News Release: Duwamish organizations awarded health action grants

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The Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition (DRCC) announced today that it is awarding Healthy Community Grants to five organizations for projects in the Georgetown and South Park neighborhoods.  The awards were made possible by funding DRCC received from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through its Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program.  Grantees were selected by community representatives after DRCC conducted a public process to identify and prioritize issues affecting the community.  The grants include the following organizations and projects:

1) South Park Area Redevelopment Committee

$9,000 for tree planting in association with the South Rose Greenstreet Project, which is reducing polluted runoff to the Duwamish River.  “This funding lets South Park residents establish much-needed tree canopy to purify the air, provide shade, and create bird habitat.  It empowers residents to choose appropriate trees and plant and care for them together,” said SPARC spokesperson Cari Simson. (Cari Simson: 206-234-5102,

2) Puget Soundkeeper Alliance 
$9,000 for removal of trash and debris from the Duwamish River and surrounding streets and storm water pollution prevention.  "This grant represents a great opportunity for Puget Soundkeeper Alliance to expand its community involvement in the Duwamish Valley," said Chris Wilke, Executive Director of Puget Soundkeeper Alliance.  "Through river and community cleanups, stormwater pollution prevention and on-water monitoring, we are helping to provide safer, cleaner places for people to connect with Seattle’s only river."  (Chris Wilke: 206-297-7002,


3) Forterra

$8,000 for urban forest restoration work in Westcrest Park, including removal of invasive plants and cultivation of native plants by community volunteers.  “This project will improve local greenspace, reduce particulate matter in the air, prevent polluted runoff, and buffer noise,” said Kory Kramer, Green Cities Program Manager.   “We thank DRCC and the community for recognizing the importance of this work, and look forward to some great events at Westcrest Park.” (Kory Kramer: 253-343-4293,


4) Solid Ground

$8,000 for Marra Farm’s Lettuce Link Youth and Community Leadership Program.  Funds will be used to hire a part-time Greenhouse Coordinator, organize family work parties at Marra Farm, sponsor a youth-directed cooking workshop at Concord Elementary School, hold outdoor cooking classes, and organize a community led chicken cooperative. “This grant allows us to give the community what it is asking for: improved skills in growing and cooking healthy food, youth leadership development, and jobs,” said Amelia Swinton, Solid Ground’s Education Coordinator at Concord Elementary. “I am especially excited about using gardening and cooking to develop young leaders with the skills and confidence to take charge of their health and their food system.” (Michelle Bates Benetua, 206-694-6754,

5) Providence-Regina House 
$4,000 to support the neighborhood food bank and to provide plant starts for home gardens to food bank clients and other community members.  “I am so excited to have funding to boost healthy, nutritious food offerings for our over 500 food bank families,” said Paige Collins, Providence Regina House manager. "I’m also excited about doing more to help food bank clients and others grow their own beautiful organic produce to feed their families,” she added.  (Paige Collins, 206-763-9204,

DRCC will also administer $2,000 of mini-grant funds to help jumpstart three additional projects:

• working with Vietnamese and other close neighbors to establish a volunteer “Friends of Desimone Park” group,

• assisting with food safety and sanitation needs at the Nickelsville homeless encampment, and

• designing a teen- and family-centered outdoor play area for Duwamish Waterway Park.

“We are excited to advance the community’s vision of healthy neighborhoods through these grants,” said BJ Cummings, DRCC’s Community Health Projects Manager. “At the same time that we are cleaning up the river, we need to address the community’s needs holistically. Food security, green spaces, and reduced trash and pollution are all part of creating a healthy and sustainable environment in the Duwamish Valley.”

DRCC is EPA’s Community Advisory Group for the cleanup of the Duwamish River. EPA’s Proposed River Cleanup Plan was released on February 28, and DRCC is conducting health assessments and making recommendations to EPA for improvements, and is soliciting community questions and comments about the plan.

For more information on the Healthy Communities Project and Proposed River Cleanup Plan, visit:

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BJ Cummings, DRCC/TAG
210 South Hudson St, Suite 332
Seattle, WA 98134
Direct: 206.458.0284
(Main: 206.954.0218)

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