Doris Koo introduces YCC partners at the Futurewise breakfast: (L to R) Michael Seiwerath, Capitol Hill Housing; Maiko Winkler-Chin, Seattle Chinatown International Dist. PDA; Andrew Lofton, Seattle Housing Authority; Evelyn Allen, Black Community Impact Alliance; Doris Koo.

At its annual fundraising breakfast on March 2, Futurewise conferred its “Community Champion” award to Doris Koo and the Yesler Community Collaborative. In choosing YCC, Futurewise noted, “We celebrate and thank Yesler Community Collaborative and Doris Koo for the critical work they have done to make our communities better, and to create a replicable example of community-oriented values in practice.” As Seattle Mayor Ed Murray presented the award, he noted that the efforts of Yesler Community Collaborative have have helped to shape equity initiatives at the City.

In her acceptance, Koo spoke about the risk we face of losing the Seattle we cherish even as growth brings opportunity and prosperity to some, while others are displaced from their neighborhoods. “We want a city for the many,” she said, “a place that businesses and families, long-timers and newcomers, teachers and artists can make their own. This is the work of Yesler Community Collaborative.

“By combining our efforts to map out a shared vision and speak with a united voice, we are helping the City to shape new, equitable policies. We need to seize this moment so that our historic neighborhoods and diverse residents can continue to make Seattle a vibrant place to live, work, learn, and grow.” She also shared a short video, “Dear Seattle,” produced especially for YCC by Weber Shandwick, that tells the story of what we stand to lose unless we work together to own our growth.

YCC from Yesler Community Collaborative on Vimeo.

Andrea Caupin, Executive Director of Centerstone, also spoke about the impact of collaboration: “There is a lot of talk about the value of collaboration, but it is not easy to translate that into action. Speaking for all the partners, I can tell you that the work of Doris and the YCC consultant team has made a significant difference in our neighborhoods.

Andrea Caupin, Executive Director, Centerstone

Every non-profit and community organization in the city will tell you that they want to work across sectors and silos. But to actually do that effectively takes an organization that really knows how to convene, coordinate and connect people. That’s what YCC is good at!”

In addition to the Community Champion award, Futurewise also recognized the work of five other groups that have excelled in community-building to advance equity and environmental causes. These included Kittitas County, the City of Bellevue, Beacon Food Forest, Roosevelt Neighborhood Association, King Conservation District, and Yesler Community Collaborative. Futurewise is a Seattle-based statewide organization dedicated to sustainable urban planning practices. It was founded to help implement the Growth Management Act, which was adopted in 1990.