Community Engagement

The work we do in Seattle is rooted in the Gates family’s deep commitment to their hometown.

Throughout his many years of philanthropy and engagement in the Seattle region, Bill Gates Sr., the first employee of the foundation, worked tirelessly to address challenges and create opportunities for his neighbors to flourish. We continue to honor his legacy by supporting the nonprofits that provide critical support to our region’s most vulnerable community members.

We provide community-driven grants to local organizations in and around Seattle who are closest to the needs of their neighbors and neighborhoods. Most of these are multi-year grants that provide unrestricted funding to give nonprofits flexibility.

We support nonprofits who are working on the ground to end homelessness and connect people to safe, stable housing.
We provide multi-year, flexible grants to local nonprofits serving our community's most vulnerable members.
We respond to pressing community needs—whether an unprecedented pandemic or the impacts of rising housing costs and inflation.

Grant examples

Here are a few organizations our Community Engagement team has supported over the last few years.

Access to basic needs

We support organizations that provide wrap-around services to individuals experiencing food insecurity and housing instability—organizations like the Emergency Food Network, Family First Community Center, Nourish Pierce County, and Multicultural Child and Family Hope Center.

Support for refugees and immigrants

We provide grants to organizations who are supporting refugees and immigrants who are resettling in Washington state, including the Refugee Women’s AllianceAsian Counseling and Referral Services, El Centro de la Raza, and Tacoma Community House.

Housing security and homelessness

We fund nonprofits working on the ground to end homelessness and connect people to safe, affordable, and stable housing. In recent years, we’ve provided grants to Chief Seattle Club, Community Roots Housing Foundation, and Wellspring Family Services.

Strengthening the nonprofit sector

Through flexible funding, we help nonprofits build their capacity and expand their services so they can continue to deliver on their mission. That includes grants to Potlatch Fund, Black Future Co-Op Fund, and BIPOC ED Coalition.

A recent University of Washington study found that “28% of working-age households struggle to meet their basic needs, a significant rise from 22% in 2019.”

Community Engagement grants in 2023

Last year, our team supported nonprofits working on a range of issues—from housing security and homelessness to community and economic development.

Blogs and Resources

Community engagement grants: 2023 review

Everyone should have access to the opportunities they need to design the future they want. That core belief drives the Gates Foundation’s work around the world and in our home state of Washington, where we work at the local, regional, and state level.
Lilliane Ballesteros, Executive Director, Latino Community Fund

Washington state leaders reflect on Hispanic Heritage Month

For this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month, we caught up with a couple of these leaders to learn about the issues facing Washington’s Latino community, their connections to this month, and their own inspirations.
Foundation staff work alongside FamilyWorks' staff during the United Way Day of Caring in Seattle, WA on September 19, 2014.

National Volunteer Month: Western Washington organizations looking for volunteers

Check out this list to see which opportunities spark your interest!

More about what we do

Washington State Education

Nearly 90% of Washington’s high schoolers say they want to continue their education after graduation, but only 50% enroll in postsecondary programs today. We’re working with partners to change that.

Charter Schools

We believe high-quality charter schools—which are free and open to all—are an important part of Washington’s public school system, giving families additional options to help meet the needs of all students.

Past projects

Explore some of our previous grant programs.