The King County Council on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022 voted to provide $176,000 to Wakulima USA, a Kent nonprofit organization, to support programming around connection to nature, food justice and cultural preservation.
Wakulima USA supports Swahili-speaking immigrants from East Africa as they settle into their new environment in the U.S.
The funding is part of $885,500 provided to six South King County organizations for programs and projects that increase access to recreation, parks and open space in underserved communities. The funding, part of the Healthy Communities and Parks grants program of the voter-approved 2020-2025 Parks Levy, is designed to reduce disparities and improve the health and well-being of King County residents in marginalized communities by expanding opportunities to get outside and get active.
“Making sure all kids have the chance to get outside and swim, play, enjoy nature, and relax is one way we can be inclusive of low-income families and communities of color,” said King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove. “With this funding, community groups serving these populations will be able to do more programs for more kids, and I’m excited to be a partner in this important work.”
In addition to Partner in Employment, other local organizations receiving funding in the first round of grants include:
- $183,000 to East African Community Services for an Outdoor Exploration and Recreation Club for 6-12th graders
- $31,500 to RAVE Foundation for free youth soccer clinics;
- $125,000 to African Community Housing & Development for operational support of a culturally relevant community hub
- $200,000 to Tiny Trees Preschool for culturally responsive outdoor preschool activities;
- $170,000 to Partner in Employment for an ecology career development program for immigrant and refugee youth.
In August 2019, King County residents overwhelmingly supported the Parks Levy which provides funding for parks and open space throughout the County. The next round of grants funding will open early in 2024.