The Economic Development Program works to create community-led, anti-displacement, and anti-racist strategies and policies to create a more equitable economy in White Center. Cultivating and amplifying Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) voices of small business owners, residents and youth are central to resisting displacement. We’re committed to holding institutions, including King County, accountable to the community. We have three parts guiding our place-based equitable economy work:
Focused on holding and expanding how our BIPOC businesses resist displacement, by sustaining and expanding our ability to stay and grow in the White Center commercial core areas (White Center Downtown, Top Hat, 8th Ave. SW).
Listening to the stories and re-telling of how BIPOC small businesses have invested in our community over decades
We identify, hold and use empty and underutilized spaces for and with community
Community shaping future development, land use, and zoning policy
Sustaining and Growing BIPOC Businesses
Our current business assistance program is one component of our place-based economic development work. Our focus has been to sustain and grow existing 1st and 2nd generation refugee and immigrant businesses.
We provide 1:1 assistance to our beloved legacy businesses (business assessment and action plans – growing connection to relevant business advisors and general counseling and coaching
The White Center Business Alliance strives to be a place of connection for our BIPOC and allied businesses, where each member can engage in business-to-business networking, community advocacy, and resource sharing
Relationship building and connecting to resources (Connecting businesses to legal commercial lease support, helping resolve tenancy issues, vandalism issues, and day-to-day business operations)
Connecting merchants through pandemic challenges (WCCDA distribution of Seattle Foundation grant funding, County, State, and Nationwide grant programs, National loan products, PPE distribution- Masks, hand sanitizer, COVID testing kits, vaccine verification information for businesses
Cultivating Community-Based Innovation
The making and creating of products and services is alive and well. We provide support and mechanisms that will strengthen possibilities for neighborhood innovation. We are committed to cultivating or nurturing opportunities and passions for personal and collective investments.
Community Pop-Up Market providing space for new BIPOC entrepreneurs without storefronts
Creating Financial Empowerment education to assist business start-ups
Building a Maker-space in the HUB Development
Exploring innovative models of business ownership and operations (Commercial Land Trusts, Employee-owned Cooperatives)
Community Market Happenings
As part of our Honoring Spaces work, we are working in collaboration with the owners of Huong Xua Deli, Keving Bui, artist Craig Cundiff, and our team! As part of our White Center placemaking work, we are committed to claiming spaces for our BIPOC community stories and history, holding our culture at the center. As displacement pressures persist, it's especially important to occupy, claim and own spaces that support our future and well-being now.
Kevin Bui, the owner of the deli, wanted to have a piece that represented his home and culture of Vietnam. The symbol of the water buffalo and child are images of Vietnam, the values of holding steadfast to the daily work we're committed to, and the love we hold for family members and community.
More will be posted later. For now, we have some draft concepts here!
Enjoy watching Craig today as he brings these images to our White Center business core!
All pictures were provided by Craig Cundiff.
As of Friday, Aug 12 the mural has reached this far! Please visit our Instagram to see more of what is happening!