More Seattle Times readers joined in the charitable effort this year, with people sending in donations that ranged from $3 to more than $25,000.
The Seattle Times Fund For The Needy raised a record $1.67 million in its 38th year with support from thousands of people and organizations throughout the Puget Sound area.
Individuals sent in donations ranging from $3 to more than $25,000. Local companies got in the spirit by contributing portions of their sales of tickets, candles, even beer.
The holiday-season fund, which started in 1979, supports 12 social-service nonprofits throughout the region.
All told, 3,846 donors gave $1,674,695 to the fund this year, marking a big jump from the $1.4 million raised last year.
ABOUT THIS SERIESEach year, The Seattle Times Fund For The Needy raises money for a group of charities that help children, families and senior citizens. Throughout the fall and winter, The Times is telling how the 12 organizations make a difference in the lives of thousands, and the impact donors can make.
Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen thanked all who donated.
“This community has such a big consciousness about what people need,” he said. “When you think of homeless youth, of foster kids getting preyed on, of families on the streets, so many of our agencies are the ones helping these people. In many cases, they’re the ones keeping people off the street and helping them before they get there.”
The Times covers all administrative fees associated with running the fund, meaning every dollar raised goes straight to the nonprofits. The organizations help every corner of the community by providing education, food, counseling, mentorship and car rides to young children, teens, families and adults.
“The more we can do to build them up, the better we all are,” Blethen said of the agencies involved.
Kent Youth and Family Services Executive Director Michael Heinisch said contributions from the Fund For The Needy allow the organization to lift up families all year.
“The support from the Fund For The Needy community of donors can directly support a school year of high-quality preschool, assuring a good number of at-risk, disadvantaged 3- to 4-year-olds will be ready for kindergarten and success in school,” he said.
At Kindering, an organization that provides early learning and special education for toddlers, Executive Director Mimi Siegel said the fund has encouraged families to come in for evaluations.
“We are so grateful to the generous readers whose donations ensure that no child misses out on needed therapies and special education that make a critical difference during this important first 1,000 days,” Siegel said.
The Fund For The Needy draws large donations each year from partnerships with Argosy Cruises, Glassybaby and The 5th Avenue Theatre, which dedicate a portion of sales at certain events.
This year, Glassybaby donated $36,145, Argosy $36,170 and Fifth Avenue $28,600.
More local businesses joined in this year, including Optimism Brewing on Capitol Hill. From its one-year anniversary party, the brewery donated $2,000 of its proceeds.
“Our mission is to spread optimism — we do that through beer and aim to help others do so as well,” said Marketing Director Jocelyn Lescarbeau.
Donations from individuals often honored loved ones, like Kevin Swanson’s, which was given in honor of his wife, Melissa.
“She cares so much about making the world a better place for all of us and the future generations,” he wrote in a note with his donation. “Hopefully, this small contribution can help do just that in our small corner of the world.“
The Fund For The Needy has raised more than $22 million since its inception, beginning with its 1979 total of $107,994.
The Fund For The Needy benefits Childhaven, 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.