Na'ah Illahee Fund
We believe that those communities disproportionately impacted by an issue or problem are best able to identify effective and equitable solutions. Through its work toward the regeneration of Indigenous communities, the Na’ah Illahee Fund exemplifies this vision of a democratic, localized, participatory system of self-governance and resource management.
An Indigenous women-led organization, the Na’ah Illahee Fund uses grantmaking, capacity-building, and culturally-grounded leadership and organizing to seek transformative change. In August, they started building the Sovereign Futures Indigenous Environmental Justice Leadership Cohort, which aims to support community-led solutions through project-based learning to address the ongoing impacts of climate change and racial inequity.
This visionary cohort of rural and urban Indigenous leaders is building and developing skills, learning organizing strategies, and forming deep alliances with each other and the broader tribal community. Each participant will create their own community-based solution around issues including environmental restoration, food sovereignty, and a regenerative economy, and then get assistance amplifying their unique plans.
RESTORE COMMUNITY CONNECTION TO PLACE
Africatown Community Land Trust
As in many other American cities, redlining helped shape Seattle’s Central District as the racist practice blocked Black home ownership throughout much of the rest of the city for decades. Despite the challenges, the majority Black Central District became a dynamic and thriving neighborhood. Gentrification, however, has been relentless, disrupting history, families, and generational wealth.
Africatown Community Land Trust (ACLT) works for community ownership of land in the Central District that can support the cultural and economic thriving of people who are part of the African diaspora in the Greater Seattle region. The ACLT board includes local real estate professionals, entrepreneurs, and long-time community members and their collective work embodies a core Front & Centered strategy of returning community connection to place.
The ACLT employs a land trust model in which a buyer purchases a house below market rate but when they sell, they must also sell at below market rate to make the home affordable to the next buyer. In one example of this approach, the Yakima Avenue Townhomes project will offer 10 of 16 new units well below market rate. Black subcontractors, who often find themselves marginalized and sidelined during Seattle’s historic construction boom, are invited to offer bids in the process. The ACLT also informs the community about ways to keep or diversify their properties, including using property as a stream of income to help afford increasing property taxes. These efforts aim to make home ownership accessible to communities of color that historically called this neighborhood home or wish to live across the Seattle region.
TRANSITION TO RENEWABLE RESOURCES AND ENERGY
Puget Sound Sage
In order for humanity to survive climate change, we must transition away from an extractive, fossil-fuel based economy towards a human-centered, renewable energy powered economy. Puget Sound Sage knows that the expertise, decision-making, and leadership of Indigenous, Black, Brown, and low-income communities are critical to the success of the effective policy-making needed to guide our region through these transformative times.
Puget Sound Sage conducted authentic outreach to hear directly from hundreds of community members about climate change, renewable energy, transportation, housing, utilities, and more. Their report, Powering the Transition: Community Priorities For a Renewable and Equitable Future, is a compilation and analysis of what they learned about our community’s top energy policy priorities.
One of these priorities is the need to make large-scale new investments in public infrastructure that promote carbon emissions reduction, support good, family wage jobs, and provide a direct benefit to Black, Indigenous, people of color, low-income households, and people with disabilities. The challenges of the COVID pandemic require immediate safety nets to be put in place. Puget Sound Sage is also focused on what comes next: collective action and crafting policy that will lead us towards a regenerative, people-centered economy.