press release

Press Contact: Christina DePaolo, (206) 263-1588

$20 Million approved for Building for Equity

2-year effort to evolve 4Culture’s funding practices towards more equitable outcomes


The King County Council passed legislation to approve Building for Equity, a joint initiative between 4Culture, Executive Dow Constantine and the King County Council. This $20 million initiative supports the existing needs of building projects within the cultural sector and creates a pathway for 4Culture to evolve its funding practices toward more equitable outcomes. The legislation was passed July 1, 2019.

A photograph of 4Culture staff with King County Councilmembers and a Shannon Braddock from the King County Executive's office.
From left to right: Brian J. Carter and Debra Twersky, 4Culture; King County Council Members Reagan Dunn, Larry Gossett, Joe McDermott; Shannon Braddock, Deputy Chief of Staff for King County Executive Dow Constantine; King County Councilmembers Claudia Balducci, Dave Upthegrove, Kathy Lambert, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Pete von Reichbauer, and Council Chair Rod Dembowski. Photo by Timothy Aguero.

Full Release

For the last 25 years, King County through 4Culture, has nurtured the growth and sustainability of our region’s cultural ecosystem through grants to support the acquisition, renovation, or building of facilities that make cultural experiences possible. From the Village Theatre in Issaquah, the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle’s International district, to the new Highline Historical Museum in Burien—these funds continue to impact the cultural landscape. This new large-scale initiative will provide organizations with the funding they need to complete their capital projects and provide 4Culture with the resources necessary to center racial equity and geographic accessibility into its funding program. Building for Equity will create a new funding model for 4Culture through two phases:

Phase 1

$7 Million to 2018-19 Facilities Program
During its regular application cycle, 4Culture received capital facilities funding requests 15 times its available budget. This initiative will provide additional support for these organizations to complete their projects in a red-hot development climate of rising land value and construction costs.

Cultural Space Contribution Requirement
Recipients of major grants will provide use of meeting, rehearsal, performance, or display space to small groups seeking a venue. 4Culture will work with recipients to facilitate partnerships starting in fall 2019, focusing on small, rural, and marginalized POC-led organizations.

$1 Million to King County’s Preservation Action Fund, a real estate program dedicated to purchasing, restoring, protecting, and selling historic properties. Proceeds from sales will replenish the fund for future purchases.

Phase 2

$2 Million to On-Ramp Program
4Culture will do extensive marketing and outreach to identify and invite potential partners to participate in an 18-month program to plan for and secure the best possible cultural spaces for their needs. On-Ramp activities will include workshops, skill-building seminars, mentorship, and technical assistance.

It will prioritize organizations effectively serving communities that have historically faced barriers to purchasing and stewarding cultural space due to institutional oppression. The vision is to broaden County reach, deepen connections, and increase support of communities of color, immigrants and refugees, people with disabilities, and rural and low-income communities.

$10 Million to 2021 Facilities Program
4Culture will assess and revise its Cultural Facilities application and panel review process to focus on more equitable outcomes for historically marginalized groups and institutions. A Racial Equity Tool Kit will be used to evaluate the program—a suite of tools for institutionalizing racial equity into decision-making.

This strategic work will lead up to a funding round in 2021 that includes the Cultural Space Contribution Requirement and encourages On-Ramp participants to apply.

Related Links


“This program gives 4Culture a blueprint for action. Addressing historic inequities in our sector will allow us to serve more organizations and communities throughout King County. There is no better place to start than with a program that makes cultural spaces possible—where people come together to express themselves and build communities.”
– Brian J. Carter, Executive Director, 4Culture