Bruce Harrell, Mayor
Dwane Chappelle, Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2022
Contact: Sage Leibenson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206.507.6701
DEEL Invests Over $440K in Community-Driven Programs Supporting Black Girls, Young Women, and Black Queer and Transgender Youth
Programs will provide culturally-responsive leadership development, mentorship and dedicated safe spaces
SEATTLE (January 12) – Today, the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) announced more than $440,000 in grant awards for the Black Girls, Young Women, Black Queer and Transgender Youth Request for Investment to support positive identity development and social-emotional learning for middle- and high-school age youth in Seattle. Six community-based organizations will receive awards ranging from $69,000 to $75,000 to provide culturally-responsive programs designed to support Black girls and Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) youth with leadership skills, mentorship, dedicated safe spaces and mental wellness services. Three of six organizations are first-time grant recipients from DEEL, and the majority of programs will serve students in the Central District and South Seattle. Programming will occur during the 2021-2022 school year and will serve over 200 youth.
“To support the safety and wellness of young people in our city, we need to invest in programs dedicated to their mental health,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “The ongoing pandemic and civil rights reckoning our nation is experiencing has been especially challenging for young people, especially our Black and LGBTQ+ students. I’m proud to support community organizations led by Black, Indigenous and People of Color to deliver the programs our city needs to connect youth with these important services.”
DEEL’s vision for this grant was to ensure that funded proposals were informed by Black and Black LGBTQ+ youth who would participate in the programming. On November 18, 2020, Seattle City Council approved the Black Girls, Youth Women, Black Queer and Transgender Youth Request for Investment to build upon the City of Seattle’s ongoing efforts to provide culturally-responsive programs for Black queer and transgender youth. To identify gaps in services currently available to Black girls and Black LGBTQ+ youth, DEEL partnered with Gay City, a local LGBTQ+ center in Capitol Hill.
“This is a great example of the City putting its money where its values are. These investments will ensure that Seattle’s Black girls and Black queer and transgender youth are able to participate in community-driven programs that respect and uplift their unique experiences in our society,” said Councilmember Tammy Morales (Council District 2). “More than ever, we need to hear their voices, to support their mentorship, leadership, and well-being. I’m proud to have supported legislation that does just that.”
DEEL conducted surveys and in-person outreach to identify the organizations where Black youth and adults would prefer to access services. Based on the feedback gathered from DEEL and Gay City’s outreach, six organizations were eligible for the grant. Upon submission of the applications, more funding was requested than was available. However, due to strong input from Black community members expressing an urgent need for all programs outlined in the proposals, DEEL identified additional funding under the 2011 Families and Education Levy to ensure each of these vital programs will be available for youth this school year.
“The voices of young Black LGBTQ+ women and girls shaped the design of this grant. Communities know best which programs are needed, which is why it was critical that their input inform the program strategies and intended outcomes of the grant,” said Dr. Dwane Chappelle, Director of DEEL. “The organizations that will be funded are those that Black youth and adults have recommended to provide this important programming dedicated to supporting the wellness of young Black and LGBTQ+ scholars in our city.”
“BRAVE is elated and honored to partner with DEEL to serve Black girls, young women, Black queer and transgender youth through our Trailblazers program,” said Theresa Hardy, Founder and CEO of BRAVE (Building Resilience Awareness and Variations of Excellence). “BRAVE Trailblazers is designed to introduce social justice awareness while cultivating positive self-identity as youth grow to realize their greatness while strengthening and contributing to their communities. Funding from DEEL will be used for youth to participate in creative self-exploration to increase positive cultural identity and confidence in their ability to lead.”
Reagan Jackson, Executive Director of Y-WE (Young Women Empowered), shared “the double-edge sword of the myth of the strong Black woman is the assumption that no matter what happens, she is strong enough to endure. Many LGBTQ-identified folks also know what it is like to be isolated and under-supported, and those who live in the intersectionality of multiple oppressions are even more vulnerable. Being seen as strong or independent sometimes prevents us from asking for, or accepting, support and keeps us trapped in cycles of survival that prevent us from thriving. With DEEL’s grant, we will be able to center the mental, physical and overall well-being of Black girls and women and our LGBTQ youth and community. This is a life-giving and–in some very real ways, life-saving, opportunity. Through these new healing programs and affinity spaces, we will be able to connect youth with one another in a positive community
; and provide the resources, mentorship, and professional support that our Black and LGBTQ youth need to thrive.”
“FEEST is excited to partner with DEEL to deepen our commitment to our community as we support Black girls, young women, queer and transgender youth become strong leaders and organizers for systems change in their schools and communities,” said Cilia Jurdy, Development Director of FEEST (Food Empowerment Education & Sustainability Team). “It brings us joy and hope to see how the survey that FEEST and other youth participated in led to direct resources for our communities. We know that we need powerful youth leading the way to more just futures, right now. And we know that it takes all of us to strengthen youth power.”
The full list of Black Girls, Young Women, Black Queer and Transgender Youth Request for Investment award recipients are below:
- BRAVE (Building Resilience Awareness & Variations of Excellence) – $73,800
- Coyote Central – $69,163
- FEEST (Food Empowerment Education & Sustainability Team) – $75,000
- Girls on the Run of Puget Sound – $72,500
- YMCA of Greater Seattle – $74,965
- Y-We (Young Women Empowered) – $75,000
This grant complements DEEL’s ongoing Culturally-Specific and Responsive (CSR) Investments under the 2018 Families, Education, Preschool and Promise (FEPP) Levy, which support programs that increase positive identity development, equitable academic supports, and social-emotional learning opportunities for K-12 students from historically underserved communities. DEEL’s CSR investments include educator diversity initiatives and Kingmakers of Seattle programs at Seattle Public Schools. More information about DEEL’s CSR investments is available on the DEEL website.
The City of Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning’s mission is to transform the lives of Seattle children, youth, and families through strategic investments in education. www.seattle.gov/education