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HSD Announces Funding Awards to Address Racism and Intolerance Toward the API Community

The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) is pleased to announce the results of the Asian and Pacific Islander Resiliency RFP which closed July 26, 2021.

Young Asian woman in cultural costume in foreground with line of Asian women standing behind her ready to perform
Courtesy: Seattle Municipal Archives, Hing Hay Park expansion and re-opening – March 24 2018

In response to the racism and intolerance toward the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Seattle City Council passed Ordinance 126308 which allocated $300,000 in one-time funding to HSD to contract with Community Based Organizations (CBOs)  and volunteer-led grassroots organizations to help support API community resiliency.

This expedited, low-barrier process, started with community conversations in April followed by the release of the Request for Proposal (RFP) in early June. The RFP identified the following desired goals:

  1. People understand racism;
  2. People feel safe;
  3. Communities are supported; and
  4. Communities are unified.

The review committee consisted of 15 members representing diverse perspectives and experiences, including lived experience from the API community. The majority of the committee were community members and others were from other city and county departments, non-profit organizations and retirees affiliated with Aging and Disability Services. Members worked, or previously worked, in various sectors, and/or led their organizations’ equity teams. Some were also current or former board members of API-focused organizations.

HSD received 37 applications totaling $1,438,888 in requested funds. Successful applications clearly aligned proposed activities with the goals of the RFP. Organizations could request up to $50,000 in funding. The application also asked if organizations would like to receive funding if they were not able to receive their full requests; and to identify the minimum amount of funding needed to deliver services proposed in their RFP response. The funding recommendations considered total requests as well as organizations’ minimum requests.

Eight organizations received funding:

  • Kandelia
  • Khmer Community of Seattle King County
  • Massage Parlor Outreach Project
  • South Park Senior Citizens
  • South Seattle Emerald
  • Southwest Youth and Family Services
  • United Communities of Laos
  • UTOPIA (United Territories of Pacific Islanders’ Alliance) Washington

Khmer Community of Seattle King County is grateful to be selected for funding,” wrote Thyda Ros, their Executive Director. “Since resettlement in the U.S., the Khmer community has experienced many health and access disparities that have gone unrecognized and unaddressed, leaving many of our elders, families, and youth very vulnerable.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic worsened, anti-Asian violence increased, and existing disparities exacerbated, our vulnerable community members have resorted to living in fear in order to survive. This resurgence of survival mode has weakened their ability to stand up for themselves, their families, and neighbors.

Thyda Ros, Khmer Community of Seattle King County Executive Director

“With this funding, we plan to deepen our community engagement through various hands-on and engaging intergenerational activities, as a way to uplift one another, build courage from within, and ultimately realize an empowered Khmer community,” continued Ros.

United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance (UTOPIA) is a queer and trans people of color-led, grassroots organization born out of the struggles, challenges, strength, and resilience of the Queer and Trans Pacific Islander (QTPI – “Q-T-pie”) community in South King County. Funding will support their Talanoa dialogues, incorporating community conversations with a celebration of Pacific Islander culture. It’s a space for Pacific Islanders to feel safe while sharing their struggles and motivating change rooted in their needs.

“When we share our culture, we build understanding, increase visibility and promote safety of Pasifika People,” shared Tepatasi Vaina, Program Director. “When we are safe, we are empowered and our communities thrive.”

Contracts are expected to begin this month. For more information about this RFP, please contact Angela Miyamoto, RFP Coordinator, at