Gates Foundation Awards $5 Million to Community Support Organizations in Pacific Northwest

The Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced grants totaling more than $5 million to nine community support organizations in the Pacific Northwest working to reduce intergenerational poverty within their communities.

The funding will be re-granted to expand local philanthropy in the region and advance community-defined strategies, including early childhood education, helping families reach self-sufficiency, and other activities that build stronger communities. Among other things, the grant recipients were chosen based on their success in playing catalytic roles in their communities, making grant decisions that are informed by meaningful community input, and serving populations that are among the most impoverished in the region.

Ranging from $340,000 to $1 million, grants were awarded to the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation ($1 million), Spokane County United Way ($700,000), Community Foundation for Southwest Washington ($700,000), United Way of the Columbia-Willamette ($700,000), United Way of Central Washington ($440,000), Yakima Valley Community Foundation ($440,000), Potlatch Fund ($400,000), Inland Northwest Community Foundation ($350,000), and the Whatcom Community Foundation ($340,000).

"The Gates Foundation is committed to helping strengthen the philanthropic sector in our region — especially by supporting community prioritized needs," said David Bley, director of the foundation's Pacific Northwest program. "We will help more families with these new grants than we can by only using direct grantmaking. Local partners are best positioned to know the needs in their communities and these grants will catalyze the work they're already doing."

"Pacific Northwest Communities Launch New Initiative to Expand Local Philanthropy." Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Press Release 05/24/2012.