Executive visits employees who are empowering strong communities through partnerships

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Chief People Officer Whitney Abrams recently visited King County employees and partners from the Communities of Opportunity program to learn more about their work to create greater racial, economic, and health equity that enables all people in King County to thrive and prosper.

Dow Whitney COO“Our goals for Communities of Opportunity line up with the intersection of wanting to see that all people are thriving economically, that all people are healthy, that they have quality, affordable housing, and that they are connected to the community,” Andréa Akita, Director of Communities of Opportunity, said during the visit.

Communities of Opportunity is a partnership between King County and Seattle Foundation to create safe and healthy communities throughout the region by working with community leaders and organizations to design effective strategies. It is funded jointly through Seattle Foundation and Best Starts for Kids, a voter-approved initiative led by Executive Constantine to promote healthier, more resilient children, youth, families, and communities in King County.

Communities of Opportunity Staff from Public Health Seattle & King County and Department of Community and Human Services, as well as representatives from the Seattle Foundation, Ballmer Group and HomeSight, gave Executive Constantine and Abrams an overview of their work and some detailed examples of projects that are making a real difference in the community.

For Kalayaan Domingo, a Project Manager for COO, the work is more than conceptual or theoretical as she has strong connections to the communities where COO is focusing its partnerships.

“I’m from this area, I grew up in south Beacon Hill, I went to the Northwest School on Capitol Hill, my parents grew up here, so this work is not theoretical for me,” Domingo told Executive Constantine. “The ability for my family to stay in this county living close to each other is something that we feel we fight for every day. When I’m out in the community these are not conceptual partners, these are people who raised me in this community, they’re people who I’ve had a long-term relationship with, and when I go out to the grocery store I have to go out there and see them every day, and if this doesn’t work I can’t go back out and show my face. So when we ask our community, and we ask ourselves to be accountable to the community, we really have to mean it and we really have to show it.”

Both Executive Constantine and Abrams appreciated the opportunity to meet with the COO employees and some of their partners to hear first-hand about their work, challenges, and successes.

“These employees are partnering with local communities creating innovative, tailored solutions to help everyone in King County grow, thrive, and prosper,” Executive Constantine said. “Their passion and commitment to building fairer, stronger communities is inspiring. I appreciate the time and care our employees taking to share their insights with me, and I thank them for the work they do every day for the people.”

Learn more about Communities of Opportunity at www.COOpartnerships.org.