This winter season, there are people who are faced with tough choices.  Pay the power bill or buy food? Keep the heat on or pay rent? Families need to keep a roof over their heads and to feed their children, and so there really isn’t a choice at all, and they face their power being shut off as a result.

You can keep a family warm this winter by supporting Byrd Barr Place’s Energy Assistance Program, which helps thousands of people across Seattle heat their homes each year by providing them with necessary assistance. For every donation of $75 or more to Byrd Barr Place’s Bridge the Gap program fund, you will receive this beautiful Warm Haus candle, generously produced by Salt House Mercantile in Seattle.

Just make an online donation and select “Bridge the Gap” at checkout, and a candle will be mailed out to you. You can also purchase the candle from Salt House Mercantile in Seattle. It’s the perfect gift to bring light into someone’s life, and warmth into their home.

Through a formal partnership announced recently, Byrd Barr Place is working together with nonprofit organizers Africatown, Black Community Impact Alliance (BCIA), and Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) on equitable development plans in the Central District. One of our first projects: redeveloping the lot that was once home to Liberty Bank, the first black-owned bank in the Pacific Northwest.

Our goal is to give a voice to Black residents in Seattle throughout the development of the new building. We want to honor the bank’s legacy, and ensure the building’s ownership reflects the Black community. Earlier this year, Mayor Ed Murray announced plans to work with the community nonprofits to honor the bank’s legacy in the Central District. We are excited to see our community unite to ensure this new development reflects the history and future of our great neighborhood, one that is inclusive of all people.

Our progress on honoring the bank’s legacy, and ensuring the building’s ownership reflects the Black community includes:

  • The four organizations will prioritize renting commercial space to black- and minority-owned businesses at affordable rates.
  • The groups committed to hiring minority-owned subcontractors from within the community to work on the new construction.
  • There are plans for numerous art features that will honor the community and history of Liberty Bank.

The new building, which will begin construction in 2017, will include ground-level retail spaces and five floors—about 115 units—dedicated entirely to affordable studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments. Learn more about this project and let us know what you think!

Have a flair for drama? Byrd Barr Place is partnering with the Seattle Rep Theater to launch Public Works Seattle, a unique program that offers free acting classes to the public! We’ll be offering workshops, classes, and performances to join together people in our community through the arts. All people are welcome. This is your chance to shine! We hope you can join us every Monday starting November 7th from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. Drop-ins are welcome or contact to register. Visit the Public Works Seattle website for more information.

Partnerships and collaborations are vital to the ongoing success of our organization in meeting the diverse needs of the poor in Seattle.  That’s why Byrd Barr Place is currently leading a collaborative partnership or Community of Practice (COP) with Africatown, Seattle King County NAACP, Skyway Solutions, the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, and the Washington State Commission on African American Affairs. Together we have launched the African American Financial Capability Initiative to build stronger and broader connections in the local community, and deeper levels of cooperation between agencies supporting the financial needs of Black families in Washington State. By bringing together these organizations and making use of the strengths available both in our organizations and throughout the Black community, our objective is to increase the economic well-being of our community with a newly targeted focus on asset building for the long term.  The fact that these very different agencies that focus on very different aspects of the same problem have agreed to work collectively on a solution is a major step forward in Seattle and King County.

Funded by the Northwest Area Foundation and the Kellogg Foundation, our strategic roadmap includes:

Phase 1 (2016)

  • Build a Community of Practice (COP) for Seattle/King County
  • Hold a series of Listening Sessions
  • Increase the capacity of direct-service agencies
  • Strategic planning for Phases 2 and 3

Phase 2 (January – June 2017)

  • Conduct discovery and design for a Breakthrough Service Model to evaluate and design a new approach to engage Blacks and meet their needs with relevant, impactful programs
  • Create a shared policy agenda with city officials that enables Blacks to earn livable wages (net worth), grow assets, and build generational wealth
  • Continue to build the COP’s strategic leadership skills and connections

Phase 3 (July 2017 – December 2018)

  • Implement the Breakthrough Service Model pilot
  • Track progress and assess outcomes over an 18-month period
  • Continue community engagement and advocacy work
  • Develop the core competencies and relationships within the COP partnership.

This work is critical now, and the African American Financial Capability Initiative is the optimal vehicle to move concepts outlined in the Creating an Equitable Future Report from theory to reality. To learn more or get involved in this project, contact us at

Do you or someone you know live in the Yesler neighborhood? Byrd Barr Place is helping to shape the sustainability of 30 acres of prime property in the heart of the city as a leader in the Yesler Community Collaborative. This is a ƒonce-in-a-lifetimeƒ opportunityƒ to ƒcreate ƒan equitable ƒand ƒsustainable urban ƒneighborhood. We have helped facilitate action plans for environment, health, housing, and economic opportunity, giving a voice to Blacks in the area to ensure equitable community development. View more progress updates. If you’d like to lend a hand or a voice, please send your input to us at

Byrd Barr Place is honored to celebrate May as a Community Action Agency along with hundreds of non-profits across the country, working together to change people’s lives, embody the spirit of hope and improve communities! Together we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other. Community Action (CAA) has put a human face on poverty for 52 years by advocating for limited-income citizens without a voice, so that they may enter the middle class and reach for the American dream, replacing their despair with opportunity. So what does that mean for us here in Washington State? Over 645,000 people in Washington have benefited from CAA services annually, and Byrd Barr Place delivers services to the local Seattle community with Energy Assistance, Housing Assistance, a Food Bank, Financial Education, and advocacy initiatives. Visit these sites to learn about the Washington State and national impact of CAA, and help us spread the word! #BeCommunityAction

This fun kickoff to summer is a free community event open to the public. Stop by for an hour or the whole day, there’s something for everyone.

All-Day Festivities 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

  • Hopscotch your heart out on a 1 mile hopscotch route through the neighborhood (route map coming soon)
  • Free lunch from Dante’s Inferno featuring hot dogs, toppings galore, and chips
  • Live DJ in Byrd Barr Place’s courtyard
  • Kid Zone featuring a bouncy house, face painting, Play Street toys and activities, temporary tattoos, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and playground in the Firehouse Park adjacent to Byrd Barr Place
  • Flavorful cuisine from local food trucks (available for purchase)
  • Free tours of Byrd Barr Place’s historic firehouse building

Evening Festivities 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

  • Live music featuring Lady A, Meter Music, and JeMonica
  • Beer garden
  • Live entertainment with comedy, a magician, hooping, break dancers and more!

Don’t miss out! Come out and join the fun with family, friends, and neighbors plus help us raise funds for programs and services.

Presenting Sponsor

Event Sponsors

PGA_ProcessColor   Sound Oil     SIG_Logo_Black   Peterson Sullivan Logo

CHH Foundation Logo_color


It’s that time of year again! On May 3, you can GiveBIG toByrd Barr Place and your donation will be generously stretched by The Seattle Foundation and GiveBIG sponsors. By Giving BIG to Byrd Barr Place, you are funding innovative projects we are leading such as:

  • African American Financial Capability Initiative, a coalition of seven African-American-led groups collaborating to strengthen asset-building services, sharpen policy advocacy strategies, and grow leadership capacity to benefit Blacks in Washington.
  • Central Area Commercial Revitalization Plan helps to guide commercial development within the Central Area district by retaining the spirit and culture of the Central District by gathering community input on commercial revitalization efforts.
  • Yesler Community Collaborative, which brings together people and resources to support equitable and sustainable community development in Yesler Terrace and in surrounding areas

At Byrd Barr Place, we’re not satisfied with just fixing the issues in our community today. We’re focused on driving innovation and change in our community for tomorrow and beyond. Schedule your May 3 GiveBIG donation today.

We would like to welcome our 3 newest Board members, Michael Majeed with Skyway Solutions, Elisa Waidelich with World Vision, and Terry Easter-Hairston with Skyline Properties. Thanks for bringing your incredible experience, knowledge and skills to help enhance our capabilities and advance our mission!

Byrd Barr Place, in partnership with the Central Area Collaborative, is helping to guide commercial development within the Central Area district. Our goal is to retain the spirit and culture of the Central District by gathering community input on commercial revitalization efforts. The Central Area Collaborative is a group of 8 organizations working to align neighborhood development with community priorities. The project was recently funded by the City of Seattle and includes strategies to help establish and grow small businesses in the area as well as increase job training and social services for special populations in the Central Area.

Central Area Commercial Revitalization Plan – Overview

GOAL I:            Align ongoing commercial development in the Central Area with community input.

Strategy 1:          Increase community awareness of opportunities to engage and influence development and land use projects.

  • Create or highlight online tools that help people understand projects happening in the neighborhood.
  • Identify new ways in which people can participate in the land use and design review process.
  • Create Urban Design Framework focused on the business nodes within the Central Area.

Strategy 2:          Make commercial development accountable to community priorities.

  • Convene community residents and stakeholders to identify shared values on economic development.
  • Coordinate with the City to communicate community priorities to City departments (i.e. DPD, DON, OED, etc.).
  • Facilitate a clear path of for small, large, local and national developers to engage with community organizations.
  • Provide incentives for developers to include community priorities in development plans.

Strategy 3:          Identify collaborative leaders willing to serve as liaisons to commercial developers

  • Support dynamic solutions designed to meet the complex and diverse needs of collaborative members.
  • Engage leaders from across diverse interests and expertise to represent the collaborative.
  • Build strong and transparent relationships with commercial developers invested in the Central Area.

GOAL II:           Establish, retain and grow independent, micro, and small businesses in the Central Area.

Strategy 1:          Develop a coordinated marketing strategy for small businesses in the Central Area.

  • Create a comprehensive Central Area brand/identity.
  • Identify replicable, neighborhood collaborative marketing models.
  • Provide marketing support to 10 arts and culturally focused businesses each month.
  • Implement 2-3 unique marketing initiatives within the next two years.

Strategy 2:          Offer technical and professional development support to Central Area business owners.

  • Develop a micro business development strategy.
  • Develop a technical support series for new small business owners.
  • Develop a technical support series for established, small business owners.
  • Increase professional development support for new and established business owners.

Strategy 3:          Provide the financial and technical support needed to make Black business ownership more affordable and accessible in the Central Area.

  • Create and/or adopt a theory of change or logic model focused on creating an equitable and level economic playing field.
  • Secure funds to support a community-based, grant-making program for entrepreneurs.
  • Facilitate strategic relationships with local banks to increase small business loan options.
  • Work with City to develop incentive plans that support entrepreneurs and micro and small businesses.

GOAL III:          Increase job training and social services for special populations living and working in the Central Area.

Strategy 1:          Partner with schools, education institutions, and city departments to identify job training and program needs for special populations.

  • Identify special populations and the social services needed to support job-training effort (e.g. childcare, transportation, low-income housing).
  • Convene service organizations to review current programming and identify gaps in support services.
  • Gather data from the City of Seattle, King County and Seattle Public Schools on special populations living in the Central Area.
  • Create a community-based foundation focused jobs, education, and financial literacy.

Strategy 2:          Identify and partner with local organizations, businesses and financial institutions to support programs and align job training with available and emerging employment opportunities.

  • Engage institutions with established training programs and internship opportunities.
  • Identify opportunities to build better connections to existing programs.
  • Increase businesses owners’ awareness of the pool of trained community members.

GOAL IV:         Develop a thriving, high quality, and educational food ecosystem reflective of the African diaspora.

Strategy 1:          Create the right food production and retail mix for the community.

  • Establish a Central Area Farmer’s Market.
  • Negotiate with the City to secure long-term use of spaces and properties supportive of the community’s food interests (e.g., planting strips, right-of-ways, schools, firehouses, etc.).

Strategy 2:          Practice group economics and investment for spaces and marketing.

  • Create an entity that allows restaurant owners to work as a community in support of one another.
  • Identify a collective economic model supportive of pooling money, securing resources, sharing ideas, and strategic purchasing power.
  • Develop pipeline for small business creation through a centralized innovation HUB.
  • Secure resources to support business creation programs (e.g. Fare Start, SUI).

GOAL V:          Establish the Central Area as an African American arts and cultural center.

Strategy 1:          Partner with the Office of Arts & Culture to establish the Central Area as a cultural arts district.

  • Establish an accessible and inviting “hub” of art facilities within the Central Area.
  • Promote the participation and financial support of artists, arts venues, and cultural events.

Strategy 2:          Develop an ecosystem to support arts and culture based businesses.

  • Identify and prioritize the desired elements of an arts and culture ecosystem.
  • Review zoning codes related to arts and cultural facility development.
  • Provide affordable spaces to support the creation and presentation all forms of arts and culture.