Equity in Action

When community members have voice and power in the decisions that impact their communities, and express it through civic engagement and leadership, it leads to broader community and policy changes that assure racial, health, and economic equity. Three reinforcing elements are at the heart of Communities of Opportunity. 

  1. Geographic and cultural community partnerships that drive change locally.

  2. Policies and systems that create and sustain equity at all levels.

  3. Learning community leverages the power of collective knowledge to accelerate change. 


equity in action.jpg



white square.png


Community partnerships and power are essential.

Seattle Urban Native Nonprofits (SUNN), one of the partnerships supported by COO, united in spirit and practice at the UW Intellectual House

Seattle Urban Native Nonprofits (SUNN), one of the partnerships supported by COO, united in spirit and practice at the UW Intellectual House

Communities of Opportunity (COO) works with partnerships in neighborhoods and cultural communities to advance better health, safe and affordable housing, economic opportunity and stronger community connections for residents. 

COO has recently expanded partnerships in

  • the urban Native community
  • LatinX community of Vashon Island
  • transgender and gender nonconforming communities
  • in the communities of Kent, Seattle’s Central District, and rural Snoqualmie Valley

This work builds on continued work of our three original place-based partnerships.

  • Rainier Valley community partners are focusing on shared ownership models to prevent displacement of historic cultural communities and to increase economic security.
  • White Center is anchoring multi-cultural businesses and partnerships in the community to prevent displacement of residents.
  • SeaTac/Tukwila community partners have established the Food Innovation Network, focusing on expanding economic opportunities and promoting health, particularly through healthy food. 

Policies and systems

Community Health Board Coalition: COO Policy and Systems Change partner

Community Health Board Coalition: COO Policy and Systems Change partner

Policies and Systems play an essential role in equity.
Affordable housing, local employment, and quality education should be attainable regardless of our race, ethnicity, income, or where we live. Yet our institutions and policies shape who has access to wealth, health, and prosperity.

Communities of Opportunity partners are working to dismantle the persistent racial injustice within our systems by:

  • Building community capacity to carry out coordinated advocacy efforts
  • Integrating equity into policies at all levels: neighborhood, organizational, city, county, and state
  • Advocating for policies that support community priorities and needs
  • Expanding representation of cultural communities by stepping into leadership and political roles. 


A learning community, or community of shared practice, creates spaces for communities and organizations to share their work and gain additional skills to advance impact across the region. These spaces foster collaboration and facilitate momentum-building at a regional level.


More to come on the Learning Community soon!



— Karter Booher, Executive Director of Ingersoll Gender Center

Unlike conventional evaluation approaches that can be top-down or perpetuate inequities, participatory evaluation brings stakeholders and evaluators together to collaboratively develop and implement the evaluation. In alignment with COO’s values of shared power and decision-making, a participatory approach ensures partners, governance group, and staff play an active role throughout the evaluation process.

Baseline Evaluation

In 2018, COO brought together a group of external evaluators led by BDS Planning & Urban Design to work alongside our funded partners to conduct a baseline evaluation. The evaluation explored the ways COO’s cross-cutting strategies have strengthened community connections and increased equity by race, place, and income) in housing, health, and economic conditions.

The links below provide findings from the work with 46 community partners involved in COO.

The Baseline Evaluation Snapshot provides a look at the state of racial and economic equity and key findings from the baseline data.

The narrative Evaluation Summary provides information from the external evaluators.

The Evaluation Slide Deck was also prepared by the external evaluators.

Interested in more of the evaluation work? The links below provide additional information.

Population Level Results

Partner Level Findings

Evaluation Methodology

COO featured in Best Starts for Kids 2018 Annual Report

King County’s Best Starts for Kids builds on the strengths of families and communities so that babies are born healthy, children thrive and establish a strong foundation for life, and young people grow into happy, healthy adults.

Communities of Opportunity is central to that effort by supporting communities as they build safe, thriving places for all our residents. In partnership with Best Starts for Kids, COO shared key accomplishments from 2018 in the Annual Report as well as highlighted the story of one of the COO cultural community partnerships—the SUNN collaborative.

“SUNN envisions an urban Native community that is united in spirit and practice, trusting and compassionate in our relationships, and fully embracing the ancient wisdom and healing that will sustain us for generations.”

The Communities of Opportunity section begins on page 26 of the Best Starts for Kids Annual Report.


Success stories

Interactive data

To measure our progress in advancing health, housing, economic opportunity, and community connections in King County, community partners are working together with our national and local evaluation team to develop evaluation strategy, identify the most salient measures and data collection methods, and gather data and interpret findings.

Explore the interactive data sets that help us track our impact in communities.





FUNDED projects