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There are two funding opportunities available:


Metropolitan King County Council has approved additional, critical funding for legal assistance available to support immigrant and refugees in King County. The appropriation of $250,000 is added to the $300,000 passed by the Council on April 17, 2017, bringing the County’s total investment in legal assistance for immigrants and refugees in 2017 to $550,000. This funding has been made available, in partnership and coordination with the City of Seattle, to non-profit organizations that provide legal representation services and community navigation services for legal representation to King County residents who are in detention, facing deportation or in danger of losing their immigration status.

“Our work to support these communities, integral to the economic, social and cultural fabric of our region, will never be finished,” said Council Chair Joe McDermott. “This additional investment by the county to support legal services for immigrants and refugees is incredibly important in the face of increased divisive rhetoric and actions by the current Presidential Administration. Everyone who lives in King County should feel safe and welcome, and this investment will help those who are most vulnerable.”

The total investment to support immigrants and refugees by King County in 2017 now totals $1,000,000 which includes the Resilience Fund developed in partnership with the Seattle Foundation and additional funding for community organizations to develop culturally appropriate educational and informational materials for the diverse immigrant and refugee communities in King County.

Up to $1.45 million will be awarded to one or more agencies for legal representation, and up to $100,000 for Community Navigation services, to one or more agencies.

These grants will be awarded for a term of 15 months, from September 30, 2017 to December 31, 2018. The submission deadline is 5 pm, July 12, 2017.

For more information please click here to read the RFP for Legal Services Fund. And click here to read the RFP for Community Navigators Services.

Please contact Katherine Cortes, Finance & Operations Manager, Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, for any questions related to the application process. Applicants may email questions until 5 pm, July 5, 2017.


From the office of King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci, grants are now available to support sports programs and physical fitness activities serving the residents of King County Council District 6. The goal of Get Active/Stay Active Grants is to help youth, adults and seniors participate in physical activities that promote health and wellbeing.  Grants are expected to range between $10,000 and $25,000, although amounts outside that range will be considered.  Please complete and submit the attached application form by July 10, 2017.  Funds will be distributed on a competitive basis.

Eligibility Requirements

Local government organizations and 501(c)3 organizations are eligible to apply.

Types of programs:  Grant proceeds can be used for a wide variety of programs, but must involve amateur sports or physical fitness activities.  Examples include organized team sports, fitness programs, physical activities for youth, seniors or people with disabilities and many others.

Types of expenses:

  • Program implementation costs such as coaching, space rentals, etc.
  • Camp and program fee scholarships
  • Athletic and fitness equipment
  • General operating costs, to a limited extent and only if linked to specific programs
  • Capital projects are eligible

Service area:

Programs must serve residents of King County District 6, which includes all of Mercer Island, Beaux Arts, Medina, Clyde Hill, Hunts Point, and Yarrow Point and parts of Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Bothell, Woodinville and the Sammamish Valley.  If you do not know whether your service area includes District 6, King County provides a district finder based on mailing address.

How to Apply

By July 10, 2017, email a cover letter and a completed application form to

If you have questions, please contact Joe Cunningham at the email above or by phone at 206-477-7774.

Additional information or a tour may be requested after applications have been received.

Successful applicants will complete a contract with the King County Parks and Recreation Division, which administers the funds.  Funds should be available in the late Fall of 2017.

Physical activity is essential to our health and wellbeing and I am excited to see what we can do as a community to encourage people to Get Active and Stay Active!

Spotlight on AG Bell Elementary School in Kirkland, WA

By Debbie Lacy

“As a team, we decided to hold ourselves accountable, stop making excuses, and do the work.”

Heidi Paul, Principal at AG Bell Elementary (Photo credit: Debbie Lacy)

When Heidi Paul came to take over as Principal at AG Bell Elementary School in Kirkland five years ago, she was told by staff that it was a “misfit” school. One of the most diverse schools in the district, it was suffering from poor achievement and challenging disciplinary problems. While it lost its Title I school status years before, 40% of students were on free/reduced lunch.

Since then, the economic demographics of the neighboring community have shifted. Although fewer children are on free and reduced lunch, there’s a wide range of income levels – from children who are homeless to those from very high income families.

One of the first things Paul did was an audit. She listened closely, asking questions about the students, teachers, and parents. “I discovered well intended teachers lowering the bar of achievement and thinking they were helping. No one had ill intent but we weren’t seeing the big picture.”

Paul said she became more and more concerned that less dominant groups continued to track behind their peers.

Around that same time, Paul adopted a biracial daughter. She witnessed her daughter’s experiences of bias out in the community. As a white woman, Paul’s eyes were opening more and more to the reality of prejudice and racism.

The Challenges: Instructional Approaches and Cultural Competency

Paul realized early on that “this work is going to require us to be vulnerable in sharing data and acknowledging our challenges in reaching students.”

Two focus areas emerged: teachers’ instructional approaches and cultural competency. Paul admits she started with instruction first, as it was an area she felt more familiar with and confident about. “We were working so hard, but we weren’t unified in our approach. We started to collectively focus on the same research-based strategies to ensure more effective growth.”

“Instead of each of us running a marathon (to help students), we’re all in the same boat.”

Paul led the staff to root its efforts in success criteria where students were actively engaged in their own learning process. They were supported in knowing what they had mastered, what they were currently working on, and what was coming next in their learning.

Paul tells the story of a low-income Vietnamese student who was struggling academically and getting into trouble regularly. Paul told her staff: “We’re not going to harp on parents not helping at home.” They placed the boy in a pilot program at the school using the new strategies.

One day, he came to Paul’s office, full of excitement and emotion. “Ms. Paul, I’m proficient in math!” When she congratulated him and asked how he had accomplished this, he pulled out the success criteria and said, “I realized I’m not dumb. I just needed to learn how to factor.”

“We started celebrating little moments,” Paul explained.

The Transformation

“Two years ago, I was becoming even more culturally aware and getting more concerned, watching my daughter struggle.” One day Paul was helping her daughter with a writing assignment. The teen was overwhelmed and frustrated, ready to give up. Paul kept asking questions, trying to find out how she could help. “It’s because I’m the only Black kid in the class,” her daughter finally said.

“And I said, ‘Why does that matter?’, which was the worst response. Of course it mattered.” Paul pauses after sharing this vulnerable moment as a parent, then continues, saying, “And I was seeing all my beautiful brown students sitting in my hallway for disciplinary reasons. Why?”

Paul said, “We were setting goals but not making any real progress.” Teachers had been focusing on the popular growth mindset approach and grit, but not seeing any difference in outcomes for the students whose struggles were painfully predictable.

It was time to address the root problems – not in the students, but in themselves as educators.

Paul pushed back when she heard comments that amounted to placing the blame on the students or their families. “I used data from other schools that were doing better with their minority kids.  As a team, we decided to hold ourselves accountable, stop making excuses, and do the work.”

Paul formed a leadership committee. They did a learning walk at a school that had a larger African American population than Bell. They read every word of Anthony Muhammed’s Overcoming the Achievement Gap Trap. The committee decided that they couldn’t wait for district-based trainings to help solve their problems. Paul took it upon herself to learn more and sought outside resources such as Boston’s Deep Equity conference.

From that training and all the materials they read, the message was clear and consistent: “Teachers need to work on themselves – their own awareness – first, before they even start planning for the students.”

Paul shared she was nervous and unsure, but committed to the real work ahead. She and a teacher team led her staff through cultural competency training and activities, engaging them in dialogue that was painful at times.

At this point in the interview, Paul invited me to follow her into the hallway outside her office – a place where students, parents, and staff routinely pass by.

She showed me large papers where she and her staff posted work related to their awareness building. This year, they completed a 3-part cultural responsiveness training. Handwritten notes name their struggles with bias, their wishes and hopes for themselves and their students, and their commitments.

The Tip of the Iceberg

As Paul shared her efforts and the success that’s followed, she was quick to say, “None of us feels like an expert. Before, we were trying to say being inclusive is ‘we’re all the same,’ and we had a lot of work to do. We still do.” Paul mentions the predominantly white staff and PTSA board and the need to be aware so they can better connect with – and involve – immigrant families, among other goals.

But, their work is paying off.

In 2016 Bell Elementary won the Washington Achievement Award for closing the achievement gap for Latino students. To win this award, a school has to demonstrate at least a 10% decrease in the gap. (Bell was the only school in East King  County, including the Lake Washington, Bellevue, and Issaquah School districts, to win this award in 2016 for its work with Latino students.)

Lake Washington is engaged in a range of efforts to address both the achievement and opportunity gaps. Paul prefers to emphasize the latter, stressing that the onus is on educators to ensure opportunities are equitable.

One of the exercises her team participated in and also brought to students involved the iceberg metaphor. The tip of the iceberg is what we see about others based solely on outward appearance and the assumptions we make from first impressions. The largest part of the iceberg is beneath the surface and invisible, holding the beauty and complexity of each person’s unique life experiences.

Paul and her team are taking the courageous and necessary steps that allow them to see the full picture – not just the entirety of each individual student, but the complex reality of the systemic issues that contribute to outcome disparities for students.

Under the direction of Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce, Lake Washington recently assembled a District Equity Team comprised of staff and administrators, parents, and community members. Its work will get underway in the fall.


Debbie Lacy is the Co-Founder and Director of the Eastside Refugee and Immigrant Coalition, which supports East King County municipalities, organizations, and schools in fulfilling their commitments to creating inclusive, welcoming, and equitable communities. Debbie’s son attends AG Bell Elementary.

Pull Together: A panel discussion about the Kinder Morgan pipeline and its threat to the Salish Sea, Puget Sound, our climate, economies, and communities. Taking place June 14th at East Shore Unitarian Church, 12700 SE 32nd ST., Bellevue WA. Doors open at 6:30pm. Program 7-8:30pm. Refreshments provided.

Ramadan Iftar Dinner: Sunday, June 18th, 8:30pm at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center, 16600 NE 80th St, Redmond, WA. Open to all.


Welcoming Week is coming Sept. 15-24. Would you like to host an event? Let’s get ready! More info here.

Thanks to all who were able to come to Welcoming 101 at the end of May! Here’s a replay of the webinar which gave an overview of the Welcoming Framework. (Please note you’ll need to enter your contact information to access the video.) Download the slides here. Special thanks to Jennifer Driver and Daniel Valdez with Welcoming America for the information they presented and for answering many of our questions.

The Welcoming Standard: a blueprint for communities striving to institutionalize welcoming for all

Examples of Welcoming: Hyperlocal (schools, neighborhoods, places of worship), Business, and Local Government

Welcoming Week in East King County: Sept. 15-24.

To learn more about the following events, please see details on our Calendar page

Meet and Greet with Our Muslim Neighbors

Friday, June 9, 12:30
Location: Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS)

KirklandSafe: Learn and Get Involved

Tuesday, June 13, 7-9pm
Location: Kirkland Justice Center, Totem Lake Room, 11750 NE 118th St., Kirkland WA

Hate Crime Information Session

Sunday, June 25, 1-3pm
Hosted by the India Association of Western Washington
Location: Blackwell Elementary, 3225 205th PL NE, Sammamish WA

Hosts needed for Welcoming Week events!

Get more information here and Save the Date for a meeting on Aug. 8th, 11am-12:30pm to help you prepare. (Location TBA)

What did we miss? Do you know of other community events that bring people from different backgrounds together or provide information that supports immigrant and refugee communities? Let us know by sending your announcements to Debbie Lacy, ERIC Director.

Medicine for Hate: An interactive conversation hosted by the Wellness Professionals Network and presented by Pam Orbach.

Friday, June 2, 10:45-1:00

Redmond Library, meeting room 2: 15590 Ne 85th St. Redmond, WA

  • Do you feel powerless when you hear hate speech, or witness acts of hate?
  • Are you struggling to find a way to engage with the current political polarization at the dinner table?
  • Is there disconnection from people you care about, because their views are difficult to hear?

Learn how Non-Violence Communication tools can support your ability to be a more effective advocate and ally.

RSVP here.



A supportive community is vital to a healthy society. Community Matters gatherings are opportunities for people of all cultures, races, faiths, and gender identities to connect and converse about wellness and everything that entails; personal wellness, family wellness, and wellness in the world. How do we foster a vision of a wellness community that cares for all, with an understanding of our deep and profound connection to each other? Our intention is to create a forum for real-talk, in-person conversations in a space that is safe and respectful.

Together, we can make the difference within ourselves that we wish to see in the world, by taking responsibility and showing up, one conversation at a time. It is through direct, willing engagement that we heal ourselves and the world. 

The RESILIENCE FUND supports and strengthens community organizations that are working to increase the protections and resilience of vulnerable residents in King County. This fund is similar to rapid response funds developed around the nation by other communities and organizations to address increasing needs and concerns.

Developed by Seattle Foundation in partnership with King County, and support from Medina Foundation, Stolte Family Foundation and Emerald Fund, the Resilience Fund will provide grants of up to $25,000 to community-based nonprofits. In 2017, there will be two grant cycles, with deadlines of June 26 and September 29.

A Q&A session will be held on Wednesday, June 7, at 6-7:30pm in the Large Meeting Room at Kent Library (212 2nd Ave. N., Kent, WA 98032). RSVP here.

WANT TO APPLY? We’ll be discussing the Resilience Fund at our next ERIC meeting on June 6th (11-12:30 at the KCLS Issaquah Service Center, Boardroom: 960 Newport Way, Issaquah, WA). There are several Eastside organizations that have been providing high quality, critical services to immigrants and refugees and other vulnerable populations for many years. Especially if you’re proposing a new resource or service for this funding opportunity, please consider attending the meeting or emailing the ERIC Director, so we can ensure that multiple proposals aren’t submitted for the same types of projects in the same geographic areas. ERIC is working to support a collaborative approach where members participate in joint decision making about the community’s needs and the best resources to meet those needs. As a coalition, we support all our members to thrive in providing the services they are uniquely qualified to provide.

ERIC will be offering limited technical assistance to the Eastside organizations applying for funding, particularly to smaller organizations that do not have fund development staff and/or who have not yet secured sustainable funding. More information will be shared at the meeting, or feel free to contact Debbie Lacy, the ERIC Director.

For questions or assistance about the Resilience Fund, please contact:
Jonathan Cunningham
Seattle Foundation



Our Welcoming 101 event is on May 31st from 11-1:30 at Kirkland City Hall, Peter Kirk Room. The event is filling up, so please be sure to register. We look forward to seeing you!

— Overview of the Welcoming Framework

–Breakout groups will review effective Welcoming America strategies from across the U.S.

–Share ideas for Welcoming Week (Sept. 15-24)

Lunch served. Feel free to bring information for the resource table.

The India Association of Western Washington is hosting some great events on May 18th.

The Career Fair for Women takes place 1:30-4:00. Meet recruiters, potential employers, training institutes and discover opportunities to train, work, and volunteer. Mock interview session as well.

Women’s Rummage Sale, 1:30-6:00pm. New or nearly new work clothing for women at affordable prices. Professional stylists will be available to offer consultation.

Location for both events: North Bellevue Community Center, 4063 148th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA

IAWW is the longest serving Indian organization in the Pacific Northwest. Pan-Indian, secular, and volunteer-driven. Serving youth, adults, and seniors.

One of the significant disparities our community faces is in the area of academic achievement. Schools are addressing this issue and some are seeing progress. The following East King County schools recently received the Washington State Achievement Award for Closing the Achievement Gap. The reward recognizes a significant achievement gap reduction of at least 10%.

CALL to ACTION: Please consider emailing one or more Principals. Let them know that this award matters to you and you’re glad they’re working on this important issue. A minute of your time goes a long way, showing we’re paying attention to their progress and we appreciate their efforts. Thank you!

Bellevue School District

Clyde Hill Elementary (English Language Learners) | Principal: Mary Olin

Highland Middle School (Black students) | Principal: Katie Klug

Somerset Elementary (English Language Learners) | Principal: Tara Gray

Issaquah School District

Apollo Elementary (students with disabilities) | Principal: Jane Harris

Maywood Middle School (English Language Learners) | Principal: Jason Morse

Pacific Cascade Middle School (English Language Learners) | Principal: Dana Bailey

Lake Washington School District

Bell Elementary (Latino students) | Principal: Heidi Paul

Peter Kirk Elementary (students with disabilities) | Principal: Monica Garcia

Interested in strategies for closing the achievement gap? Read this list from the National Education Association.