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