Category: Announcements

Announcing New G2L Staff and Board Members


The last year and a half has had a profound impact on everyone around the world and reshaped every aspect of our daily lives: our social connection, our family and personal life, our work life, and the vibrancy and health of our communities. At Global to Local, like many organizations big and small, we have adapted, shifted, and innovated to do our best to respond to our community’s needs. It is in times of disruption and uncertainty that we must focus on our sense of purpose and regain clarity about what we want to achieve. We worked hard to strike a balance between serving our community while also rebuilding a team that can navigate us through the pandemic and thrive in a world forever changed by COVID-19. So far in 2021, our staff have helped distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to 238 people, while continuing to educate communities about the vaccine, how to stay safe, and offer support for other needs such as housing, child care, mental health, and access to food. The entrepreneurs in our food business incubator at Spice Bridge continue to supply hot meals for individuals and families hit especially hard by the pandemic. Our team will stay ready and responsive until we get through this together. And fortunately, our team is growing! Over the last few months, we filled two positions and created two new positions to better align with our health equity goals. We are also making progress in transforming G2L’s Board of Directors to elevate new leaders who share members’ experiences in our communities in South King County.

I am thrilled to announce six new additions to our G2L family. We are excited to have two new board members and four new staff members join our team that will help lead G2L into our next decade of service to the community. Our staff additions will increase our capacity to enhance our community programs, advocacy and leadership efforts, communications, and internal operations.

Collectively, these six amazing individuals bring a strong sense of community and share our unwavering commitment to advance health equity by dismantling the conditions that perpetuate structural racism.

Please join me in welcoming Arni, Jalissa, Demmelash, Michael, Wadii’ah, and Jill.

A.J. McClure

Executive Director


New Staff Members

Michael Moore

Operations Manager

Michael (He/Him) comes to Global to Local having worked in nonprofit administration in Seattle for the past nine years. He served as part of the Development team at Seattle Opera for five years and as Operations Manager and Operations Director at Puget Sound Sage for three years. He loves the challenge of setting up and maintaining systems that help his colleagues feel taken care of while also furthering operational efficiency. He believes that respect for people’s lived experience and personal agency is the key to building relationship in work and in life. Michael is Vietnamese American but considers his status as a transracial adoptee to be the stronger part of his identity. For fun, he likes to play the guitar and the piano, play video games, read about the history of grassroots social movements, and watch YouTube videos of unlikely animal friends.

Demmelash Adera

Senior Program Manager

Demmelash Adera (He/Him) joined G2L on May 17th as a Senior Program Manager. Demmelash lived in Ethiopia before he moved to the United States in late 2013. He holds a Master of Science degree from Strathclyde University, United Kingdom and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. Demmelash has over 20 years of non-profit experience from around the globe. He worked in several countries in Africa and Asia in an advisory and management role.

Demmelash brings his extensive experience to the G2L team to support G2L’s community partners and empower our diverse communities to advance health equity the South King County.

Wadii’ah Boughdir

Communications Manager

Wadii’ah (He/Him) is born and raised in Tunisia, and moved to Seattle in late 2015. Wadii’ah worked on different visual storytelling projects including filming and producing stories for the UW’s Center for Human Rights that exposed ICE deportation machinery; developed stories about salmon recovery and other environmental initiatives in King County. Wadii’ah comes with an experience with non-profit work in Seattle and North Africa. He helped IRC in Seattle expand its educational outreach; and co-founded a nonprofit in his home country Tunisia, to spread debating culture and boost civic engagement in the MENA region. In 2020, Wadii’ah obtained a master’s degree in communication in communities and networks from the University of Washington. He’s fluent in Arabic and French language and culture. Wadiiah’s hobbies revolve around soccer, running and biking, and exploring the outdoors.

Jill Kong

Healthy Communities Organizer

Jill Kong (She/Her) is an immigrant trans-woman, who moved to the Puget Sound area from Nanjing, China in 2013. She started her Community Organizing career in 2018, and has since been a part of various social justice campaigns including responsible gun law reform, affordable healthcare, housing justice, and mass liberation. She has also led two successful voter outreach programs for the 2020 WA Democrats Coordinated Campaign, including one that focused on AAPI civic engagement and voter outreach.

During her off time, she enjoys reading, traveling, hiking, and backpacking.

New Board Members

Jalissa Horton

A native of the greater Seattle area, Jalissa (She/Her) fell in love with Culinary Art when she was only a teenager. She pursued her passion and graduated from Johnson & Wales University and Florence University of the Arts in Italy. Jalissa currently resides in the city of Tukwila. In 2019, Jalissa decided to launch her own catering company Chef Jalissa Culinary Co. That same year she became a member of the Food Innovation Network program.

As an entrepreneur, Jalissa brings her passion for serving the community and advocating for food equity and access for the low-income and communities of color. She looks forward to sharing her experience and knowledge with the Global to Local nonprofit organization.

Arni Villanueva Carullo

Arni (She/Her) is a Business Director at HealthPoint SeaTac with over a decade of experience in managing healthcare professionals and working with community partners and leaders. She is a certified lean process improvement trainer and has traveled across the country to coach other healthcare organizations to improve quality and access to care. Prior to joining HealthPoint, Arni served as an ambassador at the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce. She also worked at Virginia Mason Medical Center for 14 years and led multiple initiatives to improve patient care.

She immigrated from the Philippines 23 years ago. As an immigrant, understanding and addressing the social determinants of health became her top priority. Her two years working in a community health center opened her eyes about the barriers to access care that many in the underserved communities face every day.

G2L’s Pandemic Response: New Report Highlights Data and Community Stories

Nadine, an asylum seeker originally from Chad, found our Connection Desk in 2018. Over the years, our team has assisted Nadine with job searches, and also helped her connect with resources for food, transportation, cash benefits, health care, and subsidies for childcare for her four-year-old daughter.

Last year, Nadine was laid off due to the pandemic, and she accessed unemployment benefits for several months. She returned to work part-time only to have her hours gradually reduced, and her difficult financial situation led to her being at risk of eviction from her home. 

Rebecca, our Connection Desk program coordinator, assisted Nadine in securing $800 in direct financial aid. Rebecca also helped her connect with King County’s Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program, and Nadine received $3,975 to pay past-due rent. In the fall, Rebecca connected Nadine with $400 in Safeway grocery vouchers. Between these three supports, Nadine was able to save up enough money to move with her daughter from her unstable, shared living situation into a new two-bedroom apartment in SeaTac.

Nadine’s story illustrates a few of the many ways that we’ve supported our community during the COVID-19 crisis. The data also tell a story. In 2020, Global to Local:

  • connected 842 community members with vital services, such as food, unemployment benefits, and baby supplies
  • provided 8,700+ no-cost meals to isolated older adults and families
  • connected 360+ households with Safeway grocery vouchers and Spice Bridge gift cards to buy culturally relevant foods
  • distributed 4,200 masks to 6+ cultural communities
  • assisted 185 community members with applications for an eviction prevention program
  • distributed $25,000 in direct financial aid to 30 families
  • connected 14 families with zero-interest loans
  • stabilized and incubated 13 women-owned food businesses

Read our new report, which includes more stories and data showing how we worked within communities in SeaTac, Tukwila, and surrounding neighborhoods to limit COVID-19’s spread and harm.

Announcing Our Next Executive Director, A.J. McClure

A.J. McClure smiles at the camera.

A.J. McClure will step into the Executive Director role at Global to Local (G2L) on Dec. 1. Over the past three years, first as G2L’s Director of Programs and now as G2L’s Deputy Director, A.J. has overseen our local efforts to serve our most vulnerable communities through our Community Health Worker and Connection Desk programs. He manages the SeaTac-Tukwila Community Coalition, which addresses health and social inequities by expanding food security, increasing community leadership opportunities, and reducing barriers to high-wage employment. As Co-Chair of the Food Innovation Network Steering Committee, A.J. provides strategic leadership for the program, which launched the Spice Bridge food hall and commercial kitchen last month.

Having worked in South King County for over 10 years and calling it home for over 12 years, A.J. brings a personal connection to the work. As a son of Filipino immigrants, he remembers his dad being told an apartment was available over the phone, but then showing up in person only to be told it was taken. He also remembers his mom telling him about the 12-hour days she and her brothers worked in the cannery to help their mom care for their family of five. A.J. understands that many people in the communities G2L serves share similar experiences, and this fuels his commitment to work tirelessly in pursuit of health and racial equity.

G2L was established in 2010 to explore how the application of global health strategies could reduce health disparities and improve health in the U.S. Our founders focused the organization’s efforts in South King County, and from the outset, implemented a key global health strategy—listening to communities about their needs and co-designing solutions together. Using this approach, G2L has developed a variety of successful programs that have increased opportunities for South King County communities to thrive.

Since G2L was founded, its primary focus has evolved from implementation of global health strategies to meeting those needs identified by the community regardless of the source of the ideas. G2L’s board modified our mission statement earlier this year to reflect this evolution. Our current leader, Dr. Jonathan Sugarman, helped lead the process and, recognizing the importance of organizational leadership being vested with representatives of G2L’s community, last February he informed the board of his decision to step down by the end of the year.

G2L Board Chair Lisa Cohen made the announcement in an email to our subscribers, writing:

I want to take this opportunity to thank Jonathan for his selfless leadership during the past two years. We hired him to conduct an unflinching analysis of G2L’s best course moving forward. He has always put the organization and the staff first. He has earned our respect and admiration. Jonathan will remain at Global to Local as a Senior Advisor until February 2021 to complete some specific projects.

In addition to our South King County work, Global to Local is nationally recognized as a leader in identifying successful health interventions from around the world, and adapting these solutions for U.S. communities. We will be exploring continuation of this element of our work with the Washington Global Health Alliance, one of Global to Local’s founding organizations.

In this tumultuous time when so much seems uncertain, I am grateful so many people are undaunted by the challenges we face. A.J., Jonathan, the Global to Local team and board, and our valued partners spend each day dedicated to this critical work. Because of their commitment, I am optimistic about the future for Global to Local—and our community.

Stay connected with G2L

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Come Eat at Spice Bridge, Our New Global Food Hall!

Our Food Innovation Network’s (FIN) much-anticipated food hall, Spice Bridge, will open on Sept. 8! The home of our Food Business Incubator, Spice Bridge is a space for women of color and immigrants to launch and build thriving businesses.

We’ll initially offer takeout and outdoor dining, and we look forward to making the space a true community hub with indoor dining and art performances when it is safe to do so.

In addition to helping to create economic security for business owners and their families, Spice Bridge will help build food security in our community. The space will support FIN’s Tukwila Village Farmers Market, which makes fresh, local produce affordable and accessible for community members. Spice Bridge will also be utilized for FIN’s community meals program, which has provided more than 7,600 no-cost meals for seniors and families in need. We are also working on a meal voucher program as a way to ensure affordable access at Spice Bridge. 

Location and Hours

Spice Bridge is located in Tukwila Village at 14200 Tukwila International Blvd. Suite 141, Tukwila, WA 98168.

  • Tuesday-Saturday: 11am-8pm
  • Sunday: 8am-3pm
  • Monday: Closed

Food Stall Vendors 

During our first month, four businesses will offer delicious foods and beverages: 

  • Moyo Kitchen will serve Somali-Kenyan-Tanzanian fusion food inspired by Zanzibar, the world’s spice capital.
  • Afella Jollof Catering will cook up Gambian/Senegalese cuisine.
  • Seatango will craft artisan savory and sweet pastries from Argentina.
  • Taste of Congo will offer authentic Congolese cuisine.

On Oct. 1, four more businesses will join the rotation:

  • Wengay’s Kitchen will be the area’s go-to source for authentic Filipino food. 
  • Jazze’s will offer Afghani food made from organic, locally-grown ingredients.
  • Theary Cambodian Foods will serve authentic Cambodian/Khmer cuisine.
  • WUHA will offer “fast” Eritrean/Ethiopian food options, serving both authentic foods and American foods cooked with Eritrean spices as a gateway to more traditional dishes.

Please sign up for FIN’s newsletter and follow Spice Bridge on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with the latest news!

A few of the many foods you can enjoy at Spice Bridge

Our Connection Desk Offers Insurance Enrollment and Other Help by Phone

Hands hold mobile phone

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, Washington state opened up a special enrollment period for health insurance through May 8. Our Connection Desk is offering over-the-phone help enrolling in health insurance. We’re also connecting community members with other vital resources.

If you’d like help, please send a text message or leave a voicemail at (206) 707-6626. In your message, include:

  • your name,
  • your number,
  • what you need help with,
  • what language you need if you don’t speak English.

We will call you back as soon as possible.

Please note that we are not currently offering in-person services. We will update our Facebook page and website when in-person services resume.

Links to information about COVID-19

Board Member Wessen Kifetew Brings Passion for Global Health and Community Service

Wessen Kifetew, who joined Global to Local’s board of directors in the fall, has more than 15 years of experience in global health and community service. 

“Maternal and child health, women’s health, and equity in access to health care are my passions,” Wessen said. “These are big issues in global health, and also here in the Seattle area.” 

Originally from Ethiopia, Wessen earned a Master’s degree in Global Health from the University of Emory, Atlanta, and a Graduate Certificate in Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Leadership from University of North Carolina, Gillings School of Public Health. Her academic research focused on the impact of HIV/AIDS stigma on prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and she went on to work in global health operations management with U.S. government and international organizations. 

When Wessen moved to the Northwest more than a decade ago, she set out to understand health disparities and social justice as influential factors on policy, decision making, and on health outcomes of vulnerable populations and communities in greater Seattle.  

“I started volunteering, doing a lot of pro bono consulting work, and actively trying to get a good handle on what equity means, and why do we have these persisting health issues within communities,” Wessen said. In addition to providing pro bono consulting services to a variety of community-based organizations, Wessen is a member of the Washington State Coalition African Leaders (WASCAL), and also serves on the board of African American Reach & Teach Health, an organization responding to HIV/AIDS and other major health issues affecting African Americans and people of African descent. 

Wessen sees joining Global to Local’s board as an opportunity to support implementation of a strategy that has always interested her—adapting global health learnings to improve health in U.S. communities. More importantly, Wessen sees her role as a board member to bring the voices of the broader global community to the table.

“Working in global health, I’ve always thought, Why can’t we bring the experiences and the best practices to address some of the local health issues?” Wessen said. “There are opportunities for the public health community here to adapt best practices to address inequities in health and healthcare access, education, and in other sectors based on race and place. And I think Global to Local is in a position to play a big role in addressing these issues across diverse communities.” 

Wessen looks forward to supporting Global to Local’s growth beyond SeaTac and Tukwila.  

“I think we can help to address inequities and disparities in not just greater Seattle, but also in the broader international communities, similar communities who could benefit from the practices that we bring in,” she said. 

Tukwila Resident Charis Hnin Brings Community Planning Experience to Global to Local’s Board of Directors

Charis Hnin quote

Global to Local welcomed Charis Hnin to our board of directors this fall. A Tukwila resident since 2013, Charis brings a community perspective, and a background in activism and community planning.  

For years, Charis has volunteered as a convener, facilitating conversations between policymakers and community members who speak limited English—often in her living room.

“I encourage people in the community to be involved in local politics. I focus on local politics because a lot of our day-to-day life is affected by it,” Charis said. 

Charis’s passion for boosting civic engagement is driven in part by her experience living under an oppressive regime. 

“Coming from Burma, which had the longest military dictatorship, it’s important to me to exercise the democratic process,” she said. 

Charis’s professional career has been equally focused on building powerful communities. She has held front line and leadership positions in refugee resettlement, community development, housing, consumer protection, human services, educational leadership, and workforce education. In her current community planning work as the principal and chief strategist at Talitha Consults, Charis pays close attention to the interconnections between people, place, and power. She will bring the same lens to her board position at Global to Local. 

“My vision is that Global to Local will continue to be people-centered, with an inclusive definition of who the ‘people’ are, and also participate in the placemaking of our community, because these buildings will outlive us all and continue to shape many generations to come,” she said.  

G2L and Connection Desk Holiday Schedule

Global to Local’s office and the Connection Desk will close later this month as our staff celebrates winter holidays.

Our office will close from Wednesday, Dec. 25 through Wednesday, Jan. 1. We will re-open on Thursday, Jan. 2.

Our Connection Desk at HealthPoint SeaTac will be open with limited hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 23. It will be closed from Tuesday, Dec. 24 through Friday, Jan. 3, and resume normal hours on Monday, Jan. 6.

We wish you a happy and healthy winter holiday season!

Tukwila Village Food Hall Will Open in 2020 With State and Community Support

Rendering of colorful food retail stalls

Construction is underway at our Food Innovation Network’s new commercial kitchen and community hub! Tukwila Village Food Hall will be home to FIN’s Food Business Incubator, which has already helped launch 12 businesses headed by low-income South King County residents, primarily immigrants and refugees.  

Food businesses have traditionally been a way for many striving immigrants and low-income families to make a living. However, skyrocketing real estate and rental rates are making it difficult for these entrepreneurs to access commercial kitchen and restaurant spaces in South King County. Tukwila Village Food Hall will provide the space and support to help entrepreneurs launch and scale to successful local businesses. The Food Hall will also provide a community hub—a space where people can gather to learn about and celebrate the community’s rich food traditions. 

The facility

The 2,900-square-foot facility will include a commercial kitchen with four cook stations, five food retail stalls (including one stall designated for pop-ups and cooking demos), and a community dining area. The space will accommodate 20 food businesses, including eight that will rent stalls in the public Food Hall. Other businesses will use the kitchen for off-site sales, such as catering and farmers markets. 

The Food Hall will be in Tukwila Village, a mixed development project with 400 new affordable and market-rate apartments. Construction began in late 2018, and the Food Hall will be ready for operations next spring. 

Two side-by-side images show FIN's Food Hall building under construction now, and a rendering of how the building will look when completed in 2020.
Our new facility will be located on Tukwila International Boulevard just north of Tukwila Library. The building is adjacent to the plaza where FIN already operates the Tukwila Village Farmers Market.

State and community support 

Building out the facility and installing kitchen equipment will cost $850,000. Thanks to our local funding partners and the State of Washington, we’ve already raised more than half of this amount!  

Communities of Opportunity and the Port of Seattle have provided support in the pilot testing, pre-construction needs, and program expansion.  

The State of Washington has appropriated $400,000 in its capital budget to support the project; the budget request was sponsored by Sen. Bob Hasegawa, and supported by dozens of local businesses, nonprofit organizations, and community leaders. 

We continue to seek sponsors, and have launched a capital campaign to help raise the remaining funds. You can help open Tukwila Village Food Hall by contributing online and joining our crowdfunding campaign!  

FIN entrepreneurs and some of their children smile at the camera.
Food Business Incubator participants use income their businesses generate to support their families’ health and wellbeing.

Learn more

Proposed Rules Would Impact Immigrant Families

The Trump administration has proposed changes to immigration rules that many experts believe could put the health of millions of families at risk. The proposed changes would expand the “public charge” rule so immigrants could be denied admission to the U.S. or permanent residency if they or their dependents use certain health, food, and housing programs. These changes could increase poverty, stress, and fear among immigrant communities.

These proposed changes have not yet been implemented. Public comment can have an impact on whether the changes are made.

What you can do:

  1. Make a comment in the federal register. Because the government must take all comments into account before finalizing the rule, you have the opportunity to affect the outcome. Advocates have come together to create an easy-to-use comment portal at ProtectingImmigrantFamilies.org. Using this portal, you can let the government know how this rule would affect you, your family, your community, and our country. If you do not want to include any personal information, a friend or representative can submit a comment for you. You have until Dec. 10 to submit comments.
  2. Make a comment on behalf of someone you know. You can submit multiple comments on behalf of friends, clients, or anyone who doesn’t want to disclose their personal information. This FAQ shares information about submitting comments on behalf of others, as well as submitting comments that have been translated into English.
  3. Share this information with your networks, and encourage them to speak out.

More information: