Announcing our 2019 Cohort Organizations!

Our 2019 Seattle-based Capacity Building Cohort is beginning this month!

The Capacity Building Cohort is the flagship program of NAC, offering knowledge, skills, and access to a network of inspiring peers navigating similar challenges and hopes in their work for equity and social justice in their community. We have been honored to support organizations in achieving their aspirations, not only through the consistent support of trusted coaches who recognize and respect community wisdom, but through the transformative power of the collective and what we can accomplish together.

Thank you to all the organizations who applied for this year’s cohort. We were blown away by the applicants who inspired us with their work and hope many will re-apply for future cohorts.

This year, we are pleased to announce that the cohort will consist of the following organizations:

  • The Be Good Project Foundation
  • Cierra Sisters*
  • GenPRIDE
  • Lake City Collective
  • Movimiento Afrolatino Seattle
  • Pacific Asian Empowerment Program
  • Somali Bantu Community Services of Washington*

*indicates organization that was also a member of the 2018 Cohort

Apply now for the 2019 Capacity Building Cohort

The 2019 NAC Capacity Building Cohort is here!

Join us at NAC to learn more about an upcoming opportunity to spend nine months in community with other leaders of color, engaged in building relationships and growing your organization.

Our Seattle-Based Capacity Building Cohort is collaborative, intensive, and builds on community experience. We provide individual coaching and monthly meetings on topics selected by the cohort, and each participant spend 8-10 hours per month working on organizational goals. To learn more, please reach out or attend our information session in person!

Applications are available here and due February 22nd, 2019. (Note: This date was pushed out one week from the original date).

You do not need to attend an information session to apply.

Information Session #1:
Date: Friday, January 25
Time: 12:00-1:30pm
Location: Nonprofit Assistance Center, 3642 33rd Ave S, Suite C4, Seattle WA 98144

Information Session #2:
Date: Thursday, February 7
Time: 6:00-7:30pm
Location: Nonprofit Assistance Center, 3642 33rd Ave S, Suite C4, Seattle WA 98144

Pleast let us know if you’re joining us! RSVP here.

Questions? Please contact Morgan at


Join NAC as a Program Manager!

Join NAC as a Capacity Building Program Manager!

As the Capacity Building Program Manager you will act as an equal partner to the existing Capacity Building Program Manager. Together you will jointly plan and execute NAC’s Organizational Capacity-Building pillar of work through a racial equity lens and in response to emergent needs expressed by organizations led primarily by persons of color. Through collaboration and connection, you will create and build relationships, facilitate, coach, consult and motivate cohort members on their overall organizational development based on their individual needs.

If you are committed and passionate about issues of racial and social justice and want to be a part of enacting change, we’d love to hear from you.

Find more information and instructions on how to apply HERE.

NAC is an Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes and encourages people from communities of color, people with disabilities, indigenous, refugee, immigrant, working class, and/or LGBTQ communities to apply for this position. NAC will provide, excepting any undue hardship, reasonable accommodations for candidates taking part in all aspects of the hiring process. 

Organizational Spotlight: Cierra Sisters

An excited greeting between two people approaching one another

Written by Brianna Jones in collaboration with Cierra Sisters

“How do we love our community back to health?”  – Ms. Bridgette Hempstead, Cierra Sisters Founder

I don’t think there is a more important question we can be asking, or a more qualified person to engage with this work. Through Cierra Sisters, Ms. Bridgette has been empowering African-American women to reclaim their health and establish important connections between medical providers and underrepresented community members. Across these past few weeks, I have been unbelievably fortunate to hear from Ms. Bridgette about the life-saving work Cierra Sisters does every day.

Cierra Sisters is a nonprofit located out of the Skyway neighborhood of South Seattle, with a goal to “break the cycle of fear and increase knowledge concerning breast cancer in the African-American and underserved communities.” They do this work on so many levels – ranging from holding encouragement-focused meetings via their support groups, spreading awareness of barriers to healthcare at some of their events across the year, or working with medical partners and clinicians to develop connections between them and community. This is their first year in NAC’s year-long Capacity Building Cohort program, funded by the City of Seattle.

One of the most powerful aspects of the Cierra Sisters’ work is through their support groups. These monthly groups (running January – October) provide a space for African-American women to develop community, learn from different guest speakers about self-care, and cultivate the hope that is crucial to their recovery. In addition, they hold a variety of events across the year, and this year were able to host their first annual World Cancer Day event. This event provided the community with a panel of world-renowned oncologists and doctors and created a judgement-free space for community members to ask questions about their health and experience in the health care system. And this is just one of the ways Cierra Sisters breaks down the barrier between community members and the medical professionals who serve them.

"There were no black faces in 1996 celebrating breast cancer survivorship." Bridgette Hempstead of @cierrasisters explores how race impacts physician/patient communication and care outcomes. #endwell18
Quote from founder Bridgette Hempstead about the work of Cierra Sisters

The other major way Cierra Sisters accomplishes this is through the consulting work they do with major cancer research organizations like Fred Hutchinson. By surveying the community to understand the needs, Cierra Sisters is able to relay critical community knowledge to the people who need to hear it most. The connection developed through these research partnerships also benefits Cierra Sisters, by creating a reliable group of physicians that can be reached in times of emergency or crisis.

In addition to all of this, there is the day-to-day work, which is described by Ms. Bridgette as being “in the trenches”. Through the Cierra Empowerment Partnerships (CEPs), different volunteers receive training and resources so that they can go with other Cierra Sisters to their doctors’ appointments and other medical visits. These CEPs act as advocates for the Cierra Sisters receiving treatment and are available to translate medical jargon into more accessible language. This advocate work is so crucial, especially due to the earned mistrust that most African American women have with physicians.

Over their time with NAC, we have been grateful for the way Cierra Sisters has showed up in the cohort. Ms. Bridgette is a skilled advocate for the Cierra Sisters work; she is never afraid to ask for help from NAC’s interns, coaches, and external partners striving to support the cohort. Whether she is repurposing items that would otherwise get wasted, or visiting one of NAC and Wayfind’s legal clinics, Ms. Bridgette is intentional about making sure that Cierra Sisters gets everything it can out of NAC.

Quote from founder Bridgette Hempstead about the work of Cierra Sisters

Cierra Sisters is doing critical, lifesaving work in Skyway and in the greater Seattle area. Through their true centering of people who often have limited access to medical care and information in a traditional medical situation, you can’t help but be inspired by their mission, their community power, and the heart they bring to the work.

To support and learn more about the work Cierra Sisters does, check out their website here. To learn more about other members of the 2018 cohort, click here.

Announcing our Interim Executive Director

We are pleased to welcome Laura Ciotti as our Interim Executive Director during this time of transition at NAC.  See below for a few words from her and the staff page for a full bio.

I am deeply honored and humbled to introduce myself. My name is Laura Ciotti, and I will be serving as NAC’s Interim Executive Director for the next few months as we transition between Sarah’s extraordinary leadership and NAC’s next chapter. I have had the great privilege to serve as NAC’s board president for the last 2.5 years, and have been involved with NAC in various ways since 2011. While I will be in this interim role only temporarily, I have a longstanding commitment to supporting NAC’s vision of a world where every person has access to power, opportunity, and resources, thereby creating a just community and liberation for all.

NAC’s board is deep in discussion about our next steps, taking a thoughtful approach to our transition. Updates will be shared through our email newsletter, so please make sure you are subscribed!

Thank you for all you do each day to build movements towards a more just world. I look forward to connecting with you soon. You can reach me any time at


Laura Ciotti, she/her
Interim Executive Director

Thank you Laura for your support during this time, and for stepping into this new role with NAC! We look forward to this next chapter of our work.

Executive Director’s Special Announcement

Dear Friends,

Bell Hooks once said, “Beloved community is formed not by the eradication of difference but by its affirmation, by each of us claiming the identities and cultural legacies that shape who we are and how we live in the world.”

I came to NAC four years ago because I wanted to help create this beloved community. Having grown up surrounded by messages that difference was dangerous, and experiencing the isolation, fear, and oppression that follows – I was fiercely committed to strengthening communities of color as leaders of the movement for social justice and forging relationships based in solidarity. I believed this was key to our collective liberation, and more than ever, I still do.

NAC was created with this same belief nearly 20 years ago and I have been deeply honored to carry forward this legacy alongside many talented and passionate people. Thus, it is with equal measures of gratitude and sadness that I am writing to share that I will be stepping down as NAC’s Executive Director in October to recommit to my own family and well-being.

Leading NAC from the brink of closure to the powerful movement-building work we do today in partnership with communities of color and funders committed to equity, has been an extraordinary journey. Together, we have made incredible strides towards justice, including:

  • Expanding our cohort program designed with an intersectional racial equity analysis, has strengthened more than 40 organizations serving thousands of families in King County over the past four years.
  • Partnering with public and private funders, including King County, to ensure that equity is embedded in the work so that initiatives like the $400 million Best Starts for Kids levy becomes an opportunity to get resources into the hands of communities most impacted by inequities and also the closest to the solutions.
  • Forging partnerships with other communities of color-based organizations to develop The Delta Vision, a transformative approach to capacity building for communities of color, led by communities of color.
  • Strengthening our deeply valued partnership with other POC-led capacity builders like Wayfind, whose work providing legal services to nonprofits in communities of color and low-income communities has powerfully complemented and strengthened our own work. By co-locating our offices, frequently making warm referrals, and jointly providing workshops and clinics – we have better served incredible grassroots organizations in Seattle and South King County.

This work has not been accomplished alone. Movement-building exemplifies the belief that every person committed to justice has a role, a place, a gift they can offer, as long as we are willing to listen and learn what that role is and to know that this role changes over time. As in a flock of geese, each bird takes turns at the front, ensuring that everyone will make the long migration. On this long road to justice, I am humbled and proud that we have built such a strong community, reflected in our staff, our Board, and in you – our beloved community. Doing this work alongside you has been a gift that I will treasure forever and as we step into this next chapter, I am confident that NAC’s work will continue to evolve in powerful ways and I will be there to support in whatever ways I can.

With my deepest gratitude,

Sarah Tran

A Note from NAC’s Board of Directors

On behalf of the Nonprofit Assistance Center’s Board of Directors, I want to share our deep and sincere gratitude to Sarah Tran for her leadership as Executive Director over the past four years. Her commitment to creating systemic change has significantly impacted the people and organizations leading movements for social justice in our community. Guided by Sarah’s unwavering and inspirational vision, NAC has grown into a regional expert and trusted partner to organizations and funders invested in equity work. Her passion and advocacy for the importance of strong community relationships will remain a lasting part of NAC’s legacy.

While we are sad to see her go, we look forward to the next part of her journey. We will celebrate Sarah and NAC’s role in our community at our annual VOICES event on Thursday, October 4th at Mt. Baker Community Club at 6:00 PM. Please join us in thanking Sarah for her significant contributions to NAC and continued support as a partner to us as we navigate this next chapter.

Please do not hesitate to reach me directly with any questions or thoughts at

Many thanks,

Laura Ciotti (Board President)

Organizational Spotlight: Para Los Niños de Highline

Children in a group at swimming lessons

Written in collaboration with Para Los Niños de Highline

Founded by and for immigrant parents in 2003, Para Los Niños de Highline (For the Children of Highline) brings together South King County Latino families to transform our communities and schools to create academic and life success for every Latino student.

At Para Los Niños (PLN), we are experts in our community’s challenges and strengths. PLN was founded by Latino immigrant parents as a positive response to the problems our families face in the education system. As immigrants, we took great risks to provide opportunity for our children. We were tired of watching from the sidelines as our Latino students fell further and further behind. We were not engaged by the schools; our language and cultural heritage were not incorporated into after school programming; and we had no voice in the education system. When the reality did not live up to our hopes, we came together and formed PLN to close the achievement gap for our children and youth.

Now, sixteen years later, PLN leads four unique programs developed by and for Latino families in direct response to the needs of our community. Our bilingual after school program, free summer programs, parent leadership classes, and partnerships with Highline Public Schools and Highline College support Latino youth to succeed academically. We train and empower Latino parents to engage with their children’s education and to advance their own English language learning in the process. We are a bilingual and bicultural organization that uplifts our community’s language, culture and heritage in all that we do.

PLN has been part of NAC’s United Way Racial Equity Cohort since 2015. This cohort uses training and individualized coaching and technical assistance to strengthen community organizations. When asked about the work done together, PLN said:

NAC has supported us in our grassroots fundraising efforts in the last three GiveBIG campaigns. We went from fundraising $2,300 in 2015 to $8,100 this year with their support. More than three times our initial amount. And, we were able to unlock match funding to double our community fundraising efforts! The support NAC gave us in strategizing, planning, coaching, and following up with our three campaigns was essential for our success.

One of the most amazing and meaningful outcomes from our work together has been building relationships in our community. Our program participants have been shinning for their efforts as fundraisers and are leading us with their energy and enthusiasm to continue to build a brighter future for our children and families. It has been inspiring to see the rest of our supporters and friends join in this solidarity.

The partnership between NAC and PLN continues to be vibrant even as their time in the cohort comes to an end. NAC has been grateful for the opportunity to be inspired by their work and honored to be considered part of the incredible growth.

Find more information on the Para Los Niños de Highline website and Facebook page.

NAC is hiring!

Join the NAC team as our new Deputy Director!  This position will serve as a strategic leader to oversee the on-going effectiveness of the organization in achieving NAC’s mission. The Deputy Director will ensure the integrity of the organization in all aspects of its operations, supervise programs and operations staff, and lead the Thought Partnership with Funders pillar of work.

For more information and instructions on how to apply, please click here:

Persons from communities of color, immigrant, refugee, low income, LGBTQ communities are strongly encouraged to apply. Applications are due on June 1, 2018.

2018 Cohort Organizations

We are so excited to announce the members of our 2018 Seattle-based Capacity Building Cohort!

The Capacity Building Cohort is the flagship program of NAC, offering knowledge, skills, and access to a network of inspiring peers navigating similar challenges and hopes in their work for equity and social justice in their community. Year after year, we have been honored to support organizations in achieving their aspirations, not only through the consistent support of trusted coaches who recognize and respect community wisdom, but through the transformative power of the collective and what we can accomplish together.

Thank you to everyone who applied for this year’s cohort. We had an amazing group of applicants who inspired us with their work and we hope many of them will re-apply for future cohorts. This year, the cohort will consist of the following organizations:

  • Cierra Sisters
  • Dignity for Divas
  • Hillman City Collaboratory
  • Somali Bantu Community Services of Washington
  • Somali Parents Education Board
  • South King County Discipline Coalition
  • STEM Path Innovation Network*
  • Tasveer
  • The Austin Foundation*
  • World Mind Creation Academy*

We are so excited to embark on a year of learning and growth together, supporting each other to reach our goals and building our collective strength.

*indicates organization that was also a member of the 2017 Cohort

Organizational Spotlight: The Austin Foundation

Adult teaching youth how to box

Each program at the Austin Foundation has a Word of the Day or daily theme, such as “perseverance,” “balance,” or “patience.” These themes dictate the activities and exercises that youth engage in throughout the afternoon, bringing together a holistic approach to health and fitness that includes physical, emotional, mental, and social components.

The Austin Foundation was a member of NAC’s 2017 Cohort program, funded by the City of Seattle and the Sheng Yen Lu Foundation, and will be returning again for the 2018 Cohort. This program provides one-on-one coaching, peer support and learning, and works through an in-depth work plan that is catered to each organization’s specific needs. The 2017 Cohort was an inspiring group of organizations, and Renato Foz and Khyree Smith from the Austin Foundation offered to share a few words about their work and experience from the past year.

The Austin Foundation provides free fitness-based programming for youth and their families, with the ultimate goal of making health and fitness accessible to everyone. They currently have programs at Washington Middle School, Rainier Valley Leadership Academy, New Holly Youth and Family Center, and Bailey Gatzert Elementary. Each program is adapted to meet the needs of the partner site, with services ranging from those geared to providing an outlet for expression to those providing a safe and encouraging environment for youth struggling with behavioral or mental challenges.

Youth outside running agility course

When asked about their experience working with NAC, the Austin Foundation emphasized how powerful it was to know that “there are people out there with like-minded values… and that we’re here to support each other.” Khyree and Renato discussed how it is motivating to know that there is an organization with their best interests in mind, and a network of people who all wish to help one another grow and succeed.

We are so excited about the work that is being done at the Austin Foundation and the growth they have sustained over the past year. We have learned so much from an organization with tremendous vision, and are honored to work alongside them as they strive to continue to put on programs that encourage youth to develop into the “compassionate, just, and healthy leaders of tomorrow.”

Find more information on the Austin Foundation website. See the additional members of the 2018 Cohort here.