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The Vida Agency
Young boy smiling in a wheelchair surrounded by trees.

Recreation and Conservation Office

Community needs assessment for equitable program access

The Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) envisions a “Washington State with abundant outdoor recreation spaces, healthy habitats, and working farms and forests that support people, fish, and wildlife.” To assess if resources to help achieve this vision are being equitably distributed, the Washington State 2021-2023 Biennial budget included a proviso directing the RCO to complete a comprehensive equity review through state-wide community engagement of state recreation and conservation grant programs administered by the agency. TVA was contracted to design and implement a community engagement strategy to inform RCO’s equity assessment.


Advertisement featuring illustration of trees with text Share your experiences and ideas for parks and activities in your community.
Advertisement featuring illustration of trees with text Share your experiences and ideas for parks and activities in your community written in Vietnamese.

Research tactic: TVA conducted a total of eleven (11) community focus groups in English and Vietnamese, twenty-three (23) interviews were completed in English and Spanish, and administered a state-wide digital survey in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Somali to gather a deep understanding of community barriers and needs in accessing RCO’s grant programs.

Creative tactic: Recruitment promotional assets were developed in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese and utilized simple graphics and colors that exemplified the outdoors to invoke clarity within the prioritized communities about the subject matter.

Media/campaign tactic: TVA utilized community flyering, direct e-mail and phone outreach, social media promotion, and digital display banner advertisements to recruit participants for our community engagement events.

Illustration of map of participants by zip code with text Community conversation participants and interview subjects.


Between community conversations, interviews, and the digital survey, 152 individuals participated on behalf of an organization or group. Over half (61%) were with non-profit organizations, 25% were with local governments or special districts, 10% were with State or Federal agencies, and several participants were affiliated with different tribes, including eight participants from four separate tribal groups. TVA’s research yielded important insights and recommendations around obstacles to applying for RCO grants and in the grant evaluation process, the unlevel playing field for applicants, suggested program improvements, tactics for supporting tribal engagement, and emerging investment opportunities.