Eighteen organizations serving communities around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) are the recipients of environmental grants in the second round of funding under the Port of Seattle’s South King County Community Impact Fund. The Port awarded $687,000 to support public improvement projects in Burien, Des Moines, Federal Way, Normandy Park, SeaTac, and Tukwila. Community-led projects include urban forest restoration, park trails maintenance, youth environmental stewardship, community garden improvements, and installation of a public bicycle skills track.
The selected projects reflect the rich diversity in South King County and aim to improve the quality of life in communities surrounding the airport. The grants program demonstrates the Port’s commitment to its closest neighbors in South King County who have been hardest hit by COVID-19 and who experience disproportionate environmental impacts, with less access to parks and green space.
“Supporting community-led projects is how we drive an equitable recovery and change our own systems to be more inclusive,” said Commissioner Toshiko Hasegawa. “Programs like this help create healthy and welcoming spaces, provide pathways for green jobs, and provide safe access to outdoor recreation.”
The Environmental Grants Program has revolutionized how the Port works with communities to improve access to funding opportunities. Since 2020, the Port has worked with a group of multicultural, multilingual liaisons to identify and remove barriers to participation in the program by co-creating grant materials and supporting liaisons to conduct community outreach to promote the grant opportunity.
“As a resident of Des Moines, WA, I enjoyed being a community liaison for the Environmental Grants Program because it was a chance for me to understand the role the Port of Seattle has in South King County and to learn about the funding opportunities. It was also great to work with Port staff, meet other liaisons, and learn from our consultants on strategies to engage new organizations. I was excited to hear that our outreach led to an increase in applications from community-led projects like African Young Dreamers Empowerment Program International (AYDEPI), who will be funded to clean park spaces with youth of color in South King County,” said Nimo Ahmed, Port community liaison.
Through liaisons’ hard work and support, several projects in this round came from groups that are tackling environmental projects for the first time.
"We are so excited to bring a community together to tackle environmental awareness in communities that are often left out of environmental movements. With minority youth taking initiative in Federal Way and Des Moines, the outcomes of this project will be exciting to witness. Nimo (the Port’s community liaison) reached out to us during a time when we were looking for resources to support environmental awareness. Her encouragement and consistency helped us gather the courage to apply for the Port of Seattle grant,” said Beatrice Kiraguri, Executive Director of African Young Dreamers Empowerment Program International (AYDEPI).
First-time grantee, Tilth Alliance, a nonprofit organic gardening and urban ecology organization, will use Port funding to partner with communities on a culturally relevant edible plant starts project.
“The project will serve as a catalyst to increase food production and empower immigrant, refugee, and BIPOC communities to grow food that is relevant to their diets, for their families, and for some as market crops for farm stands in Southwest King County. We will work with each of our partners in an educational meeting to decide on varieties, choose types that span multiple cultural groups, and then engage each group in a class to help start the plants and learn about propagation using organic methods.” Selena Ligrano, Garden Hotline Educator for Tilth Alliance.
In this second year of funding, the Port offered multi-year awards to applicants for projects spanning one, two or three years for up to $20,000 per year. Ten organizations were awarded three-year grants, demonstrating the popularity of this new option. Multi-year funding allows community groups to invest in long-term planning and implementation, increases the impact of the Port’s community investments, and helps to support sustainable project planning and implementation.
Learn more about the eighteen organizations that will receive funding:
Weed Warriors will install green infrastructure to the New Start Community Garden providing electricity and WiFi for educational events, workshops, and classes taught at the New Start High School in Burien. This project is funded at $14,600.
Partner In Employment will continue its paid green jobs training program for refugee and immigrant youth, who learn park restoration and maintenance, identification of native and invasive plant species, and restoration and design of planting sites. This project will take place in SeaTac, Burien, and Tukwila and is funded at $60,000 over the next three years.
Tilth Alliance will continue its yearlong environmental training and community-capacity building program where trainees learn and apply skills to address food and environmental solutions in their communities. Tilth will serve communities in Burien, Des Moines, Federal Way, SeaTac and Tukwila and is funded at $45,000 over the next three years.
EarthCorps will work with the City of Burien, community partners, volunteers, and youth involved with Partner in Employment’s (PIE) green jobs training program, to restore and steward the 7.4-acre Hilltop Park. This project will take place in Burien and is funded at $20,000.
Amigos Latinos de Burien will work with community members to help to restore and promote access to Arbor Lake Park in Burien. This project will increase and encourage healthy recreational habits and is funded at $19,850.
Environmental Science Center will continue to serve Highline School District students in kindergarten through third grade with beach habitat and stewardship classes at Seahurst Park or virtually. This project serves Burien and Highline students and is funded at $60,000 over the next three years.
Des Moines Memorial Drive Preservation Association will partner with the cities of Burien, Des Moines, and SeaTac to install signal box wraps at fourteen major intersections along Des Moines Memorial Drive, a road dedicated to World War I fallen soldiers. The project will also develop an art committee to reach artists who can create relevant historic renderings to beautify the drive, and is funded at $8,000.
African Young Dreamers Empowerment Program International will work with Black and African immigrant youth to steward and restore parks in Federal Way and Des Moines and is funded at $60,000 over the next three years.
Dirt Corps will engage the city of Burien and youth to improve the 4.5-acre Salmon Creek Park. Paid youth will be trained on how to remove monoculture species, create planting designs and install native plant species, and perform maintenance activities to ensure the success of the park restoration efforts. This project is funded at $60,000 over three years.
Serve Ethiopians Washington will recruit and educate forest stewards in SeaTac to conduct park and trail clean up at Angle Lake Park, which includes removing invasive plants and installing native plants and hosting educational opportunities for community members to learn more about waste management and creating clean and safe public spaces. This project will be funded at $60,000 over the next three years.
Federal Way Korean American Association will continue its five-year plan to build a Korean garden in Federal Way named Hanwoori Korean Garden to allow community members to enjoy, nurture, and sustain the garden, as well as provide an opportunity for intergenerational teachings and bonding. This project will be funded at $60,000 over the next three years.
The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust is partnering with the City of Burien and the Green Burien Partnership to train local youth to support habitat restoration, trail connections, and thriving community connections at Salmon Creek Ravine Park. This project is funded at $44,925.00 over the next three years.
Friends of Normandy Park will restore 20,000 square feet of forest at Marine View Park, removing invasive species, adding biomass to the soil system, creating plant diversity, mitigating stormwater runoff, improving air quality, and creating a more sustainable biodiverse forest in Normandy Park. This project is funded at $15,682.
Friends of Saltwater State Park will hold monthly work parties to restore the habitat at Saltwater State Park, removing invasive plants, installing native plants, and conducting water quality monitoring to keep nearby communities informed of the conditions of McSorely Creek estuary. This project will take place in Des Moines and is funded at $3,310.
EarthGen will work with Highline School District middle and high school students, teachers, families, and neighbors, to make environmental improvements on three different school campuses, including developing and installing Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) such as rain gardens, native plant gardens, or bioswales. This project will take place in SeaTac, Burien, and Des Moines and is funded at $60,000 over the next three years.
Bhutanese Community Resource Center will continue its program to educate youth and senior immigrants and refugees in Tukwila about native plants and their history in the region, planting techniques, and how to reduce waste through composting. This project is funded at $16,000.
The Service Board will implement a long-term stewardship program for BIPOC and low-income youth that merges public space improvement, stewardship, and education. while planting native plants at the Duwamish Hill Preserve (DHP), in Tukwila. This project is funded at $60,000 over the next three years.
Toros Cycling Club will develop a permanent bicycle skills area and signage sharing safe bicycle riding tips at the Burien Community Center. The Club will also host classes targeting Latino community members in Burien to learn better learn how to ride bicycles and support a healthy active lifestyle. This project is funded at $19,184.
About South King County Community Impact Fund
The Environmental Grants Program is a cycle of the South King County Community Impact Fund, a $10 million fund established in 2019. The Port of Seattle established the South King County Community Impact Fund (SKCCIF) to develop equity-based partnerships and provide resources and support to historically underserved near-airport communities, addressing noise mitigation, environmental health, and sustainability.
The South King County Community Impact Fund Environmental Grants Program continues the work of the highly successful Airport Community Ecology (ACE) Fund which invested over $360,000 in 42 community-led environmental projects since 2017.