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Race and Social Justice Focus Benefits Community and Staff

The City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) is a system-wide commitment to eliminate racial disparities and achieve equity in Seattle by ending institutional and structural racism and inequities in City government. Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) advances its RSJI goals along two tracks. One is by implementing effective policies, practices, and procedures that will result in advancement opportunities and achieving equity for staff. The other is by increasing access and opportunities for underrepresented and underserved communities to participate in city programs and services that will make a difference in people’s lives.

In April of this year, Superintendent Christopher Williams and representatives from SPR briefed the City Council’s RSJI Committee on the department’s numerous efforts to serve under-represented, low-income, people of color, and vulnerable residents of Seattle.  Here are some accomplishments from 2017:

  • SPR’s Get Moving Program partnered with 15 community organizations to provide 1,300 physically active program hours, serving 2,462 participants. The program aims to increase participation and opportunities for physical activities in under-resourced neighborhoods and communities afflicted by health disparities.
  • 38,770 meals were served to children to combat hunger during the Out-of-School Summer Sack Lunch Program.
  • $2.18 million in scholarships were provided to 4,329 recipients for access to recreational, aquatics and/or child care programs.
  • 9,000 program hours for older adults and 22,200 meals for immigrant and refugee elders were provided through the Lifelong Recreation Program, by partnering with community organizations such as Asian Counseling and Service Center, Women’s Refugee Alliance, Korean Senior Club, Vietnamese Senior Association, and East African organizations.
  • 512 hours of programming, with 58% focused on underserved communities such as High Point, Delridge and South Park, were offered through the Environmental Education and Outdoor Learning Program.
  • The My Brother’s Keeper and My Sister’s Keeper Program mentored 212 students of African descent at five community learning centers.
  • Seattle Conservation Corps supported 79 homeless adults to complete training and obtain employment.
  • The Arts in the Park Program funded $204,800 to community projects in 2017. With a focus on serving diverse communities, 57% of the awardees were artists of color.
  • Income and demographical data were incorporated into the 2017 Parks and Open Space Plan, a six-year strategy that will inform SPR’s future open space acquisitions, especially in the underserved and/or higher density neighborhoods.
  • RSJI Change Team partnered with the Athletic Program staff and reached out to over 200 volunteer basketball coaches and referees with the revised code of conduct for more inclusive and respectful behaviors.
  • SPR came within one point of meeting its 2017 Women and Minority Business Enterprise (WMBE) purchasing goal at 17% (vs. 18%) and its WMBE consulting goal at 18% (vs. 20%).
  • SPR processed 99% of its 670 contracts within the 30-day prompt payment goal to ensure excellent customer service and support, especially to small and/or WMBE consultants and vendors.

We’ll report on 2018’s RSJI outcomes in a future blog post. Stay tuned!