The donation tally was the second-largest amount raised in a single year during the nearly four-decade history of The Seattle Times Fund For The Needy. The fund has raised more than $23.7 million from donors since it began in 1979.

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The Seattle Times Fund For The Needy raised $1.62 million during its latest campaign, the second-largest amount raised in a single year during the nearly four-decade history of the fund.

Individual donors from the Puget Sound area and beyond sent in contributions ranging from $1.70 to $30,000 to support families, seniors and kids across the region. Donations also rolled in from local companies in the area that gave portions of their sales of candle holders, beer and boat tours during the holiday season.

This year, 3,992 donors gave $1,617,945 to the 39th annual Fund For The Needy. All of the donations will go directly to the 12 social-service organizations the fund supports, which benefit the community by providing services such as early childhood education, emergency shelter and support finding housing and jobs.

The Seattle Times covers all costs associated with the fund, so the dollars can go to those who need them.

ABOUT THIS SERIES

Each year, The Seattle Times Fund For The Needy raises money for a group of charities that help children, families and senior citizens. Throughout the season, The Times is telling how the 12 organizations make a difference in the lives of thousands, and the impact donors can have. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to the Fund For The Needy.

Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen noted how much everyone across the company embraces the fund and marveled at the region’s sense of community, calling it “remarkable.”

“Thank you for being part of this very giving and caring community,” he said to donors. “Thank you for trusting us and thank you for helping all these kids and families.”

Longtime Seattleite Erika Maxx gave for the second year in a row, this time donating $500. The electrician for Seattle City Light said it was important for her to give to a fund that supports many different people throughout the region.

“I take very seriously my responsibility to take care of the whole,” she said. “I think it’s important to look out for each other.”

Donations to the fund mean that Sound Generations can continue to support the region’s senior citizens even as government funds dwindle, said the organization’s chief philanthropy officer, Brittany Blue.

“The fund allows us to provide a healthy, safe, engaged system of services and resources to older adults, adults with disabilities, and those who care about them,” she said.

The donations also mean that children in foster care can get support and encouragement to graduate from high school from another Fund For The Needy agency, Treehouse. A profile of Treehouse during this year’s fund campaign noted that 89 percent of foster kids served by the nonprofit graduated from high school within five years, compared with 50 percent of the state’s general population of kids in foster care and 82 percent of all public high-school students.

“Programs like the Fund For The Needy and others help us create that middle-class safety net for foster kids as they make their launch into adulthood,” said Jessica Ross, Treehouse chief development officer.

Companies in the area were big contributors this year, including 5th Avenue Theatre, which gave $8,280 from ticket sales for a holiday show, and Argosy Cruises, which donated $35,436 after its Christmas ships festival. Glassybaby gave $15,488, a portion of the sales of its candle holders, and Jet City Improv and Optimism Brewing each held events and donated part of the proceeds, $1,800 and $3,001, respectively.

Each year, The Seattle Times newsroom reports on each of the 12 agencies the fund benefits and the work they do to serve the community. Hopelink helped a family with two young daughters move into their own apartment before the holidays. Big Brothers Big Sisters paired hundreds of kids with mentors to encourage their studies and take them to activities.

“To me as a reader, it’s just so wonderful to read these stories to not only see the challenges we face as a community, but also to see the outcomes and successes,” said Seattle Times President Alan Fisco, who also thanked everyone who donated this year.

“I think it just shows that in numbers we can accomplish a lot,” he said.

The Fund For The Needy has raised more than $23.7 million from donors since it began in 1979. This year, The Seattle Times nearly reached its goal of raising $1.7 million, following a record 2016-2017 campaign when the fund raised $1.67 million.

The Fund For The Needy benefitsChildhaven, Youth Eastside Services, Sound Generations, Wellspring Family Services, The Salvation Army, Hopelink, Atlantic Street Center, Treehouse, Asian Counseling and Referral Service, Kindering Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, and Kent Youth and Family Services.