, Chinatown-International District)
    A gathering place for the regional Vietnamese community in the Little Saigon business district. It will bring together the district's cultural, shopping, and culinary aspects in a distinctive physical anchor. The mixed-use Landmark Project will include a cultural center, Southeast Asian  grocery, Emerald Night Market, and restaurant. Each component of the development will reflect Vietnamese Americans' rich culture, history, and future. The project is currently in feasibility and predevelopment. Friends of Little Saigon on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Midtown Center Africatown (Central Area)
    Africatown Community Land Trust has partnered with Capitol Hill Housing and the Capitol Hill Housing Foundation to develop Africatown Plaza at Midtown - a seven-story, mixed use building with 5,000-8,000 SF of commercial space and approximately 130 apartments affordable to households earning up to 60% AMI. Africatown Seattle on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.
  • Multicultural Community Coalition (SE Seattle)
    The Multicultural Community Coalition (MCC) will anchor several community organizations serving Seattle's growing immigrant, refugee and people of color communities by creating a community-owned and operated co-working space and an essential Cultural Innovation Center (CIC). The CIC is envisioned as a vital heritage and cultural arts venue which will house year-round, cultural events and activities as well as serving as a Creative Economy space in which artists, cultural nonprofits, and creative small businesses will produce and distribute cultural goods and services that generate jobs, revenue, and quality of life.
  • Opportunity Center @ Othello Square (Othello)
    Othello Square brings together multiple non-profit partners to pool their strengths in a community-focused campus. The Opportunity Center @ Othello Square includes non-profit offices, classrooms, cultural center, and maker space; 200 affordable and workforce apartments; and a mid-block public plaza for community use.
  • Queer the Land  (Beacon Hill)
    QTL seeks to fund the capacity building resources that they need to create a QT2BIPOC-owned and operated cooperative in one of Seattle's historical communities of color to include affordable transitional and semi-permanent housing, co-working space, communal space, and a community garden. Queer the Land on Facebook.
  • Rainier Beach Food Innovation District (Rainier Beach)
    An employment, education and entrepreneurship project prioritized and driven by the community with a new model of transit oriented development (TOD) that is based on production and decent quality jobs rather than consumption and low-wage jobs. This new model is in contrast to the more common model of "high cost housing over low-wage jobs." Rainier Beach Action Coalition on Facebook, TwitterYoutube, and Flickr.
  • Refugee and Immigrant Family Center (Delridge)
    The Refugee and Immigrant Family Center is a bi-lingual childcare provider that has been central to the Delridge community for many years. The EDI program was able to help them purchase their building when the owner put the property on the market, preventing their imminent displacement.
  • West African Community Center (West African Community Council, Southeast Seattle)
    Renovation and expansion of community facility with services and programs including housing advocacy, financial assistance and education, family counseling, tutoring, bilingual preschool. WACC serves the Alian, Guinean, Senegalese, Ivorian, Nigerian, Gambian, Liberian, Burkina Faso, Mauritanian, Guinea-Bissau, Benin, Cape Verde, Ghanaian, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Niger communities in Seattle.
  • William Grose Center for Cultural Innovation Africatown (Central Area)
    Create a space that supports small businesses, creative entrepreneurs and creating pathways to the knowledge-based economy. WGCCI will address community priorities and create career pathways that support entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic development located in the Central Area, which will serve Seattle's historically Black community that has been and continues to face high risk of displacement. The WGCCI will create dedicated spaces for innovation and civic tech events that can draw people in from the street and serve as a tech epicenter near existing cultural and community assets. Africatown Seattle on: FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Youtube.

About the Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board provides guidance to the City on the implementation of the EDI to ensure that the program furthers the City's Race and Social Justice Initiative goals. The board implements the accountability goals of the Equitable Development Implementation Plan, develops funding criteria, and creates recommendations for the allocation of the EDI fund.

Meeting Notes and Agendas

Advisory Board Members

Sophia Benalfew is an Ethiopian American born and raised in Ethiopia. She moved to the US in 2013 when she was transferred to the Head Quarters of Oxfam America in Boston. Sophia currently resides in Seattle and works for Ethiopian Community in Seattle (ECS) as the Executive Director. Since she joined ECS in 2019, ECS has grown to support more community members, especially providing critical support to underserved communities in a pandemic.

Before she joined ECS, Sophia worked for Oxfam and CARE in different capacities. While working for Oxfam, Sophia was a lead for a global program named R4 Rural Resilience based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and later on in Boston, Massachusetts. The program, implemented in four countries in Africa, has now become a major component of World Food Program’s Climate Risk Management Approach.

With CARE, Sophia worked as a senior Technical Advisor on Climate Change and Resilience. As a member of the Climate Change & Resilience Platform, Sophia supported the design and implementation of various programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Sophia believes in community based approach to development. According to her, the secret in designing and implementing sustainable and equitable programs is to recognize the wealth of knowledge in communities served and partner with them. Programs that respond to real needs of communities, implemented in a way that they believe is best and with meaningful feedback loops bring about sustainable changes regardless of their size.  

Sophia is married and a mother of three. In her spare time she loves to dance and read books.

Kaleb Germinaro (he/him) is a Black-biracial man born and raised in Phoenix, AZ and has come to Seattle by way of Philadelphia, attending the University of Pennsylvania to play football. Kaleb is a lover of dogs, plants/animals and photography. He explores healing through geography via spatial learning and identity development as a process of combatting geographic and spatial oppression. At the moment, he interacts with Seattle as a high school football coach, community educator, and member of Estelita's Library while engaging in conversations about land and power with the same focus on community and care.

Quanlin Hu is a community curator passionate about creating equitable and lasting values. Quanlin has over 15 years of professional urban planning & development experience in public, private and non-profit sectors with work ranging from affordable/market rate housing development, community planning, land use/development regulations, and design guidelines. Quanlin is currently a Development Manager with SRM Development and mostly focuses on managing all affordable housing development and building partnerships with community-based originations to maximize project outcomes. Prior to joining SRM, Quanlin was contracted with Mt Baker Housing Association (MBH) as a Development Manager on affordable housing projects that emphasized on Transit Orientated Development (TOD) and brownfield development in Southeast Seattle. Prior to involving in housing development, Quanlin was a Strategic Advisor with the City of Seattle from 2012 to 2019 that devoted her efforts on empowering and supporting historically underserved communities through planning, implementation, community advocacy and partnership building.

Quanlin received her Masters in City and Regional Planning from the Ohio State University, and her Bachelors in Urban Planning from Wuhan University, China. She has obtained professional certifications including American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), LEED AP Neighborhood Development, Project Management Professional (PMP), and various certificates in Commercial Real Estate development and finance. Quanlin is currently a board member of Central Area Collaborative whose mission is to support and preserve Black/African American businesses, organizations and culture in Seattle’s Central Area. She has been a guest lecturer for University of Washington “Planning as a Professional” course for the past few years. Outside of work, Quanlin is most passionate about surfing, as a metaphor for life for fearlessly exploring, learning and improving.

Mark R. Jones is co-founder of Community-Owned Resource (Real Estate | Business) Development (CORD) with Curtis Brown developing real estate and business prototypes. Over forty-five years’ experience in leading, developing, and/or implementing effective place-based and virtual learning community development — including businesses, performing arts groups, sports clubs, think tanks, and co-housing developments. ED/Partner of Cooperative Organizations Opportunities Program for five years in the 1970’s — overseeing residential program (multi-generational housing | 5-Buildings), agricultural program, and economic portfolio (Food Cooperative | Music Cooperative). Over 35 years’ experience leadership and organizational development, performance optimization, cultural transformation implementation (diversity-equity-inclusion), and transformative technologies. Over 28 years' full-time professional experience, including 5 years full-time experience serving at a senior executive level — CEO / Executive VP / Corporate VP / CIO / CTO / CTA — in organizations with annual budgets of $100M or greater. Achieved over a billion dollars in cost savings, cost avoidance, and/or revenue generation. Former Chair United Way of King County Project LEAD; former At-Large Member — NAACP Seattle Chapter. Past Chapter Vice-President of Society of Manufacturing Engineers; American Society for Quality Seattle Geographical Community Past Chair of Member Networking and Past Vice Chair in the Human Development and Leadership division.

Jamie Madden brings a lifetime of experience to the work of affordable housing and community development. He grew up in affordable housing, and has worked as a developer, funder, and policy maker. Currently, Jamie is a principal of Madden-Kim Consulting a member of the 77 Stoop Collaborative. Jamie assists non-profit and local government clients in Washington and Massachusetts to resolve complex problems and to realize their development visions while centering both equity and feasibility.

Prior to co-founding the 77 Stoop Collaborative of consultants, Jamie directed Enterprise Community Partners' Pacific Northwest Market office in Seattle, where he launched the Home and Hope initiative to transform public properties into housing and early learning centers and founded the WA Early Learning Loan Fund to create early learning centers. Jamie relocated to Seattle in 2016 from Boston, where as a real estate project manager at The Community Builders, Inc. he oversaw a variety of development projects including low-income, middle-income, and market-rate housing; new construction, acquisition and preservation; rental, homeownership, and retail. Two of his developments at TCB were recognized by awards from the Urban Land Institute and Novogradac as the best affordable housing developments of their kind, Charlesview Residences and A.O. Flats. Jamie was also responsible for writing and managing major federal grants for TCB including Choice Neighborhoods, Sustainable Communities, and Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

Jamie has also worked for several community-based non-profits and served a term on the Massachusetts Board of Education. Jamie earned his Master of City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Swarthmore College in 2006, and the Truman Scholarship in 2005. He lives in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood and walks most places. His 3-year-old daughter loves the walking life as well and since 2020 has refused to attend any more Zoom meetings.

Diana Paredes is a native-born Ecuadorian who has called Seattle home since 2015. Prior to that she lived in Salt Lake City Utah where she spent much of her time working as a community organizer and policy advocate for humane immigration policy. Since moving to Seattle, Diana has worked with local nonprofits in applied research and evaluation focused on equitable development, civic engagement, and leadership development programs for underrepresented communities. Diana has a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Washington. In her spare time, Diana loves to go for runs, dancing salsa, and trying her luck at gardening.

Equitable Development Monitoring Program

As outlined in the Equitable Development Implementation Plan, the Equitable Development Monitoring Program (EDMP) is an ongoing source of data and analysis to inform City policies, programs, and investments - and to aid work within communities - to reduce race-based disparities, advance equity, and combat displacement. The program includes:

  • Community Indicators Report: Based on concerns and priorities expressed by community members. Topics include housing affordability, neighborhood livability, transportation, and education and economic opportunity.

The EDMP also includes information on Neighborhood Change so that the indicators can be viewed alongside historical context and recent shifts in racial and ethnic demographics.

EDI Implementation Materials

The Equitable Development Initiative builds on the Equitable Development Implementation Plan and Financial Investment Strategy that were adopted by City Council in 2016 as part of our Comprehensive Plan – Seattle 2035. An interim advisory board helps determine criteria and priorities for Equitable Development funding.

Other documents related to Equitable Development and Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, which is the City’s commitment to eliminate racial disparities and achieve racial equity in Seattle.

  • Executive Order 2015-04: Directing the creation of a new executive office to coordinate planning and implementation to build thriving and equitable communities
  • Executive Order 2014-02: Affirms the City of Seattle’s commitment to the Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), and expands RSJI’s work to include measurable outcomes, greater accountability, and community-wide efforts to achieve racial equity in our community.
  • Race and Social Justice in the 2017 Budget Provides an overview of the major citywide initiatives underway and specific projects and programs that will help create a more equitable city.

Equitable Development Zoning

On March 23, 2023, the Office of Planning and Community published a Determination of Non-significance (DNS) for a proposed suite of Land Use Code amendments intended to address regulatory barriers facing equitable development projects.

What is Equitable Development?

Equitable development means public and private investments, programs, and policies in neighborhoods that take into account past history and current conditions to meet the needs of marginalized populations and to reduce disparities so that quality of life outcomes such as access to quality education, living wage employment, healthy environment, affordable housing and transportation, are equitably distributed for the people currently living and working here, as well as for new people moving in.

The City's Equitable Development Framework involves integrating people and place to create strong communities and people as well as great places with equitable access. It also involves the following six equity drivers: 

  • Advance economic mobility and opportunity 
  • Prevent residential, commercial, and cultural displacement
  • Build on local cultural assets
  • Promote transportation mobility and connectivity
  • Develop healthy and safe neighborhoods 
  • Enable equitable access to all neighborhoods

Additional Background

Seattle has grown rapidly in recent years, but the benefits and burdens of growth have not been shared among our communities. Disparities persist in income, unemployment rates, homeownership and even life expectancy. Our plan for growth moving forward, Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan, envisions Seattle as a diverse city where all people can achieve their full potential regardless of race or means.

  • The EDI addresses displacement and the unequal distribution of opportunities to sustain a diverse Seattle. The EDI fosters community leadership and supports organizations to promote equitable access to housing, jobs, education, parks, cultural expression, healthy food and other community needs and amenities.
  • Council approved an interfund transfer loan of $16 million to be used on EDI projects in advance of the completion of the Civic Square transaction.
  • In late 2016, directors and staff from multiple departments began working together to create the EDI program, including the EDI fund, and coordinate interdepartmental efforts to prevent displacement and advance mobility.
  • EDI Subcabinet Directors recommended the City invest $6.5 million in the four neighborhoods where the proposed place-based projects are located (Chinatown-International District, the Central District, Othello and Rainier Beach) for capacity building, pre-development, and capital investments. The initial investment would be based on project funding criteria that are being developed.
  • EDI Subcabinet Directors approved the release of an additional $5.5 million for up to seven additional projects through an open application process starting at the end of 2017.

Planning and Community Development

Rico Quirindongo, Acting Director
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 94788, Seattle, WA, 98124-7088
Phone: (206) 386-1010

The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) develops policies and plans for an equitable and sustainable future. We partner with neighborhoods, businesses, agencies and others to bring about positive change and coordinate investments for our Seattle communities.