Seattle Works

A blog that documents all things Seattle Works…and much much more!

How Strong Is Your Sweet Tooth? September 30, 2012

Filed under: Swank — seattleworks @ 10:12 am

If you’re willing to dish out some dough and push your way to the front of the line all for the sake of a frosted cake or peanut butter cookies – you could lead your table to victory! Swank’s Dessert Dash will give you a sugar kick for a good cause.

But, what is a Dessert Dash? It’s a great way to participate in Swank, give to Seattle Works and enjoy some immediate gratification.

Here’s the breakdown:

1. Bid!

It works kind of like our silent auctions. Before dinner, every table gets a bid form. Each person at the table can bid from $1 to $1 million (mmm… red velvet cake – it’s worth it). The total is then tallied, collected and each table is ranked in order from highest amount given to lowest amount given.  Each table then selects their speediest runner. Good luck!

2. Dash!

During the live auction there will be a couple breaks for the Dash. The auctioneers will announce the tables with the highest bids. From there, the selected table runners must run and claim the dessert of their choosing by sticking the table’s flag in it. Be aggressive and claim that cupcake prize!

3. Enjoy – yummy yummy

Your claimed dessert will be brought to your table for you to enjoy, all plated up and ready to dig in.

Needless to say, there is some pushing and shoving. You can try to be polite, but you’ll lose your chance at the French Silk Pie. It’s a dog-eat-dog world – but Seattle Works also knows that a little friendly competition has never hurt anyone… too badly at least.
Haven’t gotten your tickets to Swank yet? There’s still time!

Big thanks to Irfan Shariff, Social Media Committee member who wrote this post!


Seattle Works and Our Nonprofit Partners: A Love Story September 28, 2012

Filed under: Grab bag — seattleworks @ 9:44 am

Every few months, Seattle Works opens our office to community partners–new and old–for our Partner Open House. It gives us a chance to meet face-to-face with some of the folks we email with all year, update them on all-things-Seattle-Works and hear how they’re using our programs. We always look forward to the event–and we always leave more in love with the nonprofits we work with every day!

On Wednesday, we had a chance to catch up with our friends at Northwest Chamber Chorus, The School for Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA), Seattle Public Schools, Small Faces Child Development Center, The World is Fun and Undriving, as well as meet new folks from Gage Academy of Art and Rise n’ Shine.

Our favorite part about our Open House is hearing our partners talk–especially to each other–about how they are using our volunteers and our programs to further the amazing work they are doing every day. From stories of Team Works teams tackling jackhammers and annihilating monster to-do lists to Bridge grads who are consistently impressing nonprofit boards around the city, we know the Seattle Works community is doing great work, and to hear it from the mouths of our partners just makes our day!

Thanks to all who stopped by on Wednesday–and we’re looking forward to seeing more of our partners at Open Houses in 2013!


The Bridge Kicks-Off September 27, 2012

Filed under: Lead,The Bridge — seattleworks @ 11:26 am

Tuesday night marked the kick-off of the 2012-13 Bridge program. With one of the largest classes we’ve had in a long time (over 30 participants), we jumped right in with networking, nonprofit overview, and public boards and commissions. Participants of Bridge 1 represent a diverse grouping organizations, backgrounds and outlets. From corporate employees, to nonprofit administrators; arts, environment, and social issues. We have a wide range of interests in this group.

Beth Varner, Bridge participant, presents her group’s ideas on nonprofit organizational life-cycle.

I started out the evening with an icebreaker, this gave the group the opportunity to see where everyone is from. Jennifer Boehme Kumar then stole the show with Nonprofit Overview. Participants learned the importance of asking as many questions as possible before joining a board, being well-informed about what is expected of them, what they expect of an organization or board, and that passion is the key ingredient to being a successful board member. When asked what her key takeway from the night was, Rene Kendall, participant, said “Find a board that does work you have a passion for.” They got great tips like asking if the organization has Directors and Officers Liability and resources like BlueAvocado and GuideStar.

Amalia Leighton took over with a rundown on Public Boards and Commissions. Did you know that there were governmental boards at the county, city, state, and federal levels? And these boards are set-up very similarly to that of a nonprofit board. Unlike some nonprofit boards, however; these board and/or commission meetings are always open for the public to attend, so get out there and witness a city board meeting (FYI – they tend to be at 7:30 in the morning)! “A public board or commission sounds like the perfect opportunity for me. I am interested in moving my career from non-profit toward public policy or advocacy, and this could be a great way for me to learn how public decision-making works,” said Alison Saperstein, participant. There are boards and commissions for almost every project that happens. For example, there’s an advisory board for the Viaduct Replacement, a board for City Planning – the sky’s [almost] the limit.

We closed the night out with a quick case study about “the youngest person on the board.” The group said they learned valuable information, had a great time, and can’t wait to come back on Oct 9!

Finally, the Bridge has made its Twitter presence in a more “formal” way. Participants are even Tweeting from inside the HSDC conference room! #SWBridge

Stay tuned for more about this group of the Bridge and what they have to offer our community!

Want to be part of the next Bridge training? Registration is now open for the November Session (11/10 & 11/17). Get more info!  Sign Up Today!


The Showdown: Birthday Pie Edition September 26, 2012

Filed under: Grab bag,Our Team — seattleworks @ 4:46 pm

Once a month everyone at the Seattle Works office gets together for our staff meeting. We talk about our goals, our highs and lows, and whatever happens to be on the agenda this month (hello Swank!). It’s great to have a chance to see what everyone  else in the office is up too, we’re a small but mighty team and always like checking-in with each other. We also got to participate in a branding exercise, filling out the questions ‘We are the people who….’, ‘No one can……as well as us’, and ‘Our impact is…’.

Throwing their pie into the ring

Today was no ordinary staff meeting though. Bevin, our outreach manager, had recently celebrated a birthday. And we wanted to celebrate her with homemade sugary goodness, which meant a pie off.

The birthday girl with a handmade pipe cleaner sign by Eleanor

Judging is serious work

It was an epic battle: Katie brought in an apple pie topped with a glorious streusel finish, and Andy delivered a boozed-up pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream. In the end, only one could be the victor.

The team ate. And then ate some more. And finally, after much dithering (look at those serious faces!), cast their anonymous ballots. A special guest judge was brought in. Andy squeaked by with the win! But the real winners were the staff, since we all got two slices of pie. Jealous yet?


Why do you Swank? September 25, 2012

Filed under: Board of Directors,Our Team,Swank — seattleworks @ 8:23 am

We used our icebreaker time at the last board meeting to focus on SWANK!  Luckily our new AmeriCorps team was invited too, so everybody got to participate.

There were two sets of questions: one set for people who are SWANK veterans, and one set for those that get to experience SWANK for the very first time this year.

We asked our repeat offenders… Why do you SWANK?

  • High-energy, fabulous people spending an evening together for a wonderful cause.
  • It is a great night to celebrate Seattle Works.
  • To raise money for an awesome organization and attend the most happenin’ party in Seattle!
  • Because I get to dress up.
  • Great night for a great organization!
  • It’s a lot of fun and a great way to meet folks.
  • Because it is the single-largest source of revenue for Seattle Works and it is a great opportunity to share.
  • To stay young and swanky!
  • It’s one of the few events in Seattle that you can’t be overdressed for.
  • It’s the most fun way to support Seattle Works – no blackberry pulling [smiley]
  • Because I love good food, drinks and company!
  • Because I love getting all fancy, and seeing so many people supporting our organization.

So tell us – Why do you Swank?!


Anna Boone loves being by the water September 24, 2012

Filed under: 10 Question Profile — seattleworks @ 7:00 am

1. Name: Anna Boone

    Neighborhood: Greenwood

    Years in Seattle: 6

    Occupation:  Public Affairs Consultant

2. Where is your favorite place to go in Seattle?

I’m not one to have favorites, but I love being by the water – whether its Golden Gardens, Green Lake or the Sculpture Park.

3. Your first interaction with Seattle Works was…?

I joined Team Works six months after moving to Seattle. I met two of my dearest friends on that team!

4. What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in the Seattle area?

Do I have to pick just one? Canlis. Or the Walrus and the Carpenter.

5. Are you involved with any other Seattle nonprofit organizations?

Yes – throughout the last few years I’ve volunteered quite a bit with groups like Big Brothers Big Sisters and Friends of Seattle. I also chair the regional alumni group for my college and volunteer for political causes and candidates.

6. Which coffee shop do you frequent most?

I try to stick to my morning cup at home, but when I do go out, I hit up the Cherry St. Coffee near my office in Belltown.

7. What three words best describe your experience with Seattle Works?

Energizing. Rewarding. Social.

8. Mariners, Sounders, or Seahawks?

Mariners! Summer afternoons at Safeco with a beer and peanuts are some of the best.

9.  What is your most (or first) memorable volunteer experience?

I got the volunteering bug in high school. What stands out the most isn’t a specific project, but rather the realization that we had the ability to plan something, rally a group of people, and then make a difference in the community. It was really empowering to see an idea become a tangible way to help people.

10. What makes someone a Seattleite?

Excellent question – I’ve lived here for 6 years and am just starting to feel like one. Having a sense of community, a strong network, and some favorite neighborhood spots at least set you well on the way to being “a Seattleite.”

This weekly 10 question profile is Seattle Works way of highlighting and saying THANK YOU to all that our volunteers, leaders, community partners, board members, committee members, etc do for our community! We’re asking the same 10 questions to various Seattle Works participants as a fun way to feature the different ways to be involved with Seattle Works and in Seattle.

Want to be profiled? Fill out this survey: and send a photo to yourself to Bevin at

P.S. In case you’re interested, the inspiration behind these interviews comes from NY Mag’s weekly blog post.


Ready to Serve? Seattle has you covered. September 23, 2012

Filed under: Grab bag,Our Team,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 9:00 am

So, how does a city get one of the highest rates of volunteerism in the nation? While we won’t rule out that there’s a special civic engagement brew in the Seattle drinking water, we like to think it’s due in part to the handful of amazing organizations in our city working to connect volunteers and get Seattleites psyched about service.

Last month, Tara and Katie repped Seattle Works at a get-together convened by our friends at United Way of King County where we had a chance to meet and hear about other organizations connecting Seattle volunteers. We met folks from BEAN Seattle; Flash Volunteer; I Care, We Care; One Brick Seattle; RSVP; and The World is Fun. From high schoolers, to seniors, to those of us with smartphones attached to our hips, these organizations make doing something easy for everyone! Interested in learning more about them? There’s a great wrap-up of our meeting over at United Way of King County’s blog.

The meeting got us thinking: what special sauce does Seattle Works bring to this fantastic brew of organizations? We think it consists of a couple of things:

  • We give you the tools to stay engaged at every stage in life. At Seattle Works, we think you can give back in four key ways: your time, your skill, your voice and your money. Your ability to give in each way might fluctuate throughout your life, but we’re here to arm you with the skills to give what you can, when you can–for a lifetime of community engagement.
  • We develop emerging leaders–and put them to work. We not only think giving Seattle Works participants the skills to lead makes sense for our community, it makes sense for us! There isn’t a program at Seattle Works that doesn’t rely on the work of volunteer leaders. We wouldn’t have Hot Projects without volunteer coordinators, Team Works without Team Captains and The Bridge and HandsOn Leadership without our volunteer faculty.
  • We provide easy points of entry and opportunities for growth–all under the same roof. At Seattle Works, you can find a one-time volunteer opportunity, become a volunteer leader or take your service to the next level by training to become a project manager or serve on a nonprofit board. No matter how involved you want to be, we’ve got you covered!

Between the opportunities provided by Seattle Works and these other great organizations, we’re pretty sure there’s no longer an excuse NOT to get involved, Seattle. Get servin’!


Bridge Success, Nature Consortium has Four New Board Members September 21, 2012

Filed under: Bridge Partners,Lead,The Bridge,Training — seattleworks @ 10:03 am

What happens when you cross the Bridge?

Four Seattleites found themselves not only in the same Seattle Works Bridge course, but also on the same path toward doing exactly what they were learning to do as part of the Bridge program: connecting people with the opportunities around them.

2012 Bridge program graduates Kira Cha, Emily Knudsen, Chelsey Meek-Beck, and Jennifer Mortensen (read their bios) share how, what they learned from Seattle Works, helped them land board membership at the West Seattle-based nonprofit Nature Consortium, whose mission is to connect people, arts, and nature.

What was it about Nature Consortium that drew you to them?

Chelsey: I was drawn to Nature Consortium because of their mission statement: connecting people, arts, and nature. This organization is unique because each of their initiatives connects the three elements. I also like the fact that the organization has several projects that target youth. While many art programs are cut due to budgeting, Nature Consortium is actively working with after school programs to provide opportunities for youth to learn about art in a fun way. I think that’s great!

Emily: There are so many qualities to choose from! I think what I found most impressive, though, was the organization’s support of the arts. By promoting the arts in its programs and committing to always pay artists not only shows that the organization is true to its values, but also helps demonstrate to others in the community that art deserves more attention and appreciation. This helps create a more vibrant community.

Kira: The connection Nature Consortium has with the community is what drew me to them. As a new Seattleite, seeing how this organization ties art and conservation, which strengthen the identity of the area, to the neighborhood is a mission that I wanted to be a part of in my new city. I’m excited to contribute to the positive values that define Seattle, because this is what attracted me to the city when I moved here.

Jen: At the end of the Seattle Works Bridge program, Page Roth gave us a great list of organizations seeking volunteers. I was the nerd who looked up the website for each and every org on that list. I’m a marketing person by trade, so spending my time with an organization that knows how to—or that’s at least eager to—creatively tell their story is important to me. I wanted to join an organization capable of standing out in a crowd. One look at Nature Consortium’s website and you’ll know they’re creative, inspiring, doing lots of great things in our community, and that they’re even a little quirky. I just love that.

What was the process of becoming a board member like?

Emily: I familiarized myself with the organization by meeting with the executive director, board members and attending Nature Consortium events to learn as much as I could about its mission and how the organization operated.  I was in awe of what the organization was accomplishing and was certain that it had further potential. So I submitted my resume, attended a board meeting, and was voted in just a few months after attending the Bridge program. I felt supported and encouraged throughout the whole process by Page Roth of Seattle Works and everyone I met at Nature Consortium.

Jen: Becoming a board member was not unlike dating. Seattle Works was the matchmaker; they gave me a volunteer “makeover” and introduced me to Nature Consortium. I had a first date with Nancy, NC’s executive director. She showed me their artistically decorated office, introduced me to their fun-loving and hard-working staff, and we had a great conversation about the organization’s mission and her vision for the future. Then, I had a second date with Board Member Derek. We talked one-on-one about the state of the organization and what it’s like to serve on the board. Shortly thereafter, Derek and Nancy invited me to meet the family. I attended a couple of spirited board meetings (not at all like the stuffy, number-crunching board meeting’s I’d envisioned. (Well, there was some number crunching; budgets are important!) We all got to know one another, ask questions, and evaluate if this relationship was going to work.  I was very proud to be asked to join the board and to be voted in with my fellow Bridge grads. Now that the honeymoon stage is over, Nancy has me hard at work helping with the organization’s brand building. It was and continues to be a great experience!

What are you excited to work on as a board member?

Emily: I’m really excited to get the word out about Nature Consortium. I’ve heard so many volunteers and attendees of the Arts in Nature Festival speak very enthusiastically about the organization, so I know that if more people find out about the organization, they will also be smitten and eager to be more involved. (Just as I was.)

Kira: We host a series of fun art and nature events in West Seattle and beyond and getting people involved and invested in the mission is the biggest way I, as a board member, can contribute to the organization’s longevity.

Chelsey: As a Board Member, I’m excited to learn more about the structure and a typical statement of work of a non-profit organization. As a new board member, I think it is fascinating how differently a non-profit functions than a for profit company. I think that attending board meetings and different functions will help me to learn about these topics.

Jen: I’m excited, albeit a little nervous, to work on friend- and fund-raising. Over the years I’ve grown a network of friends who share professional and personal interests. Now I have a chance to introduce my network to my philanthropic interests. I hope I’ll learn how to effectively “pitch” Nature Consortium to friends and colleagues, to help inspire them to give time and resources in support of arts, nature, and community-building. I’ll definitely be drawing on the knowledge Seattle Works taught me during the Bridge course.

What is one thing from The Bridge that you remember and are excited to apply in your upcoming service?

Kira: This is my first board service and what The Bridge taught me is that diversity of experiences are important on a board. It’s important for a board to continue to develop as a group, and bringing in new ideas and voices strengthens the board as a whole, prevents stagnation, and pushes it to grow.

 Jen: Board service has a social benefit, too! I’m enjoying getting to know my fellow board members and the Nature Consortium staff: what they do professionally, what they do for fun, what we have in common (in addition to our love of Nature Consortium, of course).

Emily: The base knowledge on nonprofit financials I learned at the Bridge was really important to me. It’s an area where I’d like to gain more experience so I’m hoping to apply that knowledge to my role as a board member.

Chelsey: The Bridge taught me that different board members can bring different things to the table in an organization. For instance, some people can bring the benefits of a large network or knowledge in a specific field (such as law) that would be useful in a board setting. Personally, I can donate time to volunteer for the organization. By doing so I can help ensure the organization is fulfilling its mission in the activities it provides to its targeted audience. I am excited to get to know the people that are passionate about Nature Consortium’s mission as I volunteer.

What has been your favorite moment at Nature Consortium so far?

Jen: Handing out beer tokens at Clips of Faith was pretty fantastic. “What’s Clips of Faith?” you ask. Oh, only the most awesome summer evening out in Seattle you’ll ever have: movies on the lawn at Gasworks Park, New Belgium Beer tasting, music, prizes, friends, and above all else, an entire community learning about and showing support for Nature Consortium! Check out the photo recap.

Emily: The first Nature Consortium event I attended was the Youth Art Program. I helped the kids create flowers and bugs out of reclaimed materials and put together a mosaic for their garden. After art time, the kids wanted to take me to their garden. They pointed out the plants they had sown and showed me the resident chickens. What really got me was their excitement over the sorrel they had grown. (Yes, sorrel, a leafy green.) A few kids picked off a leaf or two, stuffed it into their mouths and then asked permission to get more. Then one boy turned to me, “Do you want to try it? It’s delicious!” and he gave me his. Who knew kids could be that excited over fresh-from-the-garden greens?!  You could tell how proud they were at what they had accomplished.

Kira: My favorite moment was the first meet and greet board meeting we attended before becoming board members. It was the biannual board and staff meeting and there was an introductory storytelling where everyone shared a Nature Consortium memory. It was so inspiring to hear everyone’s vastly different experiences. Listening to the passion and energy everyone has for this organization made me want to join right away!

Join Kira, Emily, Chelsey, and Jen in the ranks of community leaders. The next session of The Bridge starts THIS Tue, 9/25 6-9p! Sign Up Now!


Take Your Volunteerism to the Next Level September 19, 2012

Filed under: Lead,The Bridge — seattleworks @ 10:35 am

Have you ever wondered what else you can do to give your time, skills, and knowledge aside from doing volunteer projects, tutoring, or helping clean up a neighborhood? Here’s your chance!

The Bridge offers young professionals the skills necessary to be an effective board member. Help make the larger decisions for a nonprofit organization. Maybe you have a knack for fundraising, put those skills to good use by helping secure funding. Perhaps you’re a lawyer, tax guru, HR fanatic, or PR/marketing expert: all of these types of skills are just a few of the things the organizations look for when recruiting new board members.

Don’t necessarily fit in to one of those categories? That’s OK! Boards of Directors are made up of all different types of people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and skills. There’s opportunities for connection with almost any type of experience.

Those pre-existing skills, linked with the training that The Bridge provides, makes a highly sought-after board member. Organizations are making a shift, more and more younger professionals are now serving on boards, public commissions, and committees. Don’t let your age discourage you from taking the next step in your community.

The Bridge

The Bridge is a 9-hr training that prepares participants to serve on nonprofit boards and public commissionsThe program covers board roles and responsibilities, nonprofit finances, fundraising and leadership skill development.

Course content consists of:

  • Nonprofit Sector Overview
  • Public Boards & Commissions
  • Nonprofit & Board Financial Management
  • Fundraising and Resource Development for Nonprofit Boards
  • Board Panel: What I Wish I Knew
  • Interactive Board Simulation

Learn more about The Bridge by visiting our website.

The next Bridge starts on Tue 9/25 6-9pm. Sign Up Today! Registration closes on Monday!

For additional information or questions,


Team Works + Fun Projects = Your New Favorite Activity! September 18, 2012

Filed under: Team Works,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 4:37 pm

This past weekend brought success: all of the Team Works teams enjoyed their projects and had a great time helping the community, while bonding with fellow volunteers!

Like all of our organizations, Picardo P-Patch does amazing things for the community. The garden began with a group of students and parents, organized by a neighborhood activist. The food they grew was donated to the local Neighbors in Need program, a precursor to their current food bank program. Since that time, Picardo has donated tons of produce to local food banks, meals programs, senior apartments and housing shelters.

Bex Bradley, Team Captain of The A Team, tweeted: “Volunteered at Picardo P-patch today with @SeattleWorks. Had a great time weeding, harvesting, mulching and got myself a nice farmers tan!”

Picardo P-Patch reciprocated the enjoyment by posting this picture of The A Team on Facebook, with the caption: “Awesome Seattle Works team!!”

The A Team worked hard on the renovation of an area in the garden that houses the food bank shed and cleaning station.

This is exactly the kind of interaction we envision when connecting teams with community organizations. We love when both the team and the organization have a blast! That’s when volunteering becomes contagious, and both sides cannot wait to work with each other again!

Interested, but need a little more information? Well, here it is: Team Works is a unique volunteer program. It gives volunteers the opportunity to form stronger relationships with fellow volunteers, as well as community organizations. Volunteers sign up with fantastic teams every round and rounds are one project a month for four months, three times a year. Teams can also participate in challenges, which encourage volunteers to explore their communities even more!

To celebrate how awesome each Team Works volunteer is, Seattle Works organizes two parties; one party (the Kick-Off), is right before the round begins. We get volunteers pumped for their upcoming projects and send them off ready and excited! The second party (the Cool-Down), is at the end of the round – that’s when volunteers reflect on the good times, while bonding with the rest of the teams! Oh, and did I mention there will be food?!

Sound like fun? Join a team! Register for Team Works now, and see how great it feels to give back to the community, while enjoying yourself!



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