Each year, the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund presents the Richard McIver Award to a local business deserving of distinction, and the 2017 award has gone to the Ethiopian Community in Seattle—serving the community for more than 30 years.
Originally presented to former Seattle City Councilmember Richard McIver himself in 2012. After his passing in 2013, the award has been presented annually to an organization in the community that demonstrates Richard’s practices and vision, provides impactful benefits and meets the needs of the community, and actively participates in the economic development and betterment of the community.
Formerly known as Ethiopian Community Mutual Association, the Ethiopian Community in Seattle is a non-profit organization established in the Rainier Valley in 1983 to provide support services to Ethiopian immigrants in the greater Seattle area.
Since its inception, ECS has been a place for Ethiopians to be heard and find help solving problems, such as housing, employment, counseling, translation of and support with important documents, and counseling with health, legal and immigration issues.
They also promote social and cultural awareness and active citizenship by organizing social gatherings, sport clubs and community celebrations that bring local Ethiopians together, and organize the community in support of members experiencing unexpected emergencies and accidental deaths.
“ECS is celebrating our 30th anniversary this year and we have just passed our 1700 member mark, says Executive Director Meron Kasahun. “Thirty years of relentless dedication, blood, sweat and tears have gotten us to this point. This building, these members, the staff, the board are a testament to the valor of refugees and immigrants. This is a huge accomplishment for our community but there is still more work to be done. The Ethiopian Community in Seattle has come so far in the last 30 years, despite the gentrification and marginalization of our communities and through the support of our partners and the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund, we are grateful that our future remains bright.”