Community-led groups can now apply for Port of Seattle funding to improve the local environment in near-airport communities, the Port announced on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020.

Here are more details from the Port:

The new South King County Fund (SKCF) Environmental Grants Program supports activities such as public space improvements, equipment or artwork installations, or neighborhood or environmental stewardship projects in Burien, Des Moines, Federal Way, Normandy Park, SeaTac, and Tukwila. Proposals must be submitted by December 4, 2020. Grants awarded will be up to $20,000.

The SKCF Environmental Grants Program is a new cycle of the South King County Fund. The Fund’s first cycle, focused on economic recovery, was launched in August 2020. The SKCF Environmental Grants Program expands the reach of the successful Airport Community Ecology (ACE) program into more communities that surround Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). Communities in South King County disproportionately experience environmental harms due to a long history of inequitable land use practices and economic displacement that has pushed marginalized communities farther and farther south. With the additional health and economic impacts of COVID-19 on low-income populations and communities of color, there is a stronger than ever need for investment in South King County, where residents have less access to parks and green space than in the rest of the County.

The Port has pledged $10 million dollars in funding between now and 2023 for the South King County Fund. For the SKCF Environmental Grants Program, $435,000 of funding is available in 2020. Projects must take place on public property and demonstrate a 3:1 match, meaning every dollar awarded by the Port must be matched by three dollars from the grant recipient or project partners. The Port offers several ways to meet this match including volunteer time, attendees of public events, contact hours, lifetime environmental value of trees planted, carbon emissions reductions, in-kind contributions, contributions of project partners, and cash.

“Environmental stewardship and community investment are at the heart of our COVID-19 response and recovery strategy,” said Commissioner Stephanie Bowman. “The South King County Fund prioritizes communities most impacted by environmental justice and prioritizes equity-based investments in near-airport communities.”

The SKCF Environmental Grants Program continues the work of the ACE Fund, recognizing that neighboring communities that experience more impacts from airport operations should also experience more benefits. Since launching in 2016, the ACE Fund has provided 42 community groups with over $360,000 in small matching grants for environmental improvement projects in their communities. Past ACE awards have supported projects to restore native habitat, educate youth about environment and sustainability issues, and build and improve green stormwater infrastructure to decrease pollution. Learn more about previously-funded ACE projects.

South King County Fund
The Port of Seattle established the South King County Fund in 2019 to develop equity-based partnerships and provide resources and support to historically-underserved near-airport communities, addressing noise mitigation, environmental health and sustainability. In response to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the Port Commission added economic development as an additional focus to grant funding. The Fund’s first grant cycle, currently underway, focuses on supporting regional recovery from impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes a category for environmental improvements, in recognition that access to green space is needed now more than ever.

“During these trying times of the pandemic, our communities are spending more time outside learning, gardening, and exercising by walking in local parks. By supporting environmental projects in South King County, we strengthen communities who typically lack access to growing healthy foods and give them the opportunity to discover new relationships and learn new skills for future employment,” said Vicky Navarro, Federal Way resident.

Submit your proposal by 1 p.m. on Dec. 4, 2020.

More details and proposal materials are available at the South King County Fund Environmental Grants Program page.