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Pacific Northwest Communities Launch New Initiative to Expand Local Philanthropy | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Nine organizations set to receive more than $5 million for local programs from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Phone: +1.206.709.3400

SEATTLE -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announces grants to nine community philanthropic partners in the Pacific Northwest to re-grant foundation money to support one of its overarching goals of reducing intergenerational poverty. Local partners will allocate the money through community defined strategies, including education supports for children and youth, assistance in reaching self-sufficiency for families, and other strategies that build stronger communities.

“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 Pacific Northwest program. “We will help more families with these new grants than we can by only using direct grant making. Local partners are best positioned to know the needs in their communities and these grants will catalyze the work they’re already doing.”

Grants awarded to be paid throughout the next four years include:

Philanthropic Partner   4-year Grant
Greater Tacoma Community Foundation   $1,000,000
Spokane County United Way   $700,000
Community Foundation for Southwest Washington   $700,000
United Way of the Columbia-Willamette (Portland)   $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
Whatcom Community Foundation   $340,000   

“This extraordinary investment will act as a springboard for furthering the growth and impact of our competitive grants program, allowing us to double the funding we will provide annually while continuing our focus on addressing root causes and furthering community-driven solutions," said Rose Lincoln Hamilton, President & CEO of The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. “

“Whatcom County is poised to put these funds to work, as well as an excellent base of local knowledge. The Gates Foundation’s investment will help our community set a standard to set families up for success.” said Mauri Ingram, CEO of Whatcom Community Foundation.

The organizations were chosen by meeting these selection criteria:

  • they play catalytic roles in their communities,
  • their grant decisions are informed by meaningful community input,
  • their processes for grant selection are easily expanded to re-grant additional funds, and
  • the populations they serve are among those with the highest numbers of families in poverty in the Pacific Northwest.
“This grant affirms our work with many partners in this community to advance the common good by recognizing better educational outcomes improve income and health outcomes for all,” said Tim Henkel, President and CEO of Spokane County United Way. “By partnering with others we can positively engage families today and change the future for children.”

The foundation has a long standing commitment to supporting community philanthropy. Local partners understand the unique needs of their communities. They have already established networks that can get resources to nonprofits that serve families and children quickly and efficiently. Through this initiative, the foundation aims to help expand local philanthropy. Increased citizen engagement in local grant making decisions will lead to community prioritized solutions that are tailored to local needs.

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