Advancing Equitable Outreach and Engagement

Message from Kathy Nyland, Director

Mayor Murray recently issued an Executive Order directing the city to approach outreach and engagement in an equitable manner. Putting an equity lens on our approaches is bold and, yes, brave. It shows a commitment to practices that address accessibility and equity.

What does this mean?

  • We often hear that meetings can feel like we are “checking a box.” The Mayor’s action means we can create processes that are more relationship-based and build authentic partnerships.
  • It means that we can create plans that are culturally sensitive, which includes an emphasis on translated materials.
  • It means we broaden access points, identify obstacles and turn them into opportunities.

What else does this mean?

  • It means we have an opportunity to recreate, re-envision and reconcile many lingering issues, including defining the difference between neighborhoods and communities, providing clarity about roles, and creating a system of engagement that builds partnerships with, and between, communities throughout the city of Seattle.
  • It means that we will be working to expand choices and opportunities for community members throughout this city, recognizing a special responsibility to plan for the needs of those who face barriers to participation.
  • It means that we’ll work with city offices and departments on community involvement to ensure that they are effective and efficient through the wise use and management of all resources, including the community’s time.
  • And it means we will expand the toolbox and make some investments in digital engagement.


Seattle is a unique city, and we are fortunate to have so many valuable partners currently at the proverbial table. Those partners play an important role and that role will continue. While we are appreciative of the countless hours our volunteers spend making our city better, we recognize and acknowledge there are barriers to participation. There are communities who cannot be at the table, while there are some communities who don’t even know there is a table. This is where the Department of Neighborhoods comes in.

This is not a power grab. It is a power share. At the heart of this Executive Order is a commitment to advance the effective deployment of equitable and inclusive community engagement strategies across all city departments. This is about making information and opportunities for participation more accessible to communities throughout the city.


“This is not about silencing voices. It’s the exact opposite. It’s about bringing more people into the conversations or at least creating opportunities for people to participate so they can be heard.”

Face-to-face meetings are incredibly important and those are not going away. But not every person can attend a community meeting, and the ability to do so should not determine who gets to participate and who gets to be heard.

We’d love to hear what tools YOU need to be successful and how WE can help you. Share your ideas with us:

  • Send an email to
  • Share your comments below.
  • Contact us at 206-684-0464 or mail us at P.O. Box 94649, Seattle, WA 98124-4649.
  • Join and follow the conversation online using #AdvancingEquitySEA at:

Facebook – @SeattleNeighborhoods
Twitter – @SeaNeighborhood

This is about making things easier and less exhaustive. This is about connecting communities to government and to one another. This is about moving forward.

Kathy Nyland, Director
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

People’s Academy for Community Engagement Now Accepting Applications

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is accepting applications to the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE), our civic leadership development program for the next wave of community leaders. The fall session begins September 27 and runs through December 6.

During the 10-week program, 25-30 emerging leaders (18 years and up) will learn hands-on strategies for community building, accessing government, and inclusive engagement from experts in the field. PACE has a strong focus on Seattle’s community and neighborhood organizations and the city’s governmental structure and processes.

Fall sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Miller Community Center. Topics include: Approaches to Leadership, Government 101, Community Organizing, Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement, Meeting Facilitation, Public Speaking, Conflict Resolution, and Sustaining Involvement.

Tuition for the 10-week program is $100. Tuition assistance is available. To apply, visit The application deadline is Friday, August 12 at 5:00 p.m.

Given the popularity of the program, PACE will be offered three times a year: winter, spring and fall. The winter session will begin in January of 2017. For more information, visit our webpage and for questions, email

Deadline Approaches for Matching Funds to Support your Neighborhood Project

September 2 workshop for interested applicants
Application deadline is October 5

If your group needs funds to do a neighborhood project, our Neighborhood Matching Fund may be able to help. However, you’ll need to be quick because the application deadline for the Small and Simple Projects Fund is Monday, October 5 at 5:00 p.m. This fund provides awards of up to $25,000 to for community-building projects that are matched by community contributions.

To learn about the Small and Simple Projects Fund, visit This is the last opportunity in 2015 to apply to this fund.

The final workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, September 2 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at University Heights Community Center (Room 209), 5031 University Way NE. The workshop provides an overview of the Neighborhood Matching Fund, the qualities of a good project, and the application process and requirements. To RSVP, go online at or call  206-233-0093. The workshop is open to all.

Our Neighborhood Matching Fund staff is available to advise groups on ways to develop successful applications and projects. You are strongly encouraged to call 206.233.0093 or email to discuss your project idea with one of our project managers.

The Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) Program awards matching funds for projects initiated, planned, and implemented by community members. Its goal is to build stronger and healthier neighborhoods through community involvement and engagement. Every award is matched by a neighborhood’s contribution of volunteer labor, donated materials, in-kind professional services, or cash.

Celebrate improvements at Jackson Park Golf on June 27

New driving range and perimeter trail

Seattle Parks and Recreation invites the community to the celebrate the improvements at Jackson Park Golf Course on Saturday, June 27, 2015 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Join us for the ribbon-cutting event, golf activities, giveaways, trail walk and light refreshments. Jackson Park Golf course is located at 1000 NE 135th St. in north Seattle.

The golf community and neighborhood have been advocating for these improvements for years and Parks is excited to deliver a range of new amenities to Jackson Park.

The recent City investment in Jackson Park golf course includes a double-decked natural grass driving range, three updated holes and an amazing new 2.2-mile perimeter trail. The community is invited to enter a free putting contest organized by The First Tee, get a quick swing analysis, and walk the perimeter trail.

The recent improvements at Jackson Park Golf Course were guided by community input and the 2009 Master Golf Plan. Seattle Parks and Recreation with the design team lead by RW Thorpe & Associates worked with the community to deliver the new range and modifications to Jackson Park. Seattle Parks designed and constructed the perimeter trail which circles the historic golf course and offers several entry points. Trail users enjoy views of the course, wooded areas and cross the creek on bridges shared with but separate from the golfers. The Friends of Jackson Park Trail host monthly work parties and are great stewards of the trail.

Jackson Park Golf Course includes a family and beginner friendly nine-hole executive course. All Seattle municipal courses are maintained by the City of Seattle and managed by Premier Golf Centers LLC. Premier Golf will offer golf activities throughout the event.

For more information about the project and ribbon-cutting event please visit or contact Karen O’Connor at karen.o’ or 206-233-7929. For information about golf please visit  or 206-363-4747.


Jackson Park Golf Course opens new driving range

On the morning of Jan. 9, Seattle was covered in a blanket of fog, and yet resident golfers still arrived early at Jackson Park Golf Course’s new driving range to practice their swing.

The driving range, which opened to the public Jan. 8, is a two-level, 50-stall, lighted and covered facility. It sits on the previous location of the course’s 10th hole.

“The fact that people are coming out in this fog tells us that this is going to be a popular place,” said Jackson Park Golf Course tournament coordinator Geoff McNeish. “We’ve gotten really good feedback on the facility. Everything has finally come together.”

The driving range was built as part of the City’s 2009 Golf Master Plan. The Golf Master Plan provides recommendations for golf course capital improvement projects paid for by course revenues. The Master Plan’s six priorities were to develop perimeter trails around each golf course, complete clubhouse renovations, convert from gas to electric carts and barns, develop tee-to-green cart paths, construct driving range additions and expansions and provide for maintenance facility renovations as needed.

McNeish said the driving range opening has been eagerly anticipated.

“We have a high school senior who works for us who’s been looking forward to this since middle school,” he said.

The range is open from sunup to 9 p.m. daily and offers a two-for-one deal on ball purchases before 9 a.m. and after 7 p.m. The golf club is also offering deals on purchasing range cards ($100 gets someone $120 worth of credit on their card towards purchasing balls, etc.).

Jackson Park Golf Course plans to have an official driving range grand opening party next month. For more information about prices, location and party details, visit the golf course’s website.