Investing in Seattle’s Diverse Communities

New tax on sugary drinks will benefit food access, early learning, and education programs


The revenue generated by Seattle’s new tax on sugary drinks will directly benefit our city’s diverse communities by investing in proven food access, early learning, and education programs supporting those most affected by the negative public health impacts of sugary drinks consumption. The new tax is projected to raise $15 million in its first year.

Seattle’s City Council has already invested a significant portion of the projected revenues from the first year of the tax, with the remainder either reviewable or designed by the Sweetened Beverage Tax Community Advisory Board. In future budget years, the Sweetened Beverage Tax Community Advisory Board (CAB) is expected to review the entirety of the revenue allocations from the tax.[1]


Programs that the City Council has approved funding ($5,658,494) for in 2018 already include:

  • Fresh Bucks, Food Action Plan ($2,404,359)
  • 13th Year Promise Scholarship ($1,381,885)
  • Innovation High School, Summer Learning, Summer Melt ($1,004,500)
  • Our Best ($189,000)
  • Parent-Child Home Program ($525,000)
  • Food Banks ($153,750)

Proposed investments ($4,120,639) awaiting review by CAB in Spring 2018:

  • Farm to Table
  • Fresh Bucks to Go
  • Food Banks
  • Out-of-School Time Nutrition Program
  • Early learning programs

In addition to these investments, revenue from the new sugary drinks tax will also support evaluation work ($500,000) to track the tax’s effectiveness and impacts, job retraining support ($500,000) for those employed within the local distribution network for the beverage industry and general administrative support ($1,082,000) in city government.

Food Access Programs

Fresh Bucks – increases the affordability of fresh fruits and vegetables to participants of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program by partnering with local businesses, farmers markets and healthcare clinics to provide financial incentives focusing on local healthy food assistance. An expansion of Fresh Bucks to Go would provide additional families free or low-cost fresh food bags of local fruit and vegetables every other week at preschool programs serving low-income families across Seattle.

Food Action Plan – coordinates across multiple city departments to support Fresh Bucks as well as broader food policy and healthy food access in Seattle.

Farm to Table (expansion proposed) - provides food stipends and nutritional education to programs currently serving approximately 1,800 children.

Out-of-School Time Nutrition Program (expansion proposed) - provides year-round food access to vulnerable children and youth ages 1 – 18, when not in school.

Education and Early Learning Programs

Early Learning Programs (expansion proposed) - expands support to family child care providers and provide new services to birth-to-3 child care providers. Family child care is home-based care provided in a private home. The family child care program support would include, but not be limited to, curriculum training, expanded nurse health support, operational funding to provider networks, and expanding the Parent-Child Home Program to 12 new providers. Comprehensive program support for birth-to-3 child care providers will include items such as early child behavioral intervention support, professional development, and nursing support for infants and toddlers in childcare.

13th Year Promise Scholarship – allows local graduating seniors to attend South Seattle College tuition-free for one year. The program, run by the Seattle College Foundation, also offers students a variety of college readiness workshops during their senior year to prepare for college enrollment and to improve math and English skills, if necessary.

K-12 Investments support school-based mentoring, an innovation high school and summer learning. These programs will be aimed at African-American/Black and other students of color.

Summer Melt - helps college-bound high school graduates stay on track – as many as one in five college-bound high school graduates fail to arrive on campus in the Fall.

Our Best – expand the program supporting well-being of young Black men in the areas of education, positive connections, employment, health, and safety by doubling the amount of mentors funded through the program.

Parent-Child Home Partnership – provides literacy education to roughly 590 two- and three-year old children from low-income families in Seattle.

[1] The unique timeline and context for the 2017 City Budget Process required a multi-step engagement process for investing revenue in appropriate programs. It is anticipated that future budget years will benefit from an engaged SBTCAB from the outset, in addition to the regular City Budget Process.