SEED’s mission is to improve the quality of life in Southeast Seattle by creating partnerships and inspiring investments in housing, arts and economic development – with a special focus on residents with fewer opportunities and resources.
Southeast Seattle is a vibrant, prosperous community with an abundance of retail, services, housing choices, arts and quality jobs. Residents from many cultures enjoy living in a diverse, safe, walkable and affordable neighborhood. Southeast Seattle is known as an arts destination driven by a strong creative economy. Food and beverage, green and knowledge-based industries thrive here and offer living wage jobs for local residents. Storefront occupancy, youth employment and high school graduation rates are high; crime and homelessness rates are low. Youth are invested in the community and schools are desirable to families. High quality education is attainable at all levels. The community has a culture of lifelong learning.
SEED is recognized as an innovative and collaborative leader in creating vibrant neighborhoods. SEED has grown dramatically in capacity, is financially strong and is self-sustaining. SEED creates catalytic partnerships to develop affordable housing, including senior housing and services. SEEDArts is regionally recognized for its quality art programs and community partnerships that promote SE Seattle as an arts destination. SEED has a strong economic development team that leverages local, regional and international investment and creates quality jobs.
|Integrity:||We are strictly ethical, honest, open, transparent, fact-based, and trusted in the community.|
|Respect:||We are respectful, caring, and communicative, we embrace differences, and we value and listen to the input of all team members and partners.|
|Creativity:||We are curious, innovative, entrepreneurial, visionary, and we strive to make our work fun and inspiring.|
|Teamwork:||We combine leadership with collaboration and dynamic partnerships.|
|Dedication:||We are tenacious, hardworking, efficient, constructive, and committed.|
|Quality:||We adhere to the highest standard of excellence and professionalism.|
|Community:||We are based in and committed to the community, we are responsive to its needs, and we work for a sustainable relationship with the natural environment.|
Southeast Effective Development (SEED) was founded in 1975 by community members seeking to improve the quality of life in the Southeast Seattle. SEED is often credited with being instrumental in reviving the historic Columbia City business district, improving access to health care for residents, expanding affordable housing in the area, and nurturing a vibrant arts scene in Rainier Valley. This section from a September 18, 2012 Seattle Times article by Lynn Thompson tells the story of SEED’s early years:
Rainier Valley is one of the city’s most ethnically and economically diverse areas but also one of its poorest. In the 1970s, when SEED was created, the valley had the highest rate of teen pregnancy, few opportunities for youth, no medical clinic and few doctors, said Virginia Kenyon, a registered nurse and 37-year SEED board member. And there were almost no thriving businesses. “Columbia City was a ghost town,” she said.
The valley was already home to two large public-housing projects, Rainier Vista and New Holly. Kenyon said SEED asked the city to put a moratorium on new low-income housing for fear that a concentration would hamper efforts at economic revitalization.
In 1987, SEED attracted a Group Health clinic. It recruited doctors and other health-care providers, and won grants to create jobs for young people, including neighborhood-beautification projects, Kenyon said.
The organization also purchased and remodeled derelict buildings, converting one to the Columbia City Gallery and another to the Rainier Valley Cultural Center. It launched many arts programs including the … Rainier Beach art walks and an annual Heritage Festival and parade.
“They’ve been instrumental and very effective in improving the life of the valley since the ’70s,” said Jeffrey Taylor, president of the Columbia City Business Association and an insurance agent.
In the 1980’s SEED completed several important capital improvement community development projects, including mini-parks with playgrounds, redevelopment of the Columbia City Health Clinic, rehabilitation of El Centro and Hutchinson Community Centers.