The Russell Family Foundation (TRFF) announced six grants totaling $380,000 and three impact investments totaling $6 million to support a variety of place-based efforts in the Puget Sound Region spanning environmental sustainability, educating the next generation and addressing young adult and youth homelessness; and its impact investing portfolio, which seeks to maximize social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.
The grants and investments range from supporting the Readiness Acceleration and Innovation Network’s (RAIN) efforts to drive regional growth of life science startups in Tacoma; to the Salish Sea Collective’s effort to unite diverse organizations working together to protect communities and life in the Salish Sea region for current and future generations; to Forterra’s redevelopment of a critical property in the South Sound to strengthen sustainability and counter displacement of the Hilltop community; to StoneCastle FICA for Impact Cash, which enabled cash to transition from a large institutional bank to a network of community banks and credit unions to enhance community development; and more.
“Collaboration is a critical element of effective, place-based change,” said Richard Woo, Chief Executive Officer at TRFF. “As these community organizations continue to work together, connecting individuals and sharing resources and knowledge with each other, they are able to develop more impactful and creative solutions for the entire region. We are proud to support these groups and the power ideas that will effect social and environmental change on both large and small scales.”
Details for the grants totaling $380,000 include:
RAIN is a non-profit biotech innovation hub serving the South Sound region with a mission to grow talent, companies, and jobs, through education and community building. RAIN aims to foster community investment in young people, enabling them to solve problems, invent, and innovate through hands-on experiences in biotech and life sciences. Grant funding will go towards general operating support to help RAIN educate students and facilitate the growth of Tacoma’s life science industry.
Supports the work of the Salish Sea Collective with coordination from Front and Centered and Washington Environmental Council. The collective is a membership-based coalition of 20 environmental sustainability and social justice organizations, organized around the importance of equity, water quality and the Salish Sea and the need to conserve and steward our region’s natural resources for current and future generations.
Supports Front and Centered’s development and implementation of programming focused on organizing and educating communities of color and low-income communities about the importance of protecting the waters in and around Puget Sound to benefit all communities, as well advocating for and elevating the voices of communities of color throughout the region.
Supports the work that the Center does to plan and organize meetings between local marine centers in the region and their work together to pool resources and knowledge to educate community members about the significance of the Salish Sea.
Pierce Conservation District – $15,000, Orca Recovery Day 2019
Supports Pierce Conservation District’s (PCD) educational activities and outreach around Orca Recovery Day slated for October 19, 2019. Alongside other conservation districts and nonprofits throughout Puget Sound, PCD will organize and engage community members about the importance of advocating for and preserving this iconic species of the Pacific Northwest.
Allocates cash exclusively to FDIC-insured deposit accounts through a large-scale network of community banks and credit unions. StoneCastle FICA Impact Cash uses U.S. Census data to identify zip codes where populations are below the poverty line.
Invests in Forterra’s purchase of a former Rite-Aid property located in the heart of Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood. Redevelopment of the property will largely be led by the community, the result of conversations with community participants and Tacoma’s elected leaders about how to help address sustainable development, displacement pressures, and community concerns for existing Hilltop residents.
Forterra – $250,000 Loan Guaranty, Purchase of Big Beef Creek property along Hood Canal, Seabeck, Wash.
This investment facilitates a $250,000 loan guaranty on the purchase of a 297-acre property that formerly housed University of Washington fishery research labs. Located at Big Beef Creek along the shores of the Hood Canal, the site is a hub of biodiversity. In the absence of the research labs, Forterra is purchasing the land for conservation and environmental programming purposes.
Organically Grown Company – $500,000
This investment in the Organically Grown Company will support its mission to bring organic agriculture to communities, helping support the regional food system and organic farms throughout the Pacific Northwest to succeed. It also supports the establishment of the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Perpetual Purpose Trust, a pioneering innovation toward creating long-term mission-aligned ownership structures needed in the organic food movement and beyond.