Today the City Council passed two important things related to our Department of Neighborhoods (I chair the Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee).
First, we confirmed Bernie Matsuno as the new Director of the Department of Neighborhoods (DON). Congratulations, Bernie! Council looks forward to your leadership and stewardship of the department.
I am especially interested in working with Bernie and supporting DON’s work to open up city government to our residents and to find new and innovative ways to improve meaningful participation among our residents in the city’s initiatives, programs and decision-making processes.
I am impressed with Bernie’s professional background and her two-decade long commitment to the Department of Neighborhoods. Bernie has held numerous leadership roles with the Department of Neighborhoods since its inception in 1988 (then Office of Neighborhoods), serving as Deputy Director, Interim Director, Director of the Community Building Division, and Senior Project Manager of the Neighborhood Matching Fund Program.
Council also unanimously took action to award more than $1 million in matching funds to support neighborhood projects across the City as a part of the Neighborhood Matching Fund’s Large Projects Fund. Twelve community organizations will receive awards from the Neighborhood Matching Fund for projects as diverse as creation of an autistic spectrum disorder-friendly playspace to construction of an outdoor stage for community events. Follow this link to see the full list of awarded projects. Eleven of the 12 projects are in distinct neighborhoods in Seattle: Beacon Hill, Ballard, Central District, Delridge, Greenwood, Maple Leaf, Othello, Phinney, Rainier Beach (x2), and West Seattle.
Neighborhood matching funds not only provide resources to bring about community-driven projects, but these projects themselves are critical in bringing neighbors together to build stronger communities.
Are you interested in getting a project in your community off the ground with the help of the Marching Fund? There are three levels of funds available:
- The Small Sparks Fund provides awards up to $1,000 to support community members in becoming civically engaged.
- The Small and Simple Projects Fund provides awards up to $20,000 to support community members in building community relationships around a project.
- The Large Projects Fund provides awards up to $100,000 to support community members in building community relationships around a project.
It has been a great day for our Department of Neighborhoods and I look forward to seeing these great community projects come to fruition.