In response to deep community concerns about changing federal policies and resources in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, Seattle Foundation developed its Resilience Fund in early 2017.
The Resilience Fund provides flexible funding to address unanticipated and emerging challenges that impact marginalized residents in our region. These individuals are facing increased needs for information, support, legal guidance, organizing, and advocacy to address threats and discrimination based on factors including race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability and country of origin.
The Resilience Fund supports community-based nonprofits seeking flexible funding to respond to both immediate and short-term needs, as well as longer-term efforts that strengthen vulnerable communities and increase their resilience in the face of emerging challenges. In its first granting cycle, groups serving immigrant and refugee communities received a large share of funding and continue to be well represented in recent applications.
Support for the most vulnerable among us increases equity, opportunity and the well-being of our entire region. The Resilience Fund is similar to rapid response funds developed around the nation by other foundations and organizations to address growing or emergent needs due to shifts in federal policies, funding, and the national political climate. Some of these efforts include funds by Pride Foundation, Groundswell Fund and Still We Rise Fund.
How the Funds Are Used
Jonathan Cunningham, program officer for Seattle Foundation, administers the Resilience Fund and says the community demand is great. “We had very strong interest in the Resilience Fund, with more than 200 organizations applying for a grant in the program’s first year. Many of the funded organizations are using those dollars to offer Know Your Rights trainings or to develop safety plans for families experiencing deportations, or hiring more staff to handle increased demands for services and basic needs in the wake of declining or disappearing federal funding.”
Organizations that receive Resilience Fund grants from Seattle Foundation are working to safeguard and advance the safety, security, constitutional or human rights of our region’s vulnerable community members.
In its first year, the Fund invested $930,000 in 57 nonprofits serving essential community needs. Grantees focused on a wide variety of issues and needs, including immigrant and refugee communities; women’s health, voting restrictions on communities of color, LGBTQ populations, individuals with disabilities and more.
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Some of the grantees include:
- Casa Latina is using their grant to fund “Know Your Rights Trainings,” develop family emergency plans and rapid response plans for Latino immigrant day laborers.
- Gender Justice League is using the fund to offer legal clinics and support services for transgender residents seeking increased protection from hate crimes.
- Open Arms Perinatal Services is using its funds to provide pregnant low-income immigrant women with information on their rights and to expand their Birth Doula Services program.
With continuing concerns and needs in the community related to changes in policy and funding at the federal level, Seattle Foundation plans to continue providing the Resilience Fund.
Seattle Foundation is continuing to work with many of the organizations in an ongoing basis, assembling many of the groups into cohorts by issue area and providing ongoing support. The purpose is to continuously learn from the grantees what the situation is within immigrant communities and what additional resources and networking is helpful for them to provide the right services to their communities. Throughout this process, Seattle Foundation is measuring impact by the amount of events organizations are able to offer and unique individuals who are receiving direct advocacy and support.
How Donors Can Get Involved
- Participate in Seattle Foundation’s collaborative funding partnership to support, protect and advance the rights and voices of our marginalized community members.
- Learn more about your local community foundation’s focus areas.
Original contribution by Seattle Foundation.
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