When this country’s founders put quill to a crucial document on July 4, 1776, they flipped a well-worn narrative.

People don’t owe unquestioning obedience to powerful rulers, they asserted. Rather, government’s authority flows from the consent of the governed, who bestow it with “just powers” to secure their unalienable rights.

It takes an informed and educated citizenry to shoulder that big collective responsibility. That’s why The Seattle Times editorial board kicked off its annual school-supply drive on Independence Day. From now until Labor Day, the editorial board will collect donations and share stories showing the value of this yearly event.

For more than two decades, The Times has collected cash donations to equip students in King and Snohomish counties with the essential tools of learning. One hundred percent of the funds are distributed to community partners — YWCA Seattle-King-Snohomish, Hopelink and Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness — to buy supplies and backpacks tailored to students’ age-appropriate needs. Over time, Times readers have donated well more than $1 million to this important cause.

Last year, alone, 1,034 readers donated a combined $164,569 to supply thousands of local students with notebooks, calculators, flash drives, pencils, crayons, glue, and other supplies. Even during the pandemic, the drive raised a heartening 150% of our fundraising goal. This fall, as students and teachers return full time to the classroom, the need will be even greater.

Education broadens students’ perspectives and gives them the tools to pursue fulfilling careers.

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It also prepares young people for civic life — a task that’s only grown more complex, and more important, in the 245 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The drive is part of The Seattle Times Fund For The Needy, a registered 501(c)(3) Charitable Organization. Please spread the word, and give generously.

The easiest way to donate is online. Checks may also be sent to: The Seattle Times School-Supply Drive, P.O. Box C-11025, Seattle, WA 98111; email questions to ffn@seattletimes.com.