Seattle Foundation is a community foundation serving the Greater Seattle area. Established in 1946, it is the oldest community foundation serving the Pacific Northwest, with a mission to ignite powerful, rewarding philanthropy to make Greater Seattle a stronger, more vibrant community for all.


Alesha Washington President & CEO of the Seattle Foundation

Reckoning with Philanthropy’s Past
Alesha Washington, the dynamic CEO of Seattle Foundation, is igniting change within the philanthropic sector from the outset. Candidly addressing the sector’s historical role in perpetuating inequities, Washington calls for a profound self-examination. She advocates for a comprehensive overhaul of philanthropic practices, challenging organizations to embrace transformation and revamp their approaches for a more equitable future.

Empowering Marginalized Communities
With a deep commitment to empowering marginalized communities, Washington urges philanthropy to shed the traditional top-down approach. Emphasizing the importance of listening and learning from communities, she champions authentic partnerships that respect their expertise and lived experiences. Seattle Foundation takes concrete steps to ensure that their efforts result in meaningful and sustainable change, going beyond superficial gestures of support.

Swift Response to Crisis and Building Bridges
Contrary to the perception of slow and bureaucratic grant-making processes, Washington reveals a nimble and responsive side of philanthropy. When COVID-19 struck, the Seattle Foundation swiftly established the COVID-19 Response Fund to provide rapid support to nonprofits. Washington illustrates how philanthropy can effectively convene diverse stakeholders, aligning resources, strategies, and goals to address urgent challenges. Recognizing the power of collaboration, she emphasizes the need for cross-sector partnerships, acknowledging that philanthropy cannot solve complex issues in isolation.

Evolving Philanthropy: Risk-taking and Racial Equity
Washington fearlessly leads the Seattle Foundation into uncharted territory, advocating for audacious endeavors that drive transformative impact. Encouraging philanthropy to take calculated risks and invest in groundbreaking organizations, she emphasizes the potential for unprecedented change. However, for Washington, the pursuit of racial equity remains the guiding principle. She challenges philanthropy to infuse racial equity into every facet of its operations, embracing a holistic approach that embeds equity at the core of decision-making.

Denver Frederick, Host of The Business of Giving serves as a Trusted Advisor and Executive Coach to Nonprofit Leaders. His Book, The Business of Giving: New Best Practices for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leaders in an Uncertain World, is available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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