Norman B. Rice, the former mayor of Seattle from 1989-97, joined the Evans School as a distinguished practitioner-in-residence in 2006 after retiring as the CEO and president of Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle. His appointment at the Evans School is to oversee the Civic Engagement for the 21st Century Project, aimed at designing a new model for civic engagement through seminars, workshops, and research.
He was also named CEO of The Seattle Foundation in June 2009.
Rice, an Evans School alum and current Visiting Committee member, entered the political arena in 1978 when elected to the Seattle City Council through a special election. He served three consecutive terms on the city council until being elected mayor in 1989, becoming the first African American and first city council member in 25 years to serve as mayor of Seattle. During his two terms in office, Rice also became the first Seattle mayor to serve as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Much of his work with the Civic Engagement for the 21st Century Project draws on the successes he had with several major projects while serving as mayor, including:
- Revitalizing Seattle’s dying downtown area into Washington state’s epicenter of art, music, sports, and shopping by securing federal, state, and local funding for public-private partnerships in redevelopment efforts.
- Leading a comprehensive growth management effort in neighborhood planning that engaged Seattle residents in a meaningful dialogue and gave them ownership in decisions affecting their communities. These strong neighborhood collaborations continue in Seattle today.
- Strengthening Seattle’s public schools through a citywide education summit attended by 2,500 people at 32 different meetings, which eventually helped pass a $69 million levy for the Seattle Public School District.
- Championing crime prevention efforts that helped Seattle’s crime rate drop to a 16-year low.
- Addressing Seattle’s growing number of homeless residents through a working partnership between city officials and social workers to find private funding for services.
Rice has also led instrumental change outside of politics in his role as the CEO and president of Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle, a company recognized nationally for its innovations in housing and community development finance. In his six years at the bank, Rice helped develop a new mortgage purchase product line and created innovative homeownership programs and funding strategies to help low- and moderate- income families and neighborhoods.
Prior to his work in public service, Rice served as the governmental affairs director for the Puget Sound Council of Governments and manager of corporate contributions and social policy for Rainer National Bank, which is now part of Bank of America.
Rice continues his commitment to fostering the development of vibrant, diverse, self-sustaining communities through the many boards and committees he serves on, including: the Brookings Institution’s Advisory Committee for Sustainable Communities, Enterprise Foundation and the Corporation for Supportive Housing, the YMCA, and the Seattle Urban League.
His work has been recognized through many professional and community awards, including:
- Municipal League of King County’s James. R. Ellis Regional Leadership Award (with John Stanton)
- The American Jewish Federation’s Human Relations Award (with wife Constance Rice)
- National Neighborhood Coalition’s National Award for Leadership on Behalf of Neighborhoods
- King County Chapter of the YWCA’s Isabel Coleman Pierce Award
- Washington Council on Crime and Delinquency’s Mark F. Cooper Leadership Award
- American Association of Community College Students’ Outstanding Alumni Award
Rice holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the Evans School at the University of Washington (UW), which he attended when it was still known as the Graduate School of Public Affairs. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the UW, and honorary doctorate degrees from Seattle University, the University of Puget Sound, and Whitman College.