Kent nonprofit gets $176,000 grant to connect youth with outdoors

Wakulima USA receives King County grant

Kent nonprofit organization Wakulima USA works with Swahili-speaking immigrants from East Africa as they settle into their new environment in the U.S. COURTESY PHOTO, Wakulima USA

Kent nonprofit organization Wakulima USA works with Swahili-speaking immigrants from East Africa as they settle into their new environment in the U.S. COURTESY PHOTO, Wakulima USA

The King County Council on Tuesday, Aug. 16 voted to provide $176,000 to Wakulima USA, a Kent nonprofit organization, to support programming around connection to nature, food justice and cultural preservation.

Wakulima USA supports Swahili-speaking immigrants from East Africa as they settle into their new environment in the U.S.

The funding is part of $885,500 provided to six South King County organizations for programs and projects that increase access to recreation, parks and open space in underserved communities, according to an Aug. 16 news release from King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, whose District 5 includes part of Kent.

The funding, part of the Healthy Communities and Parks grants program of the voter-approved 2020-2025 parks levy, is designed to reduce disparities and improve the health and well-being of King County residents in marginalized communities by expanding opportunities to get outside and get active.

“Making sure all kids have the chance to get outside and swim, play, enjoy nature, and relax is one way we can be inclusive of low-income families and communities of color,” Uptherove said. “With this funding, community groups serving these populations will be able to do more programs for more kids, and I’m excited to be a partner in this important work.”

Other organizations in King County receiving funding in the first round of grants include:

• $183,000 to Seattle-based East African Community Services for an Outdoor Exploration and Recreation Club for 6-12th graders

• $31,500 to Seattle-based RAVE Foundation (charitable arm of Seattle Sounders) for free youth soccer clinics

• $125,000 to SeaTac-based African Community Housing & Development for operational support of a culturally relevant community hub

• $200,000 to Tiny Trees Preschool, in Seattle, for culturally responsive outdoor preschool activities;

• $170,000 to SeaTac-based Partner in Employment for an ecology career development program for immigrant and refugee youth.

In August 2019, King County residents overwhelmingly supported the parks levy which provides funding for parks and open space throughout the County. The next round of grants funding will open early in 2024.

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