SeaTac-Tukwila Community Coalition

Global to Local facilitates SeaTac-Tukwila Community Coalition, a partnership of community-based organizations that work collectively to address SeaTac and Tukwila’s most pressing economic problems, social issues, and racial inequity. We focus on strengthening the long-term stability of low-wage workers, communities of color, and immigrants to ensure everyone has opportunities to prosper and lead healthy lives. 

SeaTac-Tukwila Community Coalition members collaborate to:

  • support workforce development, career pathways, and business incubation for immigrants and refugees;
  • develop leadership workshops to empower community members to address local social, economic, and political issues;
  • boost local civic engagement; and
  • prevent and mitigate the impacts of displacement of residents and local businesses.

Member organizations include Congolese Integration NetworkPartner in Employment, Somali Health Board, and Somali Youth & Family ClubCommunities of Opportunity is the coalition’s funding partner.

Global to Local supports the coalition by: convening community-based organizations to determine local priorities and strategies; managing contracts with partner organizations that implement projects to advance community priorities; and coordinating internal and external communications.

More information

Supporting Our South King County Community Through the COVID-19 Crisis

Global to Local’s community-focused work is more important than ever as South King County communities navigate the COVID-19 crisis. The communities we serve, including immigrants, refugees, and families with low incomes, are especially vulnerable as they face multiple barriers to health care and other essential needs, as well as up-to-date information. We’re working to meet community needs, and collaborating with partners to boost our impact.

Distributing emergency meals

Our Food Innovation Network (FIN) program is working with partners to deliver 500 tasty, healthy meals each week to isolated older adults and families who need them.

South King County entrepreneurs who participate in FIN’s Food Business Incubator are donating their time, skills, and many ingredients, and additional FIN volunteers have stepped up to pack and deliver meals. The meals are distributed by Somali Youth & Family Club, Congolese Integration Network, Somali Health Board, Catholic Community Services, and the City of SeaTac. Tilth Alliance, Project Feast, Macrina Bakery, Storehouse, and Des Moines Area Food Bank are supplying food, and community members have contributed more than $2,000 to help purchase ingredients and containers.

You can find more details on FIN’s website, and watch this short video from our first day of providing emergency meals:

Supporting community members by phone

Our Community Health Workers (CHWs) are providing over-the-phone case management to address the social health and clinical needs of East African and Spanish-speaking community members. Through Global to Local’s longstanding partnership with the SeaTac HealthPoint clinic, CHWs have established relationships with dozens of chronically ill patients, helping them overcome social and linguistic barriers to health care. CHWs are now providing additional support to these patients, checking in with them regularly to share resources for housing, food access, employment, and financial health. CHWs are also reaching out to Latina and Somali community members who have participated in Global to Local’s physical activity and nutrition programs. 

Through our Connection Desk’s over-the-phone services, CHWs and other Global to Local staff and interns are supporting community members with health insurance enrollment and connection to basic services, as well as resource referrals in a variety of languages. South King County residents can call or text (206) 707-6626 to request help in their language. 

Exploring virtual programming

While we’ve suspended in-person activities to help stop the spread of COVID-19, we’re looking into ways we can use digital tools to offer online programming to support community health. We are researching innovative ways to bring programming and health resources to our clients in accessible and culturally appropriate ways. For example, we recently launched a Spanish-language Facebook page where CHWs are sharing information with Spanish-speaking community members, and the page may become a platform for video programming.

We are gathering information from program participants to determine what programming would be most useful as we all face the current health, economic, and social challenges together.

Global to Local continues to monitor and comply with local, state and federal health guidelines, and our priority will continue to be the safety and well-being of our program participants and our communities.

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!

Community Health Workers Partner With Clinic to Address Patients’ Needs

CHW Abdi Hussein helps bridge the gap between patients and clinical care

Global to Local (G2L) is partnering with the SeaTac HealthPoint clinic to address the social health and clinical needs of East African and Spanish-speaking patients. G2L aims to strengthen and demonstrate the effectiveness of using Community Health Workers, in collaboration with a health provider, as a means of addressing the social determinants of health. With generous support from Pacific Hospital Preservation & Development Authority, we employ two CHWs who are supporting patients from the Latina and Somali communities.

Our CHWs are able to identify social and linguistic barriers that prevent patients from getting the necessary care they need. We assist with services such as appointments, insurance and referral coordination, addressing gaps to health and advocating on behalf of patients. The CHWs have the same lived experiences of the patients we serve, and they are able to identify and create rapport with patients.

At the end of the project, we hope to share our model as an effective intervention in addressing health disparities of under-resourced communities.

BRIDGES: Bringing Global Health Expertise to Rural Washington

Over the past decade, Global to Local has successfully applied lessons from global health to serve residents of South King County. While we’re committed to that work for the long term, we’re also excited to share what we’ve learned with others throughout Washington state and beyond!

Last December, we kicked off a seven-month effort to identify lessons from global health that might assist in overcoming barriers to health in rural Washington communities. Under a contract with the Washington Department of Health, we collaborated with groups in five counties in Central, Northeast, and Southeast Washington to explore how global learning might enhance ongoing community health improvement work.

A key principle of G2L’s model is that communities are experts in the barriers to health that they face, so we started by studying health data collected by the communities, and by listening to community residents. These conversations were facilitated by the Kittitas Community Health Network in Kittitas County, the Healthy Ferry County Coalition in Northeast Washington, and the Southeast Washington Health Partnership in Garfield, Whitman, and Asotin counties.

Washington State map highlights communities that partnered with Global to Local on the BRIDGES project
Image adapted from the Washington State Department of Health’s website.

After identifying key health concerns, we scanned the global health literature for approaches to reduce health disparities in rural Washington. We used a strategic framework from a landscape assessment and literature review of global health interventions that we commissioned from PATH, a Seattle-based global health innovation organization, in 2017. We also partnered with the Strategic Analysis, Research & Training (START) Center, a research and consulting center housed in the University of Washington Department of Global Health, to help search for global health solutions.

Issues concerning access to care and financial insecurity were among the top health barriers identified across all Washington state rural communities. Other common health barriers included a lack of behavioral health services despite an increasing demand, and issues among youth such as bullying, inadequate access to childcare, and obesity.

Robin Read, Executive Director of Kittitas County Health Network, leads a focus group among
community partners to listen to local health barriers.

We shared 11 global health strategies that might be of interest to rural communities. Three of these strategies emerged as the most potentially useful and transferable approaches to mitigate the impact of barriers to health identified in each community: deployment of community health workers; use of mobile health technology; and task shifting or task sharing of services typically provided by physicians, nurses, psychologists, and other highly trained health care professionals.

We shared both general ideas and examples of specific projects with each community partner, and received overwhelmingly positive feedback regarding the utility of the global health strategies.    

“I think your recommendations around Community Health Workers, task sharing, and mobile apps are spot on for our communities.”

Robin Read, Executive Director of Kittitas County Health Network

The Washington Department of Health will provide a report describing the BRIDGES work to the Washington State Legislature, which funded the effort.

Learn more

To learn more about BRIDGES, contact Alyssa Reed at alyssa@globaltolocal.org.

Communities of Opportunity: Partners Advancing Equity in SeaTac and Tukwila

16 staff members representing 6 community-based organizations smile at the camera

Since 2015, Global to Local has played a key role in facilitating Communities of Opportunity’s (COO) initiative to create greater racial, health, and economic equity in SeaTac and Tukwila. This initiative is a collaborative effort by King County, Seattle Foundation, and partners dedicated to advancing community-based priorities and shaping policies to promote racial equity.  

COO has provided funding to help the SeaTac and Tukwila communities implement projects that contribute to better health, safe and affordable housing, economic opportunity, and stronger community connections. As the local lead agency for SeaTac and Tukwila, Global to Local: convenes community-based organizations to determine local priorities and strategies; manages contracts with partner organizations that implement projects to advance community priorities; and coordinates internal and external communications for the local initiative. 

In past years, the COO initiative has supported Food Innovation Network’s food system revitalization work, Congolese Integration Network’s efforts to improve social connections and housing stability in the Congolese community, and our Community Health Workers’ physical health programs at affordable housing sites. 

Local partners

This year, six organizations are partnering to drive change in SeaTac and Tukwila with COO support: 

Current work

Building on the success of our past efforts, we are collectively working to: 

  • support workforce development, career pathways, and business incubation for immigrants and refugees; 
  • develop leadership workshops to empower community members to address local social, economic, and political issues; 
  • help community members register to vote and learn about the 2020 national census; and 
  • engage in problem-solving to prevent and mitigate the impacts of displacement of residents and local businesses. 

Learn more 

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