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Building An Inclusive Local Economy

WCF / Invest in the Community / Building An Inclusive Local Economy


You can't have a healthy community without a diverse and resilient local economy.

For our county to thrive means engaging in economic development projects that integrate environmental sustainability, equitable access to opportunities, and broad participation.

The Millworks

The Millworks is envisioned as an affordable place for people to live, work and enjoy our stunning waterfront. The Whatcom Community Foundation is working with local partners, including Mercy Housing and RMC Architects, to develop this community benefit project at Laurel Street and Cornwall Avenue, the gateway to the new Waterfront District. The project features a food campus, which connects local producers with buyers, while integrating public assets such as a center for employee ownership, childcare facilities and around 70 units of workforce housing and potentially healthcare services. Combined, these elements will play a crucial role in the waterfront redevelopment, supporting economic growth and fostering prosperity on multiple fronts.
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Employee Ownership

Employee ownership keeps businesses rooted in the community, drives local economic activity, and provides front line workers the opportunity for shared equity. A partnership between Whatcom Community Foundation, the City of Bellingham and Project Equity, a national nonprofit advancing economic resiliency, revealed new data about 1,100 businesses in Bellingham that are at risk for closing when their owners retire over the next 15 years. The research released by Project Equity identifies businesses likely to need succession planning, and ideal candidates for transitioning into employee-owned companies.
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Northwest Catalyst Fund

The space between “friends and family” funding and angel investments can seem like a chasm for an entrepreneur. The NW Catalyst Fund fills the gap by making hard-to-access capital more accessible to entrepreneurs with promising ideas that will have a positive impact on the environment.
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WCF Community Fund

Your gift to the WCF Community Fund supports our innovative programs and services which are focused on building a stronger and more resilient community through collaborative partnerships that connect people, ideas, resources, and opportunities for greater impact.
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Equity Fund

Investments from the Equity Fund move us closer to a community that works for everyone, illuminating where we can do better and bringing more opportunities within reach for those who’ve long experienced barriers. Your gift is helping to create a sense of belonging, a community where everyone feels safe and welcome.
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The Millworks is envisioned as an affordable place for people to live, work and enjoy our stunning waterfront.