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May 2021 News and Updates

Hana here–RVC’s grant strategist. We have been trying out a lot of new and exciting things at RVC, and the newsletter is one of them! I am your contributing editor for this month, and I’m really excited to tell you what’s been happening at the organization!

We all at RVC hope all of our community members, neighbors, friends, and family who observed Ramadan had a month of joy and blessings, and were able to end with a day of celebration. We are grateful to be in community with you. Eid Mubarak (albeit a little late)! 


I may not be there when you call but I’ll always be on time — Ja Rule as told by Johnny

Johnny Fikru (he/him), our amazing Fellowship Coordinator has moved away from RVC to pursue other passions that bring him joy. We will fiercely miss his bright personality, jolly demeanor, and ability to unveil beauty and love in all situations, even ones that feel heavy or restless. Johnny was hired on during the pandemic, so I didn’t have a chance to exchange awkward small talk with him in the office hallways or DIY kitchenette. So, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to ask Johnny the questions I’ve been eager to know! What I learned is that Johnny is not only piercingly funny and deeply thoughtful, but his love for community radiates through his words and actions, illuminating a path to where you know you’ll find true acceptance. Hopefully, you will be warmed by Johnny’s light as well.

🌱 What’s one thing that gets you super jazzed and ready to jump out of bed in the mornings?
My morning routine! I go on a morning run, do some meditation, get some journaling in…I wake up at about 6 am to start my day. There’s something about being out and about when the city is still sleepy that’s so calming and peaceful.

🌱 What album has zero skips for you?
Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange

🌱 What’s top of your summer playlist?
That new Bieber song with Giveon, but let me be clear it’s because of Giveon and Daniel Caesar. Also that Meg the Stallion song F*%#in Around, and of course anything by Chance the Rapper. Literally anything.

🌱 What would you want to eat for your last meal? What would you want to eat for every meal?
If I’m being super honest my last meal would probably be a very boring vegan sandwich from Chu Minh Tofu in the ID. Shoutout to Chu Minh Tofu~

For my every meal I’d say blueberries. I’d turn it into smoothies, turn it into desserts, and yeah…bluebs.

🌱 What are some changes you want to see in your lifetime?
In my lifetime? Well that’d be the end of capitalism, right? No more food waste, everyone has access to their ancestral food. I’d love for everyone to just be. I feel like I’m answering this question like I’m at a Miss America pageant *chuckles* but honestly I’d love for people to just live authentically themselves and for people to feel safe and for people to feel free.

🌱 What’s on the horizon for you?
You can catch me running for mayor in 2029….siiiikeeee….haha! I recently got a new electric scooter so I’ll be scootering up and down Seattle!

🌱 When we reach herd immunity, what’s the first thing you’re doing?
Probably go to a sports game. Like catch the Sounders because it’s not something I ever did before and now I want to do it!

🌱 If you’re fighting someone in the streets, who is it and why?
Something must have gone REALLY wrong if I’m out in the streets. 
[Johnny couldn’t answer because he’s a lover not a fighter.]

🌱 What are some things you’ll miss about RVC?
Definitely the RVC [Zoom] chat; everyone is so funny and we all riff off each other in a way that’s just so…funny! Also, the community feels. Being in a BIPOC space with staffers is so good. I will definitely miss the fellowship team *shoutout YJV shoutout Flo & shoutout to the Fellows*. It was really cool to be a part and see the different evolutions of Turn Up for Transformation and getting to hear the Fellows’ stories. So much love.

🌱 Advice for future generations? Future fellows? Future RVC staff?
I’d say to whoever is new at RVC: trust yourself, trust your instincts, be willing to ask for support and feel good about asking for support!

🌱 Any closing remarks?
It’s been a tough pandemic, but remember to love yourself, love fiercely, and love each other. Man…my answers don’t feel as fun as I thought they would…LOL!


🎉 RVC HIGHLIGHTS 🎉

A huge shoutout to RVC’s newest members: Suj’n Chon and Mandie Rice.

  • Suj’n Chon is a writer, photographer, multidisciplinary artist, and co-founder of IDEA Odyssey, a visual arts collective for emerging artists whose works focus on diversity, culture, and identity. She is a programmer for the Asian Crossroads program of the Seattle International Film Festival and has been a guest curator at Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. In her professional life, SuJ’n has served in administration roles for nonprofit and government agencies since 1991 and is currently the principal of Novum Lux, which primarily supports those doing work at the intersection of arts, education, and social justice. SuJ’n will be working alongside RVC’s Operations Support Program Team in supporting our partner organizations with contract grant writing.
  • Mandie Rice is a first generation Filipina American originally from the golden coast of California. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Sign Language/English Interpreting from North Central University (Minneapolis, MN) and a Master of Science degree in Business Management from Boston University. She credits her personal growth and cultural competency to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community who graciously shared their language. As she continues work in the non-profit sector, Mandie is excited to be a part of fundraising work rooted in social justice and racial equity. In her spare time, you can find Mandie curled up with a book or exploring a new hiking trail with her husband. Mandie now joins RVC’s Development Team as our new Development Associate.

Ananda Valenzuela, RVC’s badass interim-ED, will be hosting a 3-part series alongside Washington Nonprofits on Liberatory Leadership: Moving From Imagination to Action from June 2nd to 16th. Ananda will draw examples from RVC’s journey towards liberatory leadership while creating space for participants to explore the advice-process of distributed decision-making, practices to normalize and celebrate feedback, and other core components needed for distributed leadership, including actively doing equity and anti-racism work at the organizational level. Click here to learn more! Not feeling a 3-part series? We got you! Check out the webinar Ananda hosted last year with Leadership Learning Community on distributed leadership and self-management.


A BIG shoutout to everyone who TURNED UP 

Thank you to everyone who TURNED UP FOR TRANSFORMATION and witnessed the collective wisdom and power building within the current cohort of Fellows. It was amazing to see 

share their journeys through the fellowship and hear about the pivotal work they’ve done to anchor their host organizations when COVID-19 presented tumultuous challenges, while also growing programs that reached more community members throughout the pandemic. SO DOPE! It was amazing to witness their growth, and we can’t wait to see what is next on their journeys! 

Feeling FOMO* for missing the last Turn Up for Transformation? No worries! We’ve got you covered! Turn Up for Transformation’s final event is happening on June 24 from 6-8 pm. Don’t forget to SAVE THE DATE!

*Fear of missing out: cultural expression used to signify feeling left out because of one’s own conscious lack of participation 



Speaking of saving dates, the Green Pathways and Community Impact Fellows are GRADUATING! Join us on August 14th as we showcase the amazing journeys these incredible leaders have taken from being Champions to Changemakers. More information coming soon!


Looking for effective tools to help make your grantmaking practices more equitable? We have got you covered! Check out the blog to read more on our latest tool, the Equitable Grantmaking Continuum by April Nishimura, our Capacity Building Director, and our founder, former ED Vu Le. 

Also, keep scrolling to check out some Community Resources and Jobs in our Networks!

Learn about the recent successes and impact of the fellowship programs in our 2020 annual report

Sign up for our mailing list to stay up to date with our fellowship and organization transition happenings. 


🤜🤛 RVC Partner Updates 🤜🤛

RVC is powered by our partners, who tailor their work to the strengths and needs of the communities they serve. Every month, we highlight their amazing work.



Seattle Public Utilities’ community-centered project, Shape Our Water, puts a spotlight on Fellow Maggie Angel-Cano’s social change work at the intersection of environmental justice and education

Check out the full article here.  


The Good Foot is Making Major Moves!

May Praseuth co-founded The Good Foot Arts Collective 15 years ago with a group of young passionate artists who shared a passion of “impacting youth and the communities they do life in.” Now, for the first time, The Good Foot was able to hire May as their part-time Executive Director and the first salaried employee ever! HUGE congratulations to May and The Good Foot!

The Good Foot is also gearing up to launch a new campaign that advocates for “safety and empowers youth to build an environment of NO tolerance for violence…in the Hip Hop and street dance community.” This campaign is a co-created by an advisory panel comprised of youth from Franklin and Rainier Beach High School, community members, local artists. The NO Excuses campaign will be launched in the summer 2021. Don’t forget to check out The Good Foot’s website for more information!


AGE UP is Leveling Up!

AGE UP was able to bump up staff from three full-time and three part-time staff members to SIX full time staff members (with better pay and full benefits!) AGE UP has always been working towards making major investments in their people and the amazing work they do for their community. A HUGE congratulations to making this goal a reality! Read more about AGE Up’s exciting spring updates here! 


New Operations Support Partnerships
RVC is excited to welcome two new Operations Support Partner Organizations: Youth Speaks and Skyway Coalition! Check out their awesome work uplifting BIPOC youth and communities in our region!


Funding Opportunity

King County Eviction Prevention & Rental Assistance

  • King County is currently seeking non-profits to support the work of EPRAP through four distinct opportunities:
    • Hub & Spoke Program: provides rental assistance directly to tenants or through the support of subcontractors
    • Landlord Program: coordinates with landlords to provide rental assistance to their tenants
    • Tenant Pool Program: supports tenants in accessing King County rental assistance programs 
    • Outreach & Application Assistance Program: provides outreach and support to tenants who need help applying for rental assistance due to language, disability, or technical needs

There is no deadline. King County is reviewing applications on a rolling basis. Learn more about this program here.


Job Opportunities In Our Network


📋 Community Events & Resources 📋

  • King County Public Health COVID19 Vaccine Information
  • United Way of King County, Food Lifeline, the City of Seattle, and Metro Access are offering home delivery of emergency food boxes across Seattle, North King County, and East King County during COVID-19. To order a food box, fill out the form at the link above, or call Toll-Free at 833-540-0800, Mondays to Fridays from 11am-4pm.
  • Free COVID-19 testing is available in King County regardless of immigration status. Find a testing site near you.
  • Support East African Community Services (EACS)’s Family Empowerment Center Project. EACS launched a campaign to develop a new Family Empowerment & Housing Project for families in South Seattle. Check it out & support the campaign!

📚 Community Bookshelf 📚

There’s no doubt about it, RVC staff are avid readers. Whether it be the books, zines, insta posts, or subtitles for the latest binge watch, you can bet that we’re reading something to satiate (or is it alleviate) our curious minds! Here’s what we’ve been reading throughout May!

📚 We Want To Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom by Bettina L. Love

“I just started it and haven’t gotten very far at all but I like that it’s not all platitudes about critical pedagogies and social justice in schools but is about that action.”
-Bianca (she/her), Operations Associate 

📚 Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur 

Recommended by Michel (she/her/ella), Operations Support Program Manager

📚 Love & Rage by Lama Rod Owens

Recommended by Ananda (all pronouns), Interim Executive Director

The next three recommendations are all from Flo!

📚 Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement, Edited by Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

📚 The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin



“I’ve been enjoying all the creativity, imagination, and lessons these books have about a different world and how we can move with more intention to connect to the people we care about! :)”
–Flo (they/she), Green Pathways Fellowship Program Manager  

This is my current read. It explores the history of Blacks and lack of access as well as stereotypes about firearms in this country. It also covers how the 2nd amendment was not inclusive of Blacks and that our 2nd amendment rights did not take until the 14th amendment was adopted.
–Chris (he/him), Development Director



✏️ Blog Highlights

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Be a Changemaker

Simple graphic with a dark blue background. Text reads, 'Change Makers"

By committing to The Champions to Changemakers Annual Fund, you will be making a pivotal impact in communities of color in the Greater Seattle area. 

RVC Changemakers are folks who believe that leadership development and capacity building in communities of color should be spearheaded by the individuals working within these communities. RVC Changemakers believe in building a collective of strong voices — voices that may not always be in agreement, but ones that are always honored, heard and respected. RVC Changemakers push for social change on the ground level, for those who need and deserve it most.

The Champions to Changemakers Annual Fund makes a huge difference, it supports:

  • Training and strategic planning sessions for grassroots nonprofits
  • Lunch-and-Learns to help RVC’s Community Impact and Green Pathways Fellows strengthen their leadership skills
  • Community Connections lunches, where RVC’s community-based partners meet with our major donors to foster more cross-sector collaboration.

You may donate by credit or debit card, or check by mailing it directly to us. For other donation options, please email us at [email protected].

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