Seattle Works

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

“Seattle has a deficit of sunshine, so I want to energize the city in my own small way” November 30, 2010

Filed under: Hot Projects,Lead,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 1:16 am
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We asked a group of our Project Coordinators to tell us why they are motivated to step up and be a leader for Seattle Works. Here is a smattering of their responses:

– Helping a community makes you feel more a part of it.

– To make a positive change that I can see the results of.

– I am very social oriented. I love hanging out with people going to events and gatherings … what if I could also make it meaningful and help others and feel great about it? Done: Seattle Works creates that perfect setting.

– Catholic guilt (kidding!). It’s fun, purposeful and helps you connect with people and organizations that build and support the city. It helps you think about your purpose in our community as well.

– I love making a difference in my community, learning about local orgs and meeting other people interested in the same things!


“Beyond the Soup Kitchen” – Stacy Twilley nails it. November 23, 2010

Filed under: Grab bag,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 5:49 am

The annual holiday surge of volunteer interest brings a mixed bag of feelings – gratitude and appreciation for the spirit of generosity, and also some discomfort at the short-term, mad dash toward causes that don’t often get the time, thought, attention or volunteers that they deserve the rest of the year.

Enter Stacy Twilley’s “Beyond the Soup Kitchen”:

Well said!

It’s worth a read – good food for thought on how the extra inspiration this season brings can translate into a sustained impact.

– Tara


Neither rain, not sleet nor snow… can stop the Seattle Works team!

Filed under: Grab bag,Our Team — seattleworks @ 4:57 am

Today marked some nerdy nonprofit pride for me.

Flashback to the last time it snowed this much in Seattle: December 2008. Seattle Works was confronted by a much bigger chill than the so-called snowpocalypse. It was the start of the so-called great recession.

It was clear the economy was heading south, but it was hard to know what it would really mean for our organization. We weren’t panicked, but we were seriously concerned and seriously focused on how to get ahead of what might be a new economic reality. 

I’m proud that what came next was INNOVATION. It started in a staff meeting about cutting costs when Jan asked “do we REALLY need this office?” and it snowballed from there.  We made a dramatic shift in our workplace set-up in short order thanks to a smart staff, a smart board and wonderful partners. 

Good-bye office where everyone had their own cube, hello “flexible workspace”. We went from a standard office to one shared room, and from desktop computers and in-office server, to laptop computers and a cloud-based computing system. Point B donated a consultant to help us figure out how to transition everything from adopting Microsoft Sharepoint to switching to a  remote-friendly phone system. Clark Nuber donated the laptops they were upgrading from. And the board and staff all pitched in with a willngess to embrace change in an uncertain and somewhat scary time.

Flash forward to 2010 and today’s snow. Times are by no means easy for Seattle Works, but we finished 2009 in the black and are on pace to do so again this year. AND not only did our rapid technology and workplace reconfiguration save money, it created a set-up where anyone on our team can work from anyplace at anytime. Which means snow days = no problem.

It’s a longer and more complicated story than that. But the short version is our small-but-mighty organization adopted a technology set-up that promotes flexibility and saves money. We moved fast when we needed to, and we had loyal friends who helped us do it.  It was challenging but necessary at the time, and with two years of hindsight is oh-so-clear we made a really good decision.


Warm fuzzies to help keep you warm November 22, 2010

Filed under: Hot Projects,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 11:05 pm

 **Sigh** the elementary school playground. I have fond memories of my old stomping ground. It’s a place where my second grade boyfriend gave me a bracelet made of metal, where I spent hours hanging upside-down on the monkey bars, where my friends and I pretended to be unicorns trotting around the castle grounds, not to mention a place where a good game of tag (every rendition imaginable) was a daily occurrence. Good times.

Now, thanks to Seattle Works volunteers, parents and neighbors, West Woodland Elementary has a playground that is making memories every day.

Special shout out to Ryan, Shawn, Nick, Staci, Tim and Ryoji for volunteering four hours of your time to help these kiddos out.


Congrats, You are the winner of the fat penguin award! November 20, 2010

Filed under: Hot Projects,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 12:08 am

Last night we held a thank you event for our Project Coordinators at Still Liquors on Capitol Hill.  We handed out a few tokens of appreciation like the Fat Penguin Award to Omar Ayoub because he really knows how to break the ice … get it? Kelly Dearey received our High Five Award for being the most involved with all things Seattle Works over this last year. Becky Edmonds was bestowed the Bumbershoot Award for coordinating the most outdoor projects and we named Stephanie Schuster On Fire! because she has led the most Hot Projects this year. 

Project Coordinators are the people who make Hot Projects possible. We offer three or four of these projects every week and this year alone we’ve facilitated approximately 7,200 volunteer hours through Hot Projects.

Say hello to impact.

However, that is a lot of projects that need to be led each year.  It’s true that our staff is a scrappy and hard-working crew, but there’s no way we could be at every project.  We rely HEAVILY on our Project Coordinators to take the lead, make volunteers feel welcome and communicate with the project host to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Project Coordinators: you are the reason our Hot Projects are so successful. Thank you.


“Then you do what I like to call thanking or spanking.” November 18, 2010

Filed under: Influence — seattleworks @ 12:55 am

Some context: this is in regard to how to interact with members of our legislature (aka the people who make our laws) … excuse me, what?!

Hold please.  Let me explain.

We partnered with a nonpartisan group called Knowledge As Power to bring you a training session on how to become politically involved beyond voting in an election.  Here’s a small portion of what I learned:

Did you know that legislative session in our fine state starts in January?  That means that right now (before session starts) is the second best time of the year to have your voice heard by your elected officials.  Knowledge As Power has all sorts of tips and tricks to help you succeed in contacting your legislative members.  This is important because these VIPs are busy.  They are literally swamped by communications so throw them a bone and follow a few easy steps.  It’s like adding a cherry on top of your civic sundae. 

Now I promised to get back to you about the title of this post.  After you have done your few steps to make your voice heard on an issue (whatever issue you choose), hopefully the bill will make it to the point where it’s voted on.  You’re able to easily track the life of the bill on Knowledge As Power’s website ( and see if the elected official you were in communication with voted the way you wanted them to … now comes the thanking or spanking communication.

These people are human after all. They deserve to be thanked for doing a good job but chances are they won’t go your way every single time, and it’s acceptable to let them know you’re disappointed in their vote (respectfully of course).

Check out Knowledge As Power for more information. Low effort and high impact – yes please.


And the survey says! November 16, 2010

Filed under: Influence — seattleworks @ 10:30 pm
Tags: ,

Remember when we told you about CityClub’s Community Matters campaign and the facilitated conversations on public trust? (In case you missed it:

High level results from the 24 conversations held throughout our community and more than 1,000 surveys on public trust:

  • Neighbors – people may not know their neighbors at all, but they trust that if there was ever a need to help out, their neighbors would do so.
  • Government – Seattle citizens want to trust their government at all levels, but there was a current of people who thought their government asked for the opinion of the people as a formality, once decisions have already been made.
  • Police – the results can only be described as a juxtapositions; a love/hate relationship. People want to have a relationship with their local police force but feel as though that aspect is lacking.
  • Media – people only trust the types of media that are focused and written on a hyper-local level (i.e., The West Seattle Blog), and most expressed a distrust in newspaper and television news.

More in-depth information on the conversations will be released in the coming months and we’ll be sure to share them with you then!