Environmental, Health and Racial Justice

In response the the COIVD-19 pandemic, ECOSS adapted its strengths in multicultural outreach to help businesses stay afloat and communities stay healthy. ECOSS staff have deep, trusted relationships with the businesses and communities they work with, which was critical during the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak.

ECOSS is continuing to help frontline communities and businesses. Recently, King County’s Office of Equity and Social Justice awarded ECOSS with a Community Response grant to build capacity and meet immediate needs. From that, staff have implemented numerous accomplishments:

  • Informed and assisted restaurants about City of Seattle’s Business Stabilization grants; 15 of these restaurants were among the selected grantees: Addis Market, Canton Noodle House, East African Grocery, Pho Hanoi Restaurant, Rain Café, Safari Njema Restaraunt, Thanh Thanh Cafe, Thien Phat Restaurant, Time Bistro, Yummy House Bakery, Blue Heron Café, Oak Tree Teriyaki, Teriyaki Plus, U DupBop, Rainier Teriyaki.
  • Delivered information and resources to over 80 restaurants and grocery stores in nine languages.
  • Provided translations and interpretation of coronavirus health literacy materials in Amharic, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese.
  • Trained Vietnamese community members in conducting wellness checks via phone and worked with a temple in White Center to distribute masks.
  • Created audio transcriptions of business loan information and coronavirus-related materials.

Many of the same disparities that lead to environmental injustices and inequities are drivers of health inequities: language access, digital literacy and geographical location, among others. For immigrants, refugees, non-native English speakers and other underserved communities, these disparities are being magnified during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

ECOSS has leaned into its role as an education and community outreach expert, pivoting quickly and nimbly to meet the immediate needs of those most vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis. However, your support will ensure ECOSS can continue to do this vital work:

GiveBIG through May 15

Donate to ECOSS directly or set up a monthly gift

Thank you for believing in ECOSS’ vision of thriving communities that are environmentally sustainable and equitable.

Meet ECOSS’ first Monthly Sustaining Donors!

ECOSS promotes environmental equity through multicultural education and outreach. By providing in-language, culturally-relevant, community-led connections to resources, services and experiences, ECOSS empowers local businesses and communities of color to be more environmentally sustainable.

This work requires innovative changes that don’t always fit neatly into grant applications and public contracts. ECOSS, like many nonprofits, relies on the support of generous individuals to provide the funding that fuels innovation.

The ECOSS family is grateful to everyone who has contributed over the last 26 years and is thrilled to announce its first Monthly Sustaining Donors: Sandhya Nakhasi and Jordan Clark! Learn more about why they give.

How did you learn about ECOSS?

 

I [Sandhya] volunteer with the Coalition of Immigrants, Refugees and Communities of Color (CIRCC). In their monthly meetings, they bring in representatives from other organizations to learn about how they are serving the needs of communities of color. ECOSS was featured at one such meeting and I was intrigued by the work.

 

Why ECOSS?

 

We have been looking for a local environmental and sustainability oriented nonprofit to give to for a while. We want to support an organization focused on issues locally that also incorporates the voices of people of color. When we learned that ECOSS’ staff are hired from the communities they serve, that really resonated with us.

 

What prompted you to give monthly?

 

From our experience with the nonprofit sector, we know that continual giving contributes unrestricted funding that allows for capacity building, which will promote and sustain programs.

 

What are your thoughts about giving during this crisis?

 

This pandemic has revealed the massive inequities that we see in our society today, that have been persisting for many generations. Nonprofits are working hard every day to fill these gaps in the absence of services and support, while also trying to change the way our systems operate and ensure that a future world is able to support everyone.

 

If people have the capacity to support nonprofits whether they are providing direct relief or working towards systemic change, this is the time they need us most. Let’s support organizations that are building a more inclusive and sustainable future for everyone.

Thank you so much Sandhya and Jordan for your generosity and your contribution towards environmental justice and racial equity!

Sustaining donations support local businesses, communities of color and a healthier environment for all.

Make a sustaining donation today!

 

ECOSS’ 2019 Impacts

By building trust and relationships through shared language and cultural understanding, ECOSS empowers communities of color as environmental stewards, helps local businesses become more financially and environmentally sustainable, and advances the equity of environmental solutions.

2019 ushered in a new core program, new equity roles and more! Check out a summary of ECOSS’ impacts below:

Learn more about ECOSS programs here

Looking back on 2019

2019 saw substantial progress on environmental sustainability and equity for small businesses, immigrants, refugees and communities of color. ECOSS’ work was affirmed multiple times throughout the year, including recognition by the Port of Seattle, accolades from King County and a spotlight from Sustainable Seattle on one of our staff. Join us below in reliving the highlights of our year’s work!


Facilitating outdoor recreation firsts

Reports increasingly highlight the disparities in access to recreational opportunities across Seattle and King County. ECOSS works to address inequities in green space access through our New Arrivals program. By listening to immigrant and refugee communities in South Seattle and South King County, we tailored experiences and promoted inclusive outdoors access.

Read about other first-time experiences!


Promoting waste-free lifestyles

Small changes can make a significant difference if everyone is empowered to participate. The ECOSS resource conservation team engaged diverse communities at 72 tabling opportunities, presentations and community events, reaching thousands of Seattle residents. Through these events, we helped community members reduce food waste and improve awareness of recycling and composting guidelines.

We also worked closely with 28 businesses and multi-family complex managers from around King County to assist in installing energy-efficient lighting and setting up education programs around waste management. Having a staff who speak more than a dozen languages is especially helpful for business owners whose native language wasn’t English.

Check out these stories about resource conservation!


Managing Puget Sound’s #1 source of pollution

In the wake of Seattle’s gloomiest day on record, Puget Sound’s #1 source of pollution – stormwater – took center stage in multiple news headlines, including flooding and sewage spills. This is why addressing stormwater pollution is one of our largest outreach and education programs, featuring Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) such as rain gardens and cisterns. In 2019, we:

  • Engaged over 400 residents on the RainWise rebate program to install cisterns and rain gardens; 100 of these residents signed up to learn more
  • Completed eight new residential GSI installations
  • Recruited five Spanish, six Chinese and 3 Vietnamese contractors to install GSI, promoting their businesses while expanding access to GSI within multicultural communities
  • Provided over 500 free spill kits and training to small businesses, 25% of which were multicultural or multilingual

We also launched a new initiative to promote “industrial-strength” GSI – larger installations designed for business properties with limited space. Starting with a partnership with Equinox Studios, we are showcasing innovative solutions to manage stormwater, decrease flooding and protect water quality.

Learn more about our stormwater management projects!


Transitioning to a clean energy future

Clean energy solutions can help cut climate-warming carbon emissions in some of society’s greatest polluters – transportation and buildings. And transitioning to clean energy in a way that includes everyone will better ensure its success.

This year, we established our Clean Energy program to provide education and bridge cultural, knowledge and financial gaps to access solar panels and electrical vehicles. We’re working particularly with low-income communities and communities of color – both demographics have historically been left out of conversations around clean energy technology.

Thanks to ECOSS outreach , we’ve already walked two households from disadvantaged communities through the process of obtaining solar panels!

Read more about our approach to clean energy outreach


 

Encore! Encore!

And here are some of your favorite stories from Facebook throughout 2019.

  1. Feeling gratitude for Grattix boxes
  2. Patagonia honors ECOSS’ environmental equity work with a grant
  3. PINKAPALOOZA highlights

Want to ensure you don’t miss out on these and other updates on important environmental equity work? Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!


We couldn’t do this without you

One important role of nonprofits is in bridging the gaps between government services and community needs. For ECOSS, that means addressing the language, cultural and knowledge gaps that limit immigrants, refugees, communities of color and small businesses in engaging around environmental sustainability.

Your support advances our capacity to think big about small business and community benefit. Whether that be innovative community funding frameworks, new pathways to the outdoors and more, your donation will help us deliver authentic outreach and equitable environmental solutions for all.

Donate to help us continue the momentum in 2020!

Over 10,000 businesses and community members served in 2018

“My English is very limited. Not a single cleaning product available in the market is labeled in my primary language, but after this presentation I can at least recognize products labeled with Caution, Hazard, Poison, and Danger.”

The passing of a calendar year is often a time for reflection and celebration. With the recent transition into a Gregorian New Year along with Lunar New Years celebrations starting on February 5 (Chinese New Year, Tết, Seollal, Losar, Tsagaan Sar), now is the perfect time to reflect on ECOSS’ impacts for sustainable businesses and diverse communities in 2018:

But outreach and community engagement is not just about numbers. We empower sustainable businesses and communities of color to improve the lives of people. Feedback from businesses, communities and partners is critical for improving the education and services we provide.

We served over 10,000 businesses and community members in 2018. And 2019 looks to be even more impactful. New Arrivals is expanding to more communities. Waste management outreach is shifting from simply recycling and composting conversations to education around food waste reduction. And our RainWise outreach continues to grow in ambition. Look forward to the stories in 2019!

Learn more about our projects

Want to learn more about the individual successes that contributed to these impacts? Check out the links below:

Want to help us continue this impactful outreach and education? Give a gift for sustainable businesses and diverse communities.