The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) is pleased to announce the results of the 2019 Food Access Opportunity Fund Request for Proposals (RFP) that closed on March 6. Applicants were invited to improve healthy food access by investing in community-based projects designed and led by the people most impacted by race, social, health, and environmental injustices.
The RFP guides the investment of $800,000 from the Food Access Opportunity Fund. This funding is provided by the City of Seattle’s Sweetened Beverage Tax (SBT) — established by City Council (Ordinance 125324) — and aligns with the SBT Community Advisory Board’s (CAB) Operating Principles:
- Priority populations – Projects and activities should focus on reaching communities of color, immigrants, refugees, people with low income, youth and young adults, and English language learners.
- Place-based focus areas – Projects and activities should be located in areas where communities of color, immigrants, refugees, people with low income, and English language learners live, work, play, worship or go to school.
- Community-driven – Projects and activities should be led by community-based organizations with continuous connections to the focus population or community.
- Culturally-responsive – Projects and activities should be culturally responsive and delivered in ways that are accessible and comfortable for the focus population or community.
- Prevention-oriented – Projects and activities should focus on health equity by preventing sugary drink consumption and educating people about the chronic conditions caused by sugary drinks.
HSD received 24 eligible applications that were reviewed by a committee whose members have experience with food systems and food equity, as well as working with communities of color, immigrant and refugee populations, and low-income communities. The panel was gender, age and ethnically diverse and included representatives from the African American, Latinx, Native American, Caucasian, and immigrant communities.
The committee recommended 18 proposals receive funding, up to $50,000 each, to support a diverse range of organizations:
- South Park Information and Resource Center
- Indigenous Roots, LLC
- Somali Family Safety Task Force
- African Community Housing & Development
- Black Dollar Days Task Force
- East African Community Services
- Puentes: Advocacy, Counseling & Education
- Rainier Beach Action Coalition
- Avole Coffee, LLC
- Hip Hop is Green
- First Tongan Seniors Association
- Eritrean Association in Greater Seattle
- Vietnamese Friendship Association
- Hunger Intervention Program
- Puget Sound Labor Agency
- Temple Lifestyle
- American Polynesian Organization
“On behalf of the Sweetened Beverage Tax Community Advisory Board, we congratulate the first grantees of the new Food Access Opportunity Fund,” said Christina Wong, Advisory Board Co-Chair. “We are excited to see the Sweetened Beverage Tax revenue supporting grassroots, community-led efforts to improve healthy food access in communities most affected by racial and economic inequities. We look forward to learning from your innovative and tailored strategies.”
The funding will support a number of efforts such as urban farming and increased access to healthy foods, farm stands, strategies to reduce sugary drink consumption, and healthy food and nutrition education focused on youth to seniors and students to families from diverse communities across Seattle.