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SVP International

$100k Invested in Collective Action for Transit, Equity & the Environment

Posted by Zamzam Abdulgani

Photo / Front and Centered

Over the last year, SVP’s Environment Collective Action Team (EnviroCAT) invested in advancing environmental and transit solutions that benefit all people. They focused specifically on initiatives and organizations that engage and represent the needs of low-income people and communities of color – recognizing that they are often disproportionately affected by environmental degradation.

Check out our 2017 grants below!

Transit for All

The EnviroCAT has invested in growing transit communities since its inception. Last year, the EnviroCAT supported the Transit for All partnership to advocate for the $50 billion Sound Transit 3 ballot measure – which passed in November. The EnviroCAT is now building upon previous success with the partnership.

SVP’s $30,000 grant will support Transit for All in ensuring the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure is implemented with input from the community.

The partnership – Transportation Choices Coalition, Puget Sound Sage, and OneAmerica – seeks to infuse equity into the expansion planning of the light rail, bus rapid transit service, green spaces, and affordable housing. In their own words: “The implementation of this plan is core to ensuring our communities are affordable and equitable as they continue to grow, as well as, that communities are no longer displaced, and, rather, feel ownership of transit investments.”

The EnviroCAT met with the executive directors of all three organizations multiple times over the last year and were impressed by their shared visions and commitment to an equitable transit movement. The EnviroCAT remains supportive of investing in the collaborative capacity of the three organizations to achieve their shared goals and to continue to learn from their work.

To learn more about Transit for All, read our story on their work bringing ORCA Lift to low-income passengers across King County, and passing a $300 million measure that restored cut bus service and expanded routes.

Front and Centered

Front and Centered is a coalition of 60 people of color-led organizations working across the state to engage communities of color on environmental issues that disproportionately impact traditionally marginalized communities.

The EnviroCAT’s awarded Front and Centered $30,000 to build on last year’s investment to engage in a statewide, community-informed strategic planning process to develop a common agenda and structure for the coalition.

Over the last year, the EnviroCAT has been impressed with the sustaining growth of the coalition, and their rise as experts in their role at the intersection of equity and the environment. This year’s grant will allow the coalition to address the priorities that have emerged from their strategic planning process – primarily building an inclusive environmental movement in Washington state.

Center for Social Inclusion

In collaboration with the members of Sustainable Communities Funders (SCF), the EnviroCAT engaged in their second iterative grant process with Center for Social Inclusion (CSI). CSI recently completed the first Puget Sound Cohort on Equity, Environment and Infrastructure, helping a dozen environmental organizations – both mainstream white-led and community based – deepen their commitment and internalization of a racial equity lens in their work.

This aligned investment will deepen the work undertaken by the first cohort while adding a second cohort of new organizations. The participants in the first cohort identified the following as distinct priorities they would like to see addressed in their second year:

  • Build internal and collective capacity and accountability to advance racial equity;
  • Support coalition alignment and advance a long-term equity agenda for the region;
  • Increase the number of organizations that are able to effectively center equity in coalition efforts and policy discussions, plus create a framework of accountability around this work.

SVP’s $20,000 contribution to this effort will leverage $175,000 in pooled and aligned investments from the Sustainable Communities Funders and Seattle Foundation. In the end, “Cohort 2.0” will leverage $250,000 in total investment.

The investment in CSI also comes timely for the organization as they have just announced a merger with Race Forward that will increase both organizations’ reach, capacity and commitment to moving the needle on racial equity.

Sustainable Communities Funders

In addition to these direct investments, the EnviroCAT also committed to a fifth year of collective grantmaking with the Sustainable Communities Funders (SCF) — a collaborative between SVP, Loom Foundation, Bullitt Foundation and Seattle Foundation. Together, the funder group invests in systems level strategy at the intersection of equity, economic opportunity, and the environment. SVP dollars go towards pooled investments and supporting funder coordination.

After hosting an open grant process in the spring of 2016, the collaborative invested $200,000 — of which SVP contributed $20,000 — towards innovative solutions at various levels of systems change initiatives in King County:

  • All in for Washington, a partnership between Washington State Budget and Policy Center, Fuse Innovation Fund, OneAmerica and Washington Progress Fund;
  • The EcoDistrict Partnership, a partnership between Capitol Hill Housing, Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority, and Centerstone;
  • Equity of Access to Energy Efficient Affordable Housing, a partnership between Spark Northwest (formerly Northwest SEED) and Emerald Cities Seattle;
  • Elk Run Farm, a collaboration between South King County Food Coalition, Seattle and King County Public Health Unit of Healthy Eating and Activities, Washington State University Extension Educators, Highline Community College, and the Auburn Mountain View High School “Cultivating Youth” program.

Get Involved

If you are interested in learning more about SVP’s collective action work or joining one of our Collective Action Teams to help select next year’s investees, contact Mike Quinn!

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