Immigrant and refugee families taking action for the environment, park improvements and invasive weed removal, and a tree education project are among the five projects that received funding from the Port of Seattle this spring. The Port awarded the second round of grants under its Airport Community Ecology (ACE) Fund Small Matching Grants Program to assist communities around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Started last year, organizations have received over $128,000 in grants awarded by the program. For each dollar awarded under the program, recipients must demonstrate three dollars in value to the community, according to state law.
“The ACE Fund reflects the Port’s strong commitment to improving the environment for communities impacted by airport operations,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Peter Steinbrueck. “We are excited to see that the Small Matching Grants Program has inspired so many passionate neighbors to get involved in their communities.”
Commissioner Steinbrueck added, “We had great success with the first round of funding last year. We’ve seen neighbors coming together to produce healthy food for each other, restore our urban forests, and reduce plastics pollution in our watershed. This program has offered a springboard for innovation and collaboration between the Port, cities and community members of SeaTac, Burien, and Des Moines.”
The Airport Community Ecology (ACE) Fund offers grants to organizations to improve the natural environment through projects and programs that improve livability in near-airport communities.
The $1 million ACE Fund was authorized by the Port of Seattle Commission in November 2016 in recognition that neighboring communities that experience more impacts from airport operations should also experience additional benefits. The Commission directed that the program support environmental projects and programs in the cities of Burien, Des Moines and SeaTac.
One of the awardees selected during this grant cycle is the non-profit, Southwest Youth and Family Services. The New Futures Farm project provides healthy food education by teaching families how to build and maintain community gardens in low-income housing areas in Burien and SeaTac. Lorna Velasco, New Futures Director, said, “The ACE Fund has allowed us to get our gardens started in time for all our families and students to enjoy during the summer. We are truly grateful for the Port’s time and investment in our communities.”
A total of $550,000 in the ACE Fund Small Matching Grants Program will be distributed to community organizations over the course of three years (2017-2020). The current grant cycle closes late September. The next grant cycle will begin in January 2019 with awards to be distributed in the spring. Visit the ACE Fund website to view the application form and learn more.
Here are the specific grant recipients and their projects:
- New Futures Farm, Southwest Youth, and Family Services, Burien and SeaTac ($10,000).
This project provides healthy food education by teaching families how to build and maintain a community garden in low-income housing areas in Burien and SeaTac.
- Engaging Trees Speaker Series, SoCo Culture, all three cities ($2,350).
The speaker series will engage residents in the three cities with educational programming on the environmental and cultural benefits of trees, urban forests, and their preservation.
- N. SeaTac Park Improvements, Discovering Open Spaces, SeaTac ($10,000).
This project will improve the quality of the N. SeaTac Park’s recreational value by supporting native vegetation, litter control, and installing new disc golf field equipment.
- ADA Inclusive Play Equipment Installation, Gregory Heights Parent Teacher Student Association, Burien ($10,000).
Grant funds will be used to acquire ADA Inclusive park improvements at Gregory Heights Elementary School to provide recreational opportunities to neighborhood youth and adults who experience limited physical abilities and concentration challenges.
- SeaTac Ethnic Community Ecology Connections, Partner in Employment, SeaTac ($10,000).
The grant will provide culturally relevant engagement with SeaTac refugee and immigrant communities to inspire environmental education, organize community cleanup events, and increase capacity for small businesses to practice environmental sustainability.
Sea-Tac Airport Media