Climate Commitment Act dollars at work: Commerce funds efforts to bring more community voices to table in growth management planning

Grants to 26 community-based organizations seek to engage more perspectives in local process for comprehensive plan updates in nine counties statewide

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Department of Commerce is awarding $2.2 million to 26 community-based organizations to participate in local planning efforts under the state Growth Management Act. Organizations will use this funding to help engage local policy makers and bring marginalized voices and community perspectives on specific issues areas to the forefront of local planning and decision-making processes.

These grants to advance meaningful community engagement are supported with funding from WashingtoClimate Commitment Act logon’s Climate Commitment Act. The CCA supports Washington’s climate action efforts by putting cap-and-invest dollars to work reducing climate pollution, creating jobs, and improving public health. Information about the CCA is available at climate.wa.gov

“Participation in important public processes, such as comprehensive planning under the Growth Management Act to envision the future of our communities, is the foundation of our system of government,” said Commerce Director Mike Fong. “These investments continue our commitment to equity and reversing a ‘government-knows-best’ mindset. They will give more opportunities for more people to contribute valuable insights to the goals and plans that are developed by local governments charged with leading community visioning.”

Cities and counties across the state are updating their comprehensive plans under the current 10-year periodic update cycle, and will seek community guidance on where to build houses, create jobs, how to improve transportation, and where to make critical capital investments such as utilities, sidewalks, and community facilities. The Growth Management Act requires community engagement in local planning, and these new grant funds advance meaningful community engagement and participation of vulnerable populations and overburdened communities in local comprehensive planning.

“Our goal is to ensure as best we can that our communities of color and culture are centered in decision-making practices across every continuum,” said Siobhana McEwen, executive director of Vancouver-based grant recipient Southwest Washington Equity Coalition. “We’re really looking to uplift those voices as the city increases housing and density.”  McEwen and her organization plan to use its award to collaborate with local partners to help immigrants and vulnerable populations impacted by gentrification engage in Vancouver and Clark County’s comprehensive plan update processes.

Beyond the regular planning goals, this grant represents an opportunity for many community-based organizations to share information on climate impacts and environmental justice concerns while educating other community members about comprehensive planning requirements under state law.

North Olympic Land Trust Development Director Alex Wilson said his Port Angeles-based organization will use its grant to support community members’ engagement around farmland protection, climate resilience, and other issues in Clallam County’s comprehensive plan update. “We want to educate people about what it means to conserve land and how choices are made about where and how people live,” Wilson added. The Port Angeles-based CBO’s work ahead includes educating community members about comprehensive planning and empowering them to participate in the public process.

Grants under this first phase of the new grant program are intended for communities with a 2025 periodic update due date. The organizations awarded funding will bolster community representation in nine of the 10 qualifying counties.

Clallam County

  • Futurewise: $100,000
  • North Olympic Land Trust: $55,000
  • Port Angeles Waterfront District: $45,000

Clark County

  • Fourth Plain Forward: $100,000
  • Native American Youth and Family Center: $100,000
  • Odyssey World International Education Services: $100,000
  • Southwest Washington Equity Coalition: $99,440
  • Washington Conservation Action Education Fund: $98,659
  • NAACP OF Vancouver, WA Branch 1139-B: $71,255
  • Vietnamese Community of Clark County: $50,000

Island County

  • Camano Island Post No. 207, The American Legion: $100,000
  • Goosefoot Community Fund: $76,717

Jefferson County

  • Bayside Housing and Services: $45,000
  • Community Wellness Project: $90,000

Mason County

  • Mason County Climate Justice: $100,000
  • United Way of Mason County : $55,000

San Juan County

  • Friends of the San Juans: $90,000
  • Island Stewards: $90,000

Skagit County

  • Helping Hands food bank of Sedro-Woolley: $100,000
  • Community Action of Skagit County: $90,000
  • Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC): $65,000

Thurston County

  • Thurston Climate Action Team: $98,912

Whatcom County

  • RE Sources: $100,000
  • Scholar Fund: $100,000
  • Washington Family Engagement: $95,000
  • Vamos Outdoors Project: $90,000

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