NewHolly Neighbor Dedicated to Equitable Growth, Development

NewHolly Neighbor Dedicated to Equitable Growth, Development

NewHolly neighbor Daphne Schneider will be the first to tell you that community building is a team effort, that many hands make light work and that there are all sorts of people helping to make the neighboring Othello area a better, safer, more prosperous community.

And she’s right, but community building can also be long, hard, sometimes thankless work, and it’s accomplished by individuals who get up every day and make a conscious decision to spend their hard-earned time, money and attention on something other than themselves.

Individuals like Daphne, who — as co-founder of both Othello Park Alliance (OPA) and Othello Station Community Action Team (OSCAT) and current member of four different non-profit boards and leadership teams (down from six) — helped raise more than $1.4 million for improvements in Othello Park and actively works with incoming businesses and developers to promote and preserve the best the neighborhood has to offer.

“My interest is in growing and improving Othello to make it the best it can be for both its long-term residents and businesses and new ones in an equitable way,” she said. “It’s challenging, exciting, and wonderful to see this community come together, and I’m looking forward to watching it become a destination and a great blend of traditional and new, immigrant and native-born, residents and businesses and arts and culture and open, green spaces.”

Daphne helps raise funding every year for the annual Othello Park International Music and Arts Festival and is also involved with the NewHolly community, where she lives and maintains a P-Patch garden.

This week, she was kind enough to answer a few questions for your RVP’s People in Your Neighborhood column, a space dedicated to highlighting the unsung heroes of the southeast Seattle community.

Daphne Schneider



How long in Seattle’s south-end?  
8.5 years

Where from originally?  
I came to Seattle when I was 8, but was born in Jerusalem.

Day job:
Organization Development Consultant and Licensed Private Investigator

What do you like most about your day job?  
Learning about the endlessly fascinating things that employees do, and the endlessly fascinating challenges that businesses and organizations face, and helping both address these successfully.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

What are you passionate about?  
Quirky, bright, interesting people who are themselves passionate, things and people that achieve beauty by breaking with convention.

What are your hobbies?  
Serving on non-profit boards and organizations’ leadership teams (I guess that’s a hobby – I’m currently on 4, down from 6), cooking, gardening, making jewelry, travel, reading, distance waddling (1/2 marathons…)

Tell us about your family:  
My spouse and I have been married over 40 years, and have one wonderful daughter, who lives in San Diego with her husband.

What’s your most favorite thing about the Rainier Valley?  
The diversity and potential for greatness.

What’s your least favorite thing about the Rainier Valley?  
The negativity of some of our residents.

Who inspires you?  
The many bright, capable and caring people I know who give tirelessly of themselves.

What was the last thing you read?  
Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo, about slum life in Mumbai.

Tell us something about you that not many people know:  
I have a large collection of Ottoman Turkish stamps that I love but rarely get to play with.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?  
My tendency to procrastinate!

What is the trait you most deplore in others?  
A patronizing attitude.

What is your greatest regret?  
I don’t do regrets.

What is your most treasured possession?  
Family pictures, my mother’s cooking utensils and my daughter’s artwork

What do you most value in your friends?
Compassion, brilliance, quirkiness, love – and good cooking (or at least the appreciation of good cooking!)

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?  
Adelia, Mistress of the Art of Death, by Ariana Franklin.  She’s a 12th century Italian Jewish medical examiner in a (mostly Anglo Saxon) Christian, male world.

Who are your heroes in real life?  
I don’t have heroes as such, but admire Sonia Sotomayor, Cesar Chavez, Maya Angelou, Morris Dees, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and many others: compassionate, brilliant, interesting, imperfect people who believe in justice and who do or have done good work for others.

What is it that you most dislike?  
People who patronize or condescend to others, and those who believe they have truth and want to impose it on others.

What else should we know about you?  
My favorite animal is the dragon: found in many, many cultures around the world, always powerful, spectacular, beautiful and awe-inspiring.


Top photo/Daphne Schneider; bottom photo/Each year, Daphne helps raise funding every year for the annual Othello Park International Music and Arts Festival



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