Mayor Jenny Durkan Announces Recipients of the Neighborhood Economic Recovery Grants
SEATTLE (December 16, 2021) – Mayor Durkan and the Seattle Office of Economic Development announce the grant recipients of the Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund.
In August, Mayor Durkan announced more than $6 million in neighborhood recovery funding through the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (CLFRF) established under the American Rescue Plan Act. (ARPA). Funding was invested through both direct grants to neighborhood business district organizations and public request for proposals (RFP) to support community driven solutions from a broader range of eligible applicants including business organizations, community organizations, cultural districts, cultural organizations, arts organizations, small businesses such as community event producers, artists, consultants, or a collection of individuals supporting neighborhood strategies with broadly shared benefits.
From the neighborhood funding, $1.35 million was set aside for the Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund (NERF) RFP to support community-led strategies to reignite the local economy with an intentional focus on promoting racial equity. Neighborhoods are drivers of local economies, supporting local entrepreneurship, employment, and wealth creation and therefore a key driver of equitable economic recovery from the pandemic.
“Neighborhood business districts in Seattle are the heart of our neighborhoods and centers of community, commerce and culture, which is why we quickly directed federal funding to established business districts who have been working tirelessly to extend lifelines to local businesses and revitalize our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Durkan. “The Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund RFP opens up participation in recovery efforts to even more community-driven and arts and culture activities, particularly organizations that lead with equity, and we congratulate the awardees.”
“As we developed our framework for economic recovery in Seattle, we knew that we could not direct all focus and resources to downtown exclusively—as our neighborhoods and neighborhood commercial cores across the city were also devastated by COVID. We also knew that in order to have thriving communities, we would need to be intentional and center these investments in projects that not only stimulated economic activity—but also served our communities that were disproportionately impacted by COVID—particularly Black, Indigenous and other communities of color.” said Pamela Banks, Interim Director of the Office of Economic Development. “Through our neighborhood investments we are supporting community solutions that will help us holistically recover. I am amazed at the innovative ideas from our Seattle community and believe these projects will help create a better Seattle.”
To address the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health measures had on neighborhoods and our local economy, the Neighborhood Economic Recovery Investment will fund recovery strategies and activities such as:
· Public and commercial space activations, like, outdoor seating, retail/vendor markets, public art displays, music events, community events and commercial space popups
· Digital equity projects, such as neighborhood digital marketplaces for local small businesses
· Communications infrastructure development, to create websites, social media platforms, and contact databases to circulate community news and resources, and share information about local businesses and events to spur economic and social activity within a neighborhood
· Physical Improvements in Neighborhoods, such as lighting, sidewalk cleaning, murals, façade to improve the quality of a neighborhoods physical space for the benefit of businesses, residents, and visitors
· Community safety projects, such as business block watches, and community organizing
· Outreach to support businesses and connect them to technical assistance, support residents, and build partnerships between community organizations, service providers, etc., and
· Other economic recovery projects that are specific to a particular neighborhood’s needs.
Selection of awardees and final grant amounts were based on:
· Equity: Projects serving highest COVID-impacted and high-displacement risk neighborhoods and/or projects focusing support for Black, Indigenous and people of color businesses and communities.
· Neighborhood Economic Recovery: Projects helping businesses and communities recover economically from COVID impacts and stimulating economic activity.
· Community Supported: Projects directed by and directly benefiting the community.
“As soon as the pandemic hit in early March 2020, the leadership board of the Central Area Collaborative (CAC) decided to give direct funding to small businesses with no strings attached,” said Dennis Comer, Executive Director of CAC. “We knew then that our community of color would be hit the hardest and last in line for any economic relief caused by the pandemic. The CAC is honored to be recognized as the Central Area neighborhoods organization of choice and we are grateful for being continually entrusted with stewardship of public funds at any level and for being allowed to continue the advocacy for equitable access in economic development recovery in a post pandemic role as a testament to our early actions helping to quantify the needs.”
“Supporting our under-resourced entrepreneurs and small businesses, especially BIPOC-owned enterprises, is so critical at this time, so they not only survive through COVID, but are positioned to thrive. This leads to a vibrant local economy and flourishing neighborhoods.” said B.J. Stewart, Chief Operations Officer, Urban Impact.
“We are incredibly grateful and excited to be the recipient of the Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund. This grant will have a big impact in bringing people back to the neighborhood and revitalize small businesses by helping us improve safety and sanitation of the 12th Ave Square Park and the adjacent streets. We can’t wait to get started!” Teresa Nguyen, BaBar Co-Owner, 12th Ave Recovery Collaborative.
Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund Request for Proposals award recipients include:
"The City's Neighborhood Economic Recovery Grant is a lifeline that will allow us to build on the resilience of the people who live, work and play in the U District," said Maureen Ewing, Executive Director of the University Heights Center. "Throughout the pandemic the U District lost dozens of our long-standing small businesses due to the dramatic 66% decrease in foot traffic and other issues exacerbated by the pandemic. With the City of Seattle's support, a collaboration of U District businesses and nonprofit organizations will steward this generous grant to have a tangible impact in supporting our eclectic small businesses, over 65% of whom are woman-and-BIPOC-owned, to continue to thrive." Maureen Ewing, Executive Director, University Heights
Visit the OED website to review the full funding amounts of all direct grant recipients, RFP awardees, and descriptions of all funded projects.
OED continues to invest in economic recovery supports for small businesses, workers, and neighborhoods. In addition to the Neighborhood Recovery Investments, OED has invested $4 million in stabilization grants for small businesses, announced a $2 million expansion to the Small Business Stabilization Fund to support small businesses and non-profits required to enforce vaccination verification in King County, launched Shop to the Beat—a recovery program that matches local musicians with small retail businesses to provide in-store performances during peak business hours, help increase foot traffic and sales for retailers, and provide competitive pay for musicians who lost significant income due to the impacts of COVID-19, and recently launched Seattle Restored—a new program focused on activating vacant commercial storefronts in Downtown Seattle neighborhoods such as Westlake, Belltown, Pioneer Square, and Chinatown-International District (CID).