The Communities of Opportunity (COO) is an initiative funded by King County through Best Starts for Kids and the Seattle Foundation, that works to create greater racial, economic, and health equity. COO believes that investing in strategies that build community power is essential to pushing for structural changes toward equity, justice, and thriving, self-determined communities. The Learning Community (LC) coordinates activities to build capacity, share learning, facilitate new connections, and test innovative models that build an organization’s infrastructure and capacity to actualize equity — including trainings, peer learning cohorts, and one-on-one coaching.
As the Learning Community Administrator, Cascadia supports all Learning Community activities through administrative and logistical support, evaluation, and communications. The Learning Community activities are developed based on needs and priorities of funded partners, and are shared opportunities to deepen skills, build critical connections, and create equity tools, models, and conditions that build thriving communities.
In 2020-2021, the Learning Community piloted the Commercial Affordability Pilot Project which sought to develop tools and models that would increase community commercial ownership and equitable development opportunities.
The success of the pilot project was celebrated this year at the Bethaday Community Learning Space through the Commercial Affordability Summit, produced by Cascadia. Community leaders, financing strategists, philanthropic funders, economic developers, and policy makers convened for a day of sharing ideas about regional models and approaches to increasing commercial affordability, capital access, community ownership, and capacity building, and increasing connections to help grow models for a thriving and equitable regional small business ecosystem.
Watch the highlight reel of the day here!