NEWS GLEAMS: Seattle Foundation Names New Leader, ‘Seattle Within Reach,’ & More!

curated by Emerald Staff

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

✨Gleaming This Week✨

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Photo courtesy of Alesha Washington.

The Seattle Foundation Names a New Leader

The Seattle Foundation announced its new president and CEO Wednesday: Alesha Washington, most recently program director for Vibrant Neighborhoods and Inclusive Economy at the George Gund Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio, and previously the vice president of Government Advocacy at the Greater Cleveland Partnership, one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country.

“We are thrilled to welcome Alesha to Seattle Foundation,” Dr. Ed Taylor, chair of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, said in a press release. “She brings a deep respect and understanding of our past, a devotion to the urgency of where we are now, and a clear and hopeful vision for the future. She has high hopes for what we can achieve as a community foundation, and a proven ability to find commonality between constituents that drives meaningful change.”

Washington was selected after a national search was launched when former President and CEO Tony Mestres left the foundation in May 2021. Washington will start at the foundation on May 11, succeeding interim President and CEO David Bley.

The foundation’s announcement said, “At the Gund Foundation, Alesha led the team in efforts to reimagine the foundation’s grantmaking in democracy building, civic engagement, and neighborhood resident leadership. She also played a lead role in community work with other Cleveland-area foundations to advance racial equity and justice. During her tenure, she pushed for increased investments to Black and Latinx-led organizations, granting to $6 million in 2020 alone for capacity building and operating support.”

The full announcement as well as a profile of Washington is available on the Seattle Foundation Blog.

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Tammy Morales.

‘Seattle Within Reach’ Imagining a Thriving Community

Seattle City Councilmember Tammy J. Morales (District 2), who represents Southeast Seattle and the CID, announced Wednesday, March 30, a series of town halls under the banner  “Seattle Within Reach.”

The online series, starting Thursday, seeks to engage the community “to imagine and advocate for a connected, well-resourced, and equitable city.” It will explore what a thriving neighborhood should look like, provide an overview of the Seattle Comprehensive Plan and how to build towards a more equitable city.

The series asks the question: “What would it look like if your neighborhood had childcare, groceries, healthcare, and other daily essentials within a five-minute walk of a home you could afford?”

Seattle Within Reach will explore answers to this question alongside local, national, and international experts, with the first town hall taking place on Thursday, March 31 from 12 to 1:30 p.m.

Councilmember Morales will moderate the discussion joined by Planning Commissioners Lauren Squires, Rose Lew Whitson, and Radhika Nair, American Institute of Architects (AIA) members Dylan Glosecki and Matt Hutchins, and Ab Juaner of Puget Sound Sage.

The town hall series will be online. Interested participants can register at Seattle Within Reach’s webpage.

Photo courtesy of SE Seattle P.E.A.C.E. Coalition.

Building Safe, Healthy, and Successful Youth

Mayor Bruce Harrell and the principals from Rainier Beach High School, Aki Kurose Middle School, and South Shore PK–8 will participate in a community forum on youth sponsored by the SE Seattle P.E.A.C.E. Coalition.

The forum entitled “We are Intentional: A Strong Community for Healthy Youth” will be held on Thursday, March 31, from 5 to 6 p.m. Register for the virtual event through the following Zoom registration form.

Harrell will be joined by Principal Caine Lowery, Aki Kurose Middle School; Principal Ivory Brooks, Rainier Beach High School; and Principal Justin Hendrickson, South Shore PK–8.

Submit a question ahead of time for the mayor or principals by filling out the following Google form.

Language interpretation available in Amharic, Oromo, Spanish, Somali, and Vietnamese.

Renaming Places Derogatory to Indigenous Women

The Washington State Committee on Geographic Names is seeking public input on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s recent proposal to rename 18 geographic features in the state that currently have derogatory names referring to Indigenous women.

The federal department opened a 60-day comment period that closes April 25. The State hopes to finalize comments to submit to the Department of Interior at its April 7 meeting.

According to a news release, the 18 features, each bearing a derogatory term for Native American women, are spread across 14 counties statewide: Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Columbia, Garfield, Jefferson, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Pierce, Skamania, and Stevens.

Feedback can be provided to the committee via email at or at the April 7 special committee meeting. More details and information, including a list of features sorted by county, can be found on the Board of Natural Resources page under the About tab on the Department of Natural Resources website. Information on the policies and procedures of the committee can be found in the same location.

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