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Seattle-based Capacity Building Cohort

Large posed group photo of 20+ members of Capacity Building Cohort in front of office

Communities Rise has partnered with the City of Seattle for over 10 years to provide capacity building services that focus on grassroots and midsize organizations in Seattle, deeply rooted in and led by the communities served. We prioritize organizations working in communities impacted by systemic oppression. 

The Capacity Building Cohort offers technical knowledge, skills, and the opportunity to build partnerships with peers navigating similar challenges in their community/equity work. We have been honored to support organizations in achieving their aspirations, not only through the consistent support of trusted coaches who recognize and respect communal wisdom, but through the transformative power of being in community.

The Capacity Building Cohort typically launches in March, with an application period starting in January. Our coaches partner with community leaders to build capacity in grassroots and emerging organizations, and together we expand knowledge, skills and performance in a variety of areas, including: 

  • Governance
  • Board leadership and training
  • Vision, mission and values
  • Program delivery and impact
  • Strategic planning
  • Fund development
  • Internal management infrastructure
  • Program evaluation
  • Operations support

Our Purpose

Our intended outcome is to support 8-10 grassroots community organizations in the Seattle area, based on goals developed between the organization and their coach. Throughout the program, we center their values, wisdom, and leadership culture to guide this process.

Over the course of 9 months, we work through a capacity assessment, development of a work plan, monthly coaching, 5 free workshops on topics selected by the cohort, and cohort meetings to discuss challenges and solutions in a community of peers. Organizations that participate will also receive a stipend to help cover the cost of staff time or resources devoted to capacity building.

Our program delivery model is built around our core commitment to justice and racial equity. This is woven throughout the specialized training, individualized coaching and mentoring, peer learning through the wisdom of our cohort community, tailored workshops, and the opportunity for greater visibility and connection with funders. Our services focus on building community with our cohort members which we believe is critical to fueling the movement for a more just and compassionate world for all of our communities.

We learn as much from our cohort members as we aim to give, and we look forward to laughing and growing with each new year of incredible organizations.

Eligibility Requirements

To be considered for this cohort, your organization must demonstrate meeting the following criteria:

  • Annual operating budget under 500K
  • 50% of staff and board must represent target community served
  • Ability to describe program accomplishments from previous year
  • 80% of population served must be located in Seattle

Please email us at with any questions or to set up a meeting to learn more.