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SVP Invests $170k in Collective Action for Kids and Livable Communities

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In the last year, SVP’s Collective Action Teams (CATs) gave $170,000 in grants towards equitable transit, livable communities, kids and education in King County – bringing our total investment in collective action to $350,000 since 2012.

Though this work, SVP is helping nonprofits engage more effectively in collective efforts, while simultaneously working with other funders to walk the talk – aligning and coordinating our investments for greater impact.

Transit and Livable Communities Investments

Last fall, SVP committed to the goal of making Puget Sound a place where sustainable communities thrive, balancing growth with quality of life in our built and natural environments.  Driving towards that goal, the Environment Collective Action Team (EnviroCAT), zeroed in on transit to build healthy, livable, equitable and prosperous communities for all.

In the coming years, $25 billion will be invested in the Puget Sound region’s transit systems.  Good news, given that our region will have more than one million new residents by 2040.  But dollars alone will not ensure transit systems benefit everyone, which is why the EnviroCAT gave $47,000 in grants to Transportation Choices Coalition (TCC) and Futurewise.

Both TCC and Futurewise play unique and critical roles within the Growing Transit Communities initiative, and the EnviroCAT saw a strong opportunity to deepen their work and create a leveraged impact in this collective effort.  In particular, Futurewise and TCC are helping those affected by transit and city planning and policy decisions to advocate for their unique community needs. Through their engagement and policy work, these organizations are ensuring that future transit contributes to a healthy environment and benefits those who need it most.

Bus_Seattle Municipal Archives_Flickr

Of course, the development of new transit systems is not the only issue we face in King County.  Potential cuts to our Metro bus service are on the horizon, and the EnviroCAT made an additional $13,000 grant to three nonprofits working together to make sure those cuts do not disproportionately impact marginalized populations.  This grant to Puget Sound Sage, OneAmerica and TCC complimented larger grants made by a number of other funders, and focused on sharing data and policy information to increase coordination and effectiveness of their Transit for All campaign.

In addition, to these direct investments in nonprofits, the EnviroCAT also committed to a second year of collective grantmaking with the Sustainable Communities Funders Collaborative. This group of philanthropic organizations works to build and support collective action efforts that link economic opportunity, environmental sustainability and equitable community development.

As grantmakers, the Sustainable Communities Funders Collaborative has made both aligned and pooled investments in nonprofit coordination, data collection and community engagement efforts. This year, SVP contributed $25,000 to the pooled fund and served as the co-chair of the collaborative.

Education Investments

SVP’s Education Collective Action Team (EduCAT) is focused on cradle to career education – ensuring all kids enter kindergarten ready to learn, and all students graduate from high school ready for college or a career.  This year, the EduCAT invited grant proposals from nonprofits engaged with the Road Map Project or Eastside Pathways who saw opportunities to deepen their role in collective action.

They received eighteen applications and visited five finalists, which sparked deep conversations among EduCAT members about community need, equity and opportunities for SVP to help strengthen the organizations that applied. In the end, the EduCAT gave $50,000 in grants to two great nonprofits.

The first organization, Southwest Youth and Family Services (SWYFS), supports 14,000 youth in King County.  They work to support communities in which culturally and economically diverse families, youth and children thrive and prosper. In partnership with families, schools and communities, they promote healthy family functioning, early childhood learning, student academic success and youth development.

Through SVP’s capacity building support, SWYFS will work with experts to assess their methods for tracking data and make refinements and recommendations for alternative processes and systems.

Southwest Youth and Family Services

The second organization the EduCAT selected, Community & Parents for Public Schools of Seattle (CPPS), is a citywide network of parents and community members working as one to ensure quality public schools for all Seattle children. In particular, CPPS serves families of color who typically don’t have a voice in public education. They train parents to be leaders and to advocate for their children, as well as educate, inform and encourage others about how to engage with educational institutions.

With SVP’s support, CPPS will strengthen their communications in order to effectively tell the story of their crucial work, and begin incorporating best practice indicators for parent engagement.

In addition to these grants, the EduCAT also invested $25,000 in the Youth Development Executives of King County (YDEKC ), which is a coalition of youth-serving organizations working together to advance the youth development field in order to improve outcomes for young people.

Representing the executive leadership of King County-based youth serving organizations, YDEKC is uniquely positioned to hone a common voice and advocate for their members within the systems (school districts, governments, the public) that they intersect with; to develop field level knowledge about best practices in youth development; and to build leadership strength in the non-profit youth serving sector.

Like the EnviroCAT, the EduCAT also seized an opportunity to walk the talk about collective action.  They invested $10,000 with a group of aligned funders committed the Road Map Project.  In particular, those dollars were directed to the Road Map Rapid Resource Pooled Fund, created to meet the quickly evolving needs of nonprofits and school partners working on the Road Map project.

Learn More and Get Involved!

Want to dive into the dynamic work of collective action?  Check out these opportunities:

  • Join the Environment or Education Collective Action Team!  Current participants rave about the camaraderie, the opportunity to work closely with nonprofits, and the systems level thinking they are able participate in.
  • Volunteer to Help with Staff Professional Development!  Futurewise is currently working to build staff skills in facilitation, project management and incorporating equity in their program work.
  • Volunteer to Hone Communications! Transportation Choices Coalition is looking to develop and sharpen their communications strategies and messaging campaigns.

If you’re interested in any of these opportunities, please contact Sally Gillis.


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