How Seattle’s Civic Culture Has a Global Impact

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Seattleites know that there is something special in the city of Seattle. Local author and social entrepreneur Eric Liu calls it Seattle’s “civic secret sauce” – a culture of giving, progress and connectedness, whether by neighborhood or in the woods and waters in our parks or around the city. But did you know that our special civic culture has impact beyond Seattle?

With impact from Seattle to Sierra Leone, the Emerald City has grown to boast an unparalleled global health sector that is home to 33 global health organizations that collaboratively work with 1,500+ partners around the world on everything from disease eradication to providing access to safe water, Here are six global organizations in Seattle you need to know about, to name a few:



Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor CenterArrive Curious. Leave Inspired.

Curious what toilets of the future look like? Or, how simple water filters can provide access to clean water? To showcase the incredible work being done to improve lives locally and globally, philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates opened the doors to their foundation’s Visitor Center in 2012 to motivate, educate and inspire people to take action. Conveniently located across from Seattle Center, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center invites locals and visitors alike to interact with exhibits that explore global issues. Admission is free and open to the public. See for yourself – take a look at lifestyle blogger Jess Estrada’s day adventure at the Visitor Center. 

Washington Global Health Alliance – Where collaboration leads to global health equality.

As an umbrella organization for the global health sector, the Washington Global Health Alliance has been a major force behind the region’s rise to prominence as a facilitator of global health research and advancement. Through creative match making, the alliance is making connections amongst unlikely partners – like the Seattle Sounders FC and communities in Tanzania – for the greater good. 

PATH – Driving transformative innovation to save lives. 

Pioneering the development and delivery of health solutions and technologies, PATH blends the Northwest’s entrepreneurial spirit and scientific expertise with the passion and on-the-ground experience of an international NGO. Situated in the heart of South Lake Union, you can expect innovators at PATH busily inventing culturally relevant birthing kits and female condoms in their labs to benefit women and children all over the world.

Seattle BioMed – Freedom from infectious disease.

You may be familiar with malaria, tuberculosis or HIV. But what about African sleeping sickness? While collaborating to fight infectious diseases, Seattle BioMed also avidly fights emerging and neglected diseases like African sleeping sickness – a disease proven more deadly than HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa – that affect the world’s poorest yet often get overlooked by drug developers. 

Agros International – Land. Hope. Life.

Agros International is a good reminder that not all global health work is directly tied to fighting disease. Working to guide entire communities toward self-sufficiency, Agros helps the rural poor gain access to land to launch agriculturally-based enterprises and improve their community’s infrastructure through basic housing and proper sanitation. Agros’ creative approach impacts thousands of Central American and Mexican families as they move from a subsistence lifestyle to empowered land owners.

Schools for Salone – Building the future in Sierra Leone one school at a time.

Global health and education go hand-in-hand. For Seattle-based Schools for Salone, this means training teachers and rebuilding schools in Sierra Leone destroyed during a ten-year civil war. With the funds raised by the nonprofit, a new school can be built in just three months — revitalizing communities, empowering children and improving conditions for families. Check out their moving video story

From tirelessly working to find cures for some of the world’s most deadly diseases to advocating for land rights in Central America, our city stands for much more than our excellent cup of joe. Filled with smart people, bright optimism and hope for the future, the spirit of service and innovation extends beyond our city to have global impact. 

Learn more and experience Seattle’s global reach at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center.