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Airport Community Ecology (ACE) Fund

What is the Airport Community Ecology Fund?

The Airport Community Ecology (ACE) Fund, authori​zed by the Port of Seattle Commission in November 2016, recognizes that neighboring communities that experience more impacts from airport operations should also experience more benefits. The Commission directed that the program support environmental projects and programs in the cities of SeaTac, Burien and Des Moines.

To ensure maximum environmental benefit to communities, the ACE Fund takes a two-pronged approach. The brand new Small Matching Grants Program offers community members of SeaTac, Burien, and Des Moines the chance to apply for Port funding to improve the local environment. In addition, the cities of SeaTac, Burien and Des Moines can benefit from the Ecology Fund through the Green Cities Partnership.

Small Matching Grants Program

Q: What is the Small Matching Grants Program?

In fall 2017, the Port awarded the first grants under its new Airport Community Ecology (ACE) Fund Small Matching Grants Program. Eleven organizations received a share of $85,900 in grants to support environmental projects and programs in the cities of SeaTac, Burien and Des Moines.

Q: Who can submit a grant proposal?

Local community organizations, chambers of commerce, service organizations, youth or athletic associations, or other associations located in or providing services in the cities of SeaTac, Burien and Des Moines. Unincorporated neighborhood groups may apply as long as they find a fiscal sponsor that will manage the grant on their behalf. A non-profit not licensed in the eligible cities may apply if their project demonstrates that the impact benefits residents in SeaTac, Burien, and or Des Moines.

Q: What kind of projects are eligible?

The downloadable application provides more detail. In short, projects must meet these criteria:

  • Applicant is an eligible organization
  • Project benefits residents in the cities of SeaTac, Burien and or Des Moines
  • Project accomplishes specific, measurable outcomes
  • Project shows a match of 3:1 the grant value (through funding, volunteer labor, donated materials, supplies, and/or professional services) 

Q: How will the grants be awarded?

A seven-member panel, consisting of Port staff and representatives from each of the three cities will evaluate each application.

Q: How much will be awarded through the program?

The Small Matching Grants Program will distribute a total of $550,000 in small grants over the course of three years (2017-2020). Individual award amounts will not exceed $10,000 per grant cycle.

Q: What are some examples of past winners?

ACE Awardees

Fall 2017 recipients included:

  • Farmbot – Ecotech in an Urban Garden, Key Tech Labs, Des Moines. This project will combine STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and healthy food education by teaching youth how to build a robot which will tend a community garden in Des Moines’ high poverty area of Pacific Ridge.
  • Beach HeroesEnvironmental Science Center, all cities. Grant will sustain program’s ability to partner with Highline School District teachers to bring 1,200 students to an education center at Burien’s Seahurst Park.
  • Making Burien AwesomeZero Waste Washington, Burien. This project will create a litter assessment tool, test and refine the tool during cleanup events, produce waste reduction educational materials and conduct outreach to motivate residents to reduce their plastic waste and littering to protect stormwater and freshwater pathways flowing into Puget Sound.
  • Futurewiseall cities. This program aims at increasing Highline Public Schools students’ understanding of stormwater, reduce behaviors contributing to pollution and inspire stewardship long-term by providing hands-on, experiential education.
  • Neighborhood Heritage GardenHighline Botanical Garden Foundation, SeaTac. Grant funds will support the development of a neighborhood history research project that will inform the design of the new Neighborhood Heritage Garden.
  • Puget Sound Environmental SculptureDes Moines Legacy Foundation, Des Moines. The grant enables the Foundation to collaborate with a local artist and community partners to create a public art sculpture to be located on the Des Moines waterfront.
  • Invasive Weed Removal and Awareness CampaignFriends of Saltwater State Park, Des Moines. This project aims to remove invasive ivy and other species that are taking over Saltwater State Park and create a community awareness campaign regarding healthy environmental stewardship in Des Moines.
  • Midway Park & Play Area RestorationDes Moines Rotary Foundation, Des Moines. The grant provides funds that enable volunteers to repair and maintain park equipment to enhance the beauty and recreational value of the park for youth and families to enjoy.​ 

Q: How can I learn more about applying for one of the Small Matching Grants?

The Application document offers instructions, eligibility requirements, criteria and scoring information, suggestions for meeting the 3:1 required match, and submission guidelines. A new application will be released January 2018 for the next round of funding.

Examples of projects may include, but are not limited to: habitat restoration parties, environmental education events, public amenity improvements (interpretive signage, public art), neighborhood clean-ups, landscape and stormwater infrastructure, community gardens, renewable energy investments, greenhouse gas reduction awareness campaigns, environmental improvements to a public building, strategic planning for environmental stewardship, or others.

Q: My question isn’t answered on the website. How do I learn more?

Look at our FAQs about the ACE Fund Small Matching Grants Program!​​​​​​ If you have further questions about the program or would like to get involved with the Green Cities Partnership, you may send them by email to:​​​​

Green Cities Partnership

Q: What is the Green Cities Partnership?

Healthy forested parks and green spaces have the power to strengthen neighborhoods, provide safe access to nature and offer numerous benefits and “green services“ to our cities.  Without a coordinated effort to restore and care for our urban parks, we are at risk of losing the many benefits these forests and natural areas provide. The Port and local cities are partnering with Forterra, a local non-profit organization, to launch the Green Cities Partnership Program in SeaTac, Burien, and Des Moines. Already active in nine other cities in our region, the Green Cities Partnership supports a lasting, community-based urban forestry program in each city.

Q: How can I get involved?

If you would like to participate in the Green Cities Partnership as it gets started in SeaTac, Burien, and Des Moines, email us at
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