Applications are open for awards up to $100,000 through the new Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund for community-led projects to reignite the local economy.
Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and the Seattle Office of Economic Development (OED) announced the Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund, which will support community-led strategies such as public and commercial space activation, digital equity, outreach and other economic recovery projects to respond to the specific economic and community needs of neighborhoods across Seattle, with an intentional focus on racial equity. In total, the Office of Economic Development will invest more than $6 million through direct grants to neighborhood business district organizations and other community-based organizations through a public request for proposal.
Through the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund established under the American Rescue Plan Act, $1.2 million is available through the request for proposal process. Eligible applicants include business, community, cultural or arts organizations, cultural districts, and small businesses such as community event producers, artists, consultants or a collection of individuals supporting neighborhood strategies with broadly shared benefits. Grants will fund recovery strategies and activities such as:
- Public and commercial space activations, including outdoor seating, retail/vendor markets, public art displays, music events, community events and commercial space pop-ups.
- Digital equity projects, such as neighborhood digital marketplaces for local small businesses.
- Communications infrastructure development to create websites, social media platforms, and contact databases to circulate community news and resources. These must share information local businesses and events to spur economic and social activity within a neighborhood.
- Physical improvements in neighborhoods, such as lighting, sidewalk cleaning, murals, or façade to improve the quality of a neighborhoods physical space for the benefit of businesses, residents and visitors.
- Community safety projects, including business block watches and community organizing.
- Outreach to support businesses and connect them additional resources such as technical assistance and building partnerships between community organizations, service providers and residents.
- Other economic recovery projects that are specific to a particular neighborhood’s needs.
“The inequities and disparities we saw exacerbated by COVID were seen in the experiences of individuals and families and collectively at the neighborhood level,” said Pamela Banks, Interim Director of Office of Economic Development. “In order for Seattle to have a truly inclusive economy, we must provide substantial recovery investments for our neighborhoods — particularly those who experienced the greatest economic, health and social devastation — to help our communities, businesses, and residents recover and thrive. This investment seeks to do just that by partnering with our organizations already doing this work and welcoming the new ideas of others that are willing and ready to contribute to our collective recovery efforts!”
Eligible applicants can submit project proposals to the Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund RFP for awards up to $100,000. Selection of awardees and final grant amounts will be based on the following criteria:
- Equity: Projects serving highest COVID-impacted and high-displacement risk neighborhoods and/or projects focusing support for Black, Indigenous and people of color businesses and communities.
- Neighborhood Economic Recovery: Projects helping businesses and communities recover economically from COVID impacts and stimulating economic activity.
- Community Supported: Projects with community support and directly benefiting the community.
Proposals are due to by Wednesday, October 7, 2021, at 5 p.m.
The Seattle Office of Economic Development will also host three information sessions for interested applicants to describe the intent of this funding opportunity and answer questions regarding eligible activities, the application process and how to use the online grant portal. The online information sessions will be hosted on Webex. You can register in advance to receive reminders. The password for all meetings is NERF.
- Information Session 1 – Rescheduled for August 31, 2021, 12-1 p.m. (UPDATED LINK)
- Information Session 2 – September 8, 2021, 6-7 p.m.
- Information Session 3 – September 21, 2021, 10-11 a.m.
If you need accommodations, assistance or interpretation to complete the application or at the information session, please contact the Seattle Office of Economic Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 684-8090.