Creating Resilient Local Communities

Seattle and the Puget Sound region are among the most exciting, innovative, vibrant, and beautiful places in the world. Our region has experienced tremendous growth, and while this growth has brought significant economic benefits, it's also brought challenges in the areas of equity, housing, and transportation.
Building Opportunity
We’re committed to seeing our vision of more resilient, stronger, and inclusive communities come to life. For decades, we’ve been working with partners in our network to address social and economic challenges while empowering people and the communities in which they live.

Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis

In the face of the COVID-19 health and economic crisis in the Pacific Northwest, both Vulcan and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation are thoughtfully assessing ways we can help mitigate some of these impacts; supporting health care workers and first responders, local and regional authorities, and partners and leaders on the front lines in Seattle.

Supporting Those Most Impacted

We’ve launched or contributed to multiple funds that support small businesses, nonprofits, and members of our community who are disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of the virus.

  • Na'ah Illahee Fund: Provide flexible direct support to Indigenous communities with a focus on food insecurity, gender-based violence and support to local artists.*

  • The Potlach Fund: Supports emergency funding to current and previous Indigenous grantees based on immediate needs of families and businesses.*

Seattle Foundation, ArtsFund, Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Association (CIDBIA), Seattle Chinatown-International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), Friends of Little Saigon, Partner and Supporters of The Plate Fund, ArtsFund, Pride Foundation, South Lake Union Chamber of Commerce, Na'ah Illahee Fund, The Potlach Fund

Improving the Health of Our Whole Community

When our most vulnerable neighbors get the support they need, our entire community benefits. Joining other funders, we’ve prioritized efforts that ensure these populations have access to testing, care, protection and food.

  • Testing and Care for Unsheltered Populations: Supports the entire community by increasing testing and care for vulnerable populations.*

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Donation: Donated PPE helped cover the most urgent needs facing Washington state health care workers, first responders, and long-term care facilities.*

  • WA Food Fund: A statewide relief program directed toward three organizations which supply food pantries across the state.*

  • All In WA Child Care Initiative: A relief effort to ensure affordable and accessible child care for Washington’s working families.*

UW Medicine, Connie and Steve Ballmer, The Bezos Family, Susan Brotman, The Neukom Family, M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Wendy and Eric Schmidt, Christine and Bryan White, Janet and James Sinegal, Washington Research Foundation, Anu and Satya Nadella, Amazon, State of Washington, Philanthropy Northwest, Food Lifeline, Northwest Harvest, All In WA

Advancing Our Understanding of COVID-19 and Supporting Science to Drive Policies

Washington state’s recovery — from understanding and addressing the pandemic to its strategy for reopening — requires more testing. We’ve partnered with organizations to ensure comprehensive, high-quality data is available to provide a baseline understanding of COVID-19 and inform smart policy decisions.

  • COVID-19 Serology Testing: Led by the UW Medicine’s Virology Laboratory, this major study will determine the percentage of Washingtonians who have been infected with the virus.*

  • Studying COVID-19 Immune Response: This study aims to understand individuals’ immune response to COVID-19 in hopes of accelerating vaccines and new treatments.*
  • WAFOOD Survey: The data from the online survey will help inform public agencies and food banks about the needs of people experiencing economic and food insecurity.*    

UW Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Allen Institute, University of Washington Foundation, University of Washington, Washington State University, Tacoma Community College


Combatting Homelessness

Similar to many places in the U.S., the Puget Sound region is facing a severe homelessness crisis. To address the problem head-on, we’re building partnerships with private and public organizations to identify and deploy systematic solutions. Through public-private partnerships and grant making, we’re creating permanent supportive housing and improved services. We're also supporting local journalism covering the topic.

Gardner House and Allen Family Center

Gardner House and the Allen Family Center help families experiencing homelessness by bringing together an innovative combination of permanent supportive housing, affordable housing, onsite services, and a Family Resource Center. The building includes 95 new housing units for low-income families and an 8,000-square-foot Family Resource Center that provides programming and resources for families across King County.*

City of Seattle, Mercy Housing Northwest, Mary’s Place, Refugee Women's Alliance, Child Care Resources, Seattle Seahawks

King County Regional Authority on Homelessness

The new King County Regional Authority on Homelessness was created to bring a coordinated and unified regional approach to the homelessness crisis. By bringing together siloed efforts, the regional authority will provide a more focused response and will use goals-based metrics to address homelessness in our region. Vulcan was the first business to support creation of the new authority, and with our partners, we continue to support efforts to strengthen its regional approach.

King County, City of Seattle, Sound Cities Association, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ballmer Group, Raikes Foundation, Campion Advocacy Fund, United Way of King County, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Schultz Family Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Symetra, Microsoft

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“Lift” is an upcoming, feature-length documentary that follows the eight-year journey of three children experiencing homelessness from the Bronx who audition for a small ballet company in New York. The film seeks to destigmatize homelessness by exposing its complex causes and the inspiring actions taken by the dancers and their families.

Beaufort Films

"Project Homelessness"

We sponsor “Project Homelessness,” an initiative from The Seattle Times that explores the causes, problems, and actions taken in response to homelessness around the Puget Sound region. This ongoing series has helped contribute to a more informed and productive public dialogue on the drivers of, and solutions for, homelessness.*

Seattle Times, Seattle Foundation, BECU, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bernier McCaw Foundation, Campion Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation, Seattle Mariners, Starbucks, University of Washington

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Building Economic Opportunity and Fostering Civic Engagement

Factors that contribute to community resilience include opportunity, equity, and engagement. While our region has prospered, deep economic disparities persist and some communities have been left out. We work to expand economic growth by partnering with local groups that champion economic empowerment for minority-owned and women-owned businesses. To help strengthen the fabric of our community, we're helping build a network of technology and innovation companies that promote civic engagement.

Emerald Cities

Emerald Cities Collaborative is a national non-profit organization that works to create more sustainable communities while nurturing inclusive opportunities. Our investments in their local chapter support: a three-year program to train individuals in the technical trades, the creation of an e-contractor academy that supports minority-owned and women-owned businesses, and the launching of a Clean Energy Pre-Apprenticeship program. These efforts increase the diversity of subcontractor pools and boost economic activity in businesses and communities where they’re most needed.

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Tabor 100

Tabor 100 is an association of entrepreneurs and business advocates committed to increasing economic opportunities for African-Americans and supporting women-owned and minority-owned businesses in Washington. Its new initiative, the Economic Development Hub, provides support, low-cost shared workspaces, and services as well as connections to education, workforce development, and mentorship to women-owned and minority-owned businesses in the Puget Sound region.

Tabor 100, City of Seattle, State of Washington, Port of Seattle, Sound Transit

Visit Site is a network of technology and innovation companies focused on strengthening Seattle by promoting and improving civic engagement. The organization does this by launching campaigns across its membership that address critical civic issues to raise awareness, garner support, and highlight direct pathways for action. This new initiative has engaged more than 650 technology professionals, organized two dozen civic and volunteer events, and hosted seven STEM assemblies in low-income schools in King County.

Facebook, Expedia, Pacific Science Center, Rover, Amazon, Verizon, Flying Fish Partners, Google, Tableau, Remitly, WeWork, Madrona Venture Group, Zillow

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"We The Economy"

A short-film series that demystifies questions such as, “What is Money?,” “What is the Role of our Government in the Economy?,” and “What Causes Inequality?” while empowering audiences to make more informed decisions in their daily lives and to plan for their economic future. “We the Economy” was nominated for an IDA Award for Best Short Form Series.

Cinelan, Jon M. Chu, Adam McKay, Catherine Hardwicke

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“We the Voters: 20 Films for the People”

According to The Washington Post, only 36% of Americans can name the three branches of government and 35% can’t name any. “We the Voters” is a nonpartisan, digital slate of 20 short films designed to inform, inspire, and ultimately activate voters nationwide with fresh perspectives on the subjects of democracy, elections, and U.S. governance.

Show of Force

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Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

The opioid crisis has devastated families and communities across the country – and locally. In 2017, approximately 47,000 Americans died of overdoses, with 776 right here in Washington state, roughly two people each day. To combat this epidemic, we’re supporting an innovative treatment program that can save lives and improve quality of life.

Medication-First Opioid Disorder Treatment

Medication-First is a method of care that improves patient outcomes while reducing the usage and mortality rate of those with opioid-use disorder. As part of a public/private funding partnership, we’re supporting sites across the state — in Tacoma, Spokane, Walla Walla, and Seattle — to determine whether low-barrier application of medication-first treatment has better outcomes for high-need populations.*

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, University of Washington

Washington Health Care Authority, Premera, Tacoma/Pierce County Public Health, Seattle Foundation


Supporting Transit and Transportation Choices

Our region’s transportation system is under strain. Since 2019, travel times on key highway corridors have doubled – which adds to commute times and hampers on-time freight delivery and the movement of goods. We believe transportation provides pathways to opportunities and helps our communities become more connected, inclusive, and vibrant. Expanded transit options are an essential part of improving traffic and reducing climate pollution. That’s why we’ve worked for decades, along with our partners, to advocate for generational improvements to transit systems throughout the Puget Sound region.

Supporting Transit Funding and Initiatives

We supported three successive ballot measures (in 2006, 2008, and 2016) that added regional express bus and commuter rail service while also building a light rail system. In 2019, we also supported the "No On I-976 Campaign" to protect our state’s investments in transit. In Seattle, we’re part of a broad partnership of residents, nonprofits, businesses, arts, healthcare, educational, and cultural institutions committed to realizing a connected and robust streetcar network.


Supporting Solutions that Address Gun Violence

The U.S. is in the middle of a gun violence crisis. In absence of federal action, we’ve been working to make sure Washington state leads the way in creating common-sense gun laws that protect our residents and save lives. We do this by financing advocacy, litigation, and storytelling projects that raise awareness while also honoring the lives of those lost to gun violence.

“Midsummer in Newtown”

In the emotionally powerful and uplifting documentary “Midsummer in Newtown,” filmmaker Lloyd Kramer shares intimate stories of three families who find hope in the transforming power of the arts. The film focuses on two Sandy Hook Elementary School students, Tain and Sammy, who join exuberant classmates to bring healing by staging “A Rockin’ Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The film reminds us all there's heroism in simply living each day and is an artistic expression of people determined to reflect love and beauty – despite the horrors they’ve endured.


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Supporting the Passage of Common-Sense Gun Laws

Since 2014, we've supported initiatives to adopt common-sense gun laws, all of which have been approved by the voters of Washington state. These initiatives add important measures and address loopholes such as background checks for private gun sales, helping courts prevent people from accessing firearms if it's determined they would put themselves at risk, and raising the purchasing age for semi-automatic assault-style rifles to 21.

Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, Giffords, Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action