Correction (2/23/17 at 2:08 p.m.): A previous version of this story incorrectly listed ACLF Northwest and ICHS as organizations who benefited from the Youth Sports Facilities Grants Program. The story has been updated to reflect that Wilderness Inner-City Leadership Development (WILD) Program, Austin Foundation, and the Filipino Community Center benefited from the Youth Sports Facilities Grant Program.
Last November, the King County Council approved a budget of $11.4 billion to fund public safety, homelessness, and transportation programs. King County said in a statement that the adopted budget continues to reaffirm its commitment to equality and inclusion. The budget will support programs that work to decrease racial inequity in many fields, including the criminal justice system. Many of the programs awarded funds serve and support Asian and Pacific Islander communities and other communities of color.
Wilderness Inner-City Leadership Development (WILD) Program, Austin Foundation, and the Filipino Community Center were some of the organizations that received funding from King County’s Youth Sports Facilities Grant Program thanks to recommendations from Councilmembers Larry Gossett and Rod Dembowski. In past years, the program was funded by a 1 percent tax on car rentals, with 75 percent of car rental taxes financing Kingdome bonds. This year, as the Kingdome bonds retire, all funds will go to the Sports Facilities Grants Program, according to Kristina Logsdon, the chief of staff to Dembowski.
“With the retirement of the Kingdome bonds, it is only fitting that organizations in the Chinatown International District benefit from our expanded Youth Sports Facilities Grant Program,” Dembowski said.
Community organizations ACLF Northwest and International Community Health Services (ICHS) also received funding in King County’s 2017-18 biennial budget.
The Austin Foundation
The Austin foundation, named after Willie Austin, is dedicated to promoting health, wellness, and nutritional programing to underserved communities that might not otherwise have the means to afford going to the gym or having a fitness coach. King County has awarded the Austin Foundation $100,000 to develop more programming and expand outreach to communities.
“We want to get a small personal training studio again soon, so local coaches/trainers can come bring either youth or clients from underserved communities, that normally can’t pay for personal training. Our goal is to get personal training fully funded, almost like a scholarship, so it can be available for everyone that needs it. This grant will be a huge step in that direction,” said Renato Foz, director of the Austin Foundation.
Austin was a football player at the University of Washington and a world class athlete. Following his athletic career, he opened a nonprofit that worked to bring health and wellness training to young people from underserved communities. Austin provided programs in schools, parks and community centers and opened a dual office and fitness space. In 2013, he passed away suddenly and many of Austin’s facilities and services were discontinued.
The Austin Foundation will celebrate “Willie Austin Day” on the organization’s 20th anniversary in April.
InterIm WILD program
InterIm CDA, an affordable housing and community development non-profit in the CID, received funding for its youth program, WILD, which serves to empower high school aged youth with leadership training, environmental education, and civic engagement. According to WILD’s website many WILD youth are from immigrant and refugee families and non-English speaking or English learning backgrounds. The program takes a youth-centered approach where students choose and implement projects that engage with local and global environmental problems.
WILD received $12,000 through King County’s Youth and Amateur Sports Fund. These funds are from retired Kingdome bonds that will be used to finance youth sports and recreation activities this year. Some of the funds will help finance outdoor excursions to national parks and other spaces where students will learn about leadership, conservation, environment, and civic engagement. WILD program director Alisa Koyama said the funds will also be used to get youth (mostly) and CID elders out into the fresh air by organizing activities in local parks. WILD plans to collaborate with other organizations, such as Latino Outdoors, on these activities.
“We believe that having access to the outdoors can have significant healing effects as youth develop a sense of place and connection to spaces that are often not accessible for cultural and financial reasons for many of our youth,” Koyama said.
International Community Health Services (ICHS)
ICHS was awarded $50,000, which helped to set up a new pharmacy at its Shoreline branch clinic. ICHS provides culturally appropriate health and wellness services to API and other communities of color throughout Seattle and King County.
“With the uncertainty of the future of the Affordable Care Act, supporting our community health clinics is now more important than ever,” Dembowski said.
The Shoreline pharmacy opened on February 6, and takes almost all major insurance providers. It will also offer medicine and prescriptions for low-income individuals who qualify. The construction of the pharmacy is significant—the ICHS Shoreline Medical and Dental Clinic is the first and only nonprofit community health center in Shoreline that offers affordable medical and dental care.
API Chaya received a $150,000 contract for 2017 from King County’s Best Starts for Kids homelessness prevention initiative. Executive Director Joanne Alcantara said the funding, targeted at children, is about keeping children and families off the street.
When low-income, immigrant survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking make the decision to flee or turn their lives around, they are often at risk for homelessness. Alcantara also said that API Chaya’s client database is currently under negotiation. The contract requires all clients receiving services to be entered into a database containing identifiable information, unless the clients belong to a few protected groups.
“We’ve raised our concerns with the County around just feeling like it’s a coercive policy and be[ing] able to protect our private information, especially at a time when federally there is talk about a registry,” Alcantara said.
API Chaya provides counseling, legal advocacy, housing services, support groups, and referrals that support survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking and their families, regardless of gender. They also organize prevention programs and community awareness workshops with culturally specific attention to the needs of various API communities.
ACLF Northwest and The Filipino Community Center
The Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation received $5,000 to support their community leadership development program. Program fellows gain experience with nonprofits who impact the API community and participate in bi-weekly sessions with local community leaders and businesses.
ACLF Northwest’s mission is to train Asian Pacific Islander community members in civil engagement and community development strategies, supporting strong leaders who can be movers and shakers around API issues.
The Filipino Community Center, located on Martin Luther King Jr. Way also received $50,000 to construct a brand-new playground and to support summer programming for children.