The Port of Seattle Commission recently approved funding for two key programs to help speed economic recovery and sustainability projects, including some in South King County.

Fourteen organizations serving South King County communities have been recommended to receive nearly $218,000 in Port of Seattle environmental grants, while the Economic Development Partnership program was approved for up to $930,000 slated for cities in King County. Cities will use the funding to boost local recovery efforts including help for impacted small businesses.

The Port’s South King County Fund program continues the work of the Airport Community Ecology (ACE) Fund, which has invested over $360,000 in 42 airport-area, community-led environmental projects since 2017.

“For the second time in less than a year, the Port of Seattle is helping drive economic recovery with grants benefitting jobs and the environment in some of the most impacted communities and businesses in King County,” said Fred Felleman, Port of Seattle Commission President. “It is particularly rewarding to see how the Port was able to reach underserved communities with these strategic investments.”

Here’s more from the Port:

“This grant means a lot to not only our community but also for the broader community,” said Kamal Adhikari of the Bhutanese Community Resource Center, one of the South King County Fund environmental grant recipients. “We will be working on creating green canopy and a safe and clean park to play. It will be a beautiful place for our generation to come. Community can thrive only if there is clean water to drink, healthy food to eat, safe and clean park to play, and fresh air to breathe.”

“The Port of Seattle funding and leadership from the five Startup 425 cities helped Business Impact Northwest work with over 660 small businesses across Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond, and Renton in 2020 including many women-owned and BIPOC owned firms,” said Joe Sky-Tucker, President and CEO of Business Impact NW. “To meet the urgent needs from the pandemic, the Port of Seattle funding helped us expand needed business assistance services and offer business counseling in multiple languages to better serve communities in need.”

South King County Fund Grants
The selected South King County Fund Environmental Grants projects reflect the rich diversity in South King County and demonstrate the Port’s commitment to community-led environmental improvements in the near-airport cities that have been hit hardest by COVID-19.

The new South King County Fund Environmental Grants Program centers community equity and has revolutionized how the Port works with communities to improve access to funding opportunities. Throughout 2020, the Port worked with a group of multicultural, multilingual liaisons to identify and remove barriers to participation by co-creating grant materials and training liaisons to conduct community outreach to promote the grant opportunity. The result of all this hard work by liaisons is a list of inspiring, community-led projects that will improve parks and public spaces throughout South King County.

The Port of Seattle established the South King County Fund in 2018 to develop equity-based partnerships and provide resources and support in historically underserved, ethnically, and culturally diverse near-airport communities. The Port has pledged $10 million dollars in funding over five years for the South King County Fund.

14 Environmental Grant Recipients:

Federal Way Korean American Association
Federal Way Korean Garden
Hill Top Park Restoration and Community Engagement
Multicultural Self-Sufficiency Movement
Community Garden
Highline Botanical Garden Foundation
Seike Japanese Garden Expansion
Bridging Cultural Gaps
Raising an Environmentally Conscious Generation
Friends of Normandy Park Foundation
Marine View Park Forest Restoration
Bhutanese Community Resource Center
Engaging and Empowering Bhutanese Community to Local Public Spaces
Environmental Science Center Beach Heroes
Fostering Stewardship for Nearshore Habitat
Congolese Basketball
Park Improvement and Immigrant Inclusion Project
Summer Search
Expanding Environmental Justice Education and Service Learning
New Start Community Garden
Art for New Start Community Garden Fence
Puget Soundkeeper Alliance
South KC Community Stewardship Project
Partner in Employment
Youth-Led Park Restoration and Community Clean-Up
Tilth Alliance
Soil and Water Stewardship Training


Here’s a story map for a name, location, and description of organization and work being done in our communities.

Learn more about the South King County Fund Environmental Grants Program.

The grant contracts are up to $20,000 and will last for one year. Projects are conducted in close coordination with the neighboring cities of Burien, Des Moines, Federal Way, Normandy Park, SeaTac, and Tukwila, and in many cases directly link to strategic Urban Forest Management Plans through Forterra’s Green City Partnerships program. The goal of this program, which the Port previously invested in through the ACE Fund, is to sustain and improve urban forest canopy. Community groups will now have the opportunity to learn about and contribute to healthy urban forests, improving the environment for both people and nature.

Economic Development Partnership

The 2021 grant partnership with King County cities will focus on initiatives that advance COVID-19 economic recovery. “It’s more important than ever to help small, women and minority-owned businesses keep their doors while we weather this economic storm,” said Port of Seattle Commission President, Fred Felleman. “The fact that the Port’s grants were able to help leverage federal matching funds for those most in need makes it a particularly rewarding investment.” Staff will work with city partners to implement projects this year that help small businesses rebound and stay open, drive buy-local efforts, promote local (safe) tourism activities, and support impacted workers.

Last year, The Port of Seattle Economic Development Partnership (EDP) program funding helped cities communicate and provide technical support to get grants and other forms of pandemic assistance to small businesses. Some projects supported direct technical assistance for businesses such as the (Re)Startup425 helping local businesses apply for Payment Protection Loans or Burien, Covington, and Tukwila funding technical support from local chambers of commerce. The cities of Enumclaw, Mercer Island, Burien, Pacific, Redmond, SeaTac, Tukwila, and Woodinville used funds to outreach to local businesses about pandemic aid programs.

The Economic Development Partnership (EDP) program builds alliances with King County cities to advance economic development broadly across the region. The program, funded by the Port property tax levy, provides cities $5,000 – $60,000 grants to implement economic development projects that tie to the Port’s business interests. The Port requires a 50% match (up to 25% monetary match and 25% in-kind resources match) to ensure cities are also committed to project success.

The Port of Seattle Commission created the Economic Development Partnership (EDP) program in 2016 to advance local economic development in partnership with cities in King County. Over the past four grant cycles (2016 – 2020), city grant partners have implemented projects that advanced economic diversification, local business development, company attraction, planning and feasibility studies, tourism, and workforce development.


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