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2023 Spring Microgrant Recipients

By VerityCU May 11, 2023 Microgrant

Verity Credit Union's Microgrant Program is designed to provide unrestricted monetary support for organizations whose work benefits historically underserved communities within Washington State.

We are thrilled to announce the recipients from the Spring 2022 award cycle!

Black Arts Love

Black Arts Love is a community based organization committed to promoting Black artists, Black culture and economic empowerment. Their mission is to amplify black creators, culture and entrepreneurship. And, their vision is to see black creators have more visibility in the creative art space in Seattle as well as in the community as a whole. They believe that art is a catalyst for community building, healing and social justice.

Since 2016, Black Arts Love has provided free community marketplaces that feature free artist performances, networking opportunities, free community meals (started in 2021 and 2022), space for Black artists to share their work as well as art activities and classes for kids and adults. They also provide marketing mentorship and promotional opportunities for artists including media representation.

Their focus is unique because there are not many organizations in the Pacific Northwest that focus solely on helping Black artists to market, promote and sell their work to the greater community. When Black Arts Love started out in 2016, they noticed an absence of representation and visibility of Black artists at local art shows and through their efforts and community partnerships, they have been able to help fill that void while also inspiring others to join their efforts and create marketplaces in their respective communities.


Building Resilience Awareness & Variations of Excellence (BRAVE)

BRAVE - Building Resilience Awareness & Variations of Excellence - is an innovative youth development social justice agency focused on working with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) scholars. Their mission is to collaborate with BIPOC youth in their learning and development journeyproviding experiences and resources for critical thinking, exploring their voice, deepening brilliance, and contributing to the health and renewal of their environments, communities, and reshaping systems. BRAVE envisions BIPOC youth developing courageous and vibrant lives of purpose, building their leadership abilities, and contributing to their communities and home environments. They work towards equipping their scholars and families with core competencies that enable them to navigate institutional oppression and identify and engage in equitable opportunities.

BRAVE provides culturally relevant enrichment and college-career-entrepreneurship-exploration programming. The indicators BRAVE addresses are enrichment activities that develop and/or strengthen scholars' awareness and interest in various college and/or career pathways, build soft skills, promote character, leadership development, and unity among scholars. They use their Trailblazers program as a vehicle to cultivate young Black and Brown community leaders. The Trailblazers program is designed to dismantle systemic racism in education by using our four pillars: Personal and Identity Development, Social Justice, College-Career-Entrepreneurship-Exploration, and Student-Led Professional Development. Through the Trailblazers Wraparound Program, BRAVE provides wraparound services for our scholars and caregivers.


Native American Reentry Services

Native American Reentry Services (NARS) is a 501c3 nonprofit founded to provide reentry support. Their mission statement is “To address barriers faced by Native people who find themselves struggling to transition from a life of incarceration to one of healthy and productive freedom. Our goal is to support successful reintegration into Native American/Aboriginal reservation and urban communities and reduce recidivism through Native American/Aboriginal traditional means.”

NARS' vision is to increase programming that supports de-institutionalization to reduce the recidivism rate (currently 45.3%) Native Americans/Alaska Natives currently experience. Their values center around the use of Indigenous traditions, ceremony, and prayer for healing during reentry for our incarcerated/formerly incarcerated relatives, their families, and our tribal communities.

They advocate for fair treatment of the Indigenous population within the criminal justice system. This includes partnering with state agencies in policy implementation and revision, implementing programming for utilizing indigenous methodology where none were available, and providing programming that is inclusive of cultural traditions and activities. Social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion are demonstrated by building their staff with formerly incarcerated DOC program participants, who are the first line of support encountered by clients as they reach out from prison and the community for support. Their lived experience informs the programs and how they are implemented.


Project Feast

Project Feast is a small non-profit located in historic downtown Kent, WA. They provide culinary training to low-income immigrants and refugees that prepares them for careers or entrepreneurships in the food industry. The programming revolves around a 3-4 month culinary skills apprenticeship, which includes commercial kitchen skills, entrepreneurial support, transitional employment, and public events highlighting the stories and cuisine of our apprentices. The training includes hands-on experience working in our café and supporting our catering services.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Project Feast pivoted its services to take-out as well as preparing free meals for food insecure families, including immigrants and refugees, in South King County. They call this the “Community Meals” program. As the effects of the pandemic shutdown continues and as our local economy continues to struggle, they have grown the Community Meals and have integrated them into their culinary skills training program.

Drawing from the diverse backgrounds of our staff and apprentices, Project Feast prepares ethnic and nutritious meals each week, which they deliver to a number of community partners. They currently distribute over 300 meals a week to the West Seattle Food Bank, African Community Housing and Development Senior program, Community in Schools Kent, and KentHopea day shelter for homeless women and children. Their meals are prepared from scratch and are culturally appropriate depending on the needs of the partner receiving the food.


South King County Discipline Coalition

South King County Discipline Coalition’s (SKCDC) mission is to end disproportionate discipline of students of color and interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline through anti-racist organizing, leadership development and advocacy strategies that center parents and youth directly affected. Their vision is that schools will shift away from exclusionary, punitive approaches to address student behavior, replacing them with restorative approaches that recognize the dignity and humanity of all and foster healthy, accountable relationships between schools, families, and the broader community.

Since 2016 SKCDC has offered community gatherings to develop community leadership. They’ve built advocacy capacity through Know Your Rights trainings, which regard the educational laws which are in place to support families. They continue to build community power through shared decision-making regarding our programming. They also hold an end of the year celebration called Surviving The School Year, to honor students and families in our South King County community. The events commonly provide support to the Black community while including all students and families of color. To make gatherings accessible, they offer meals, onsite childcare, travel expenses and youth participation stipends.

In response to COVID-19, SKCDC began partnering with the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation to offer food boxes, backpacks, school supplies, diapers and training by Goddard University for parents and school administrators to learn how to talk to children about race. They also hosted a youth program to support young people of color, aged 10-25, in developing social emotional coping skills and building community while social distancing and distance learning conditions.

Our next application closes on September 15th, 2023! To learn more about our Microgrant Program, click here.