Three years ago, a group of South Park residents and café regulars routinely met at Resistencia Coffee. Now, what started as those open mics and conversations about community building over coffee has become Cultivate South Park, an established nonprofit that is working to build spaces for connection and collaboration throughout the South Park community. The nonprofit’s robust programming provides South Park with innovative solutions in food, environmental, housing, and economic justice, and fortifies existing neighborhood strengths.
Have you ever been in line for coffee and when you pull up to the window to pay, you find that a stranger paid? It’s such a simple act of kindness, yet that is where the joy comes from, how easy it is to give. GivingTuesday, held on Nov. 30 this year, centers on this idea of “radical generosity” — defined by the GivingTuesday organization as “[t]he concept that the suffering of others should be as intolerable to us as our own suffering.”
The idea for the day was created at the 92nd Street Y and its Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact in New York City in 2012. Despite its humble beginnings, the day has grown into a collaborative global initiative involving millions of people who give each year. GivingTuesday is now its own nonprofit that rallies us to share in the spirit of giving routinely. According to The GivingTuesday, 2020 Impact Report, last year nearly 16 million Americans donated a total of $503 million. Worldwide, the donations went to over 75 countries. And the money isn’t all big gifts, donations from small donors increased by 10% in 2020.
Choose 180, a local nonprofit that supports youth, announced that it would raise its baseline salary to $70,000 per year, a more than $20,000 pay increase for frontline staff.
“The way we will structure this,” said Executive Director Sean Goode, “is that all direct service folks will make $70,000, our managers will make $75,000, and our directors will make $80,000.”
Choose 180 has built a reputation in the community for advocacy and support to youth facing incarceration. Through programs and partnerships, Choose 180 provides youth with workshops focused on empowerment and positive choices as well as felony intervention. It connects youth with “success coaches,” school-based diversion programs for youth facing expulsion or suspension, job training, and more programs and opportunities designed to interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.
This will be a huge leap for some employees, who made around $48,000 per year. The internal messaging was delivered at a recent staff meeting.
“Some of them left with a $20,000 pay increase, with the understanding that it’s going to show up on the next check,” Goode said.
In the summer of 2019, I had a very public breakup with the arts nonprofit where I had worked for six years. Two staff had just been fired, seemingly out of nowhere. They had been leading the organization on internal restructuring and equitable practices. The work was going well and conversations were fruitful. The board and leadership were vocally supportive. Until they weren’t.
I and several other staff members responded to the firings by writing a public letter to the organization’s community of supporters, asking for their help in holding leadership accountable, reinstating staff, and conducting a transparent investigation. Unfortunately, this threw the organization into more turmoil and ultimately led to my departure.
It’s still painful to process everything that happened that summer, but what I gained was a more intimate understanding of how the nonprofit sector is failing on its equity promises.
For the last 20 years, Rainier Scholars has partnered with various organizations, school districts, individual schools, and businesses to academically support underrepresented students in the greater Seattle area. Earlier this month, Rainier Scholars announced that they would be partnering with Tacoma Public Schools (TPS) to further the district’s mission of supporting more students, especially those from multigenerational African American families. Their first Tacoma cohort will be recruited in the beginning of fall of 2021, with programming launching in the summer of 2022.
I first discovered Hillman City Collaboratory in 2016 while working with housing activists to save a Central District family from displacement — the collaboratory was a space where we could strategize and discuss. The second time I engaged with the space was when I attended a clothing swap in the main mixing room. High-quality clothes were neatly folded into stacks — anyone could grab some pretty decent threads and it didn’t matter if they had money or something to trade. And then there were the films and the talks and the discussions and the various events — social, political, cultural, artistic, and business-related — that I attended at the collaboratory throughout the years.
But as I approached the Hillman City Collaboratory headquarters on April 30, I could see, even from across Rainier Avenue, that the social change incubator that once teemed with life was completely deserted. This was the final day of the community hub — they had to vacate the premises. An older man, who looked to be in his 60s, stood about 30 feet from the entrance. He smoked a cigarette and peered down the empty sidewalk. As I tugged on the collaboratory door, the man took a final draw on his cigarette and approached me. I wanted to know more about the closing of the collaboratory, I explained. He nodded in understanding as if he had been expecting me and we went inside.
Ingersoll Gender Center is one of the oldest organizations by and for transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming communities in the U.S. Founded in 1977, Ingersoll provides support groups, resources, help with navigating healthcare, employment, and other services, all under the vision of self-determination and collective liberation for transgender people. However, current and former staff members claim the nonprofit has fallen far short of this vision, alleging Ingersoll Directors have demonstrated “intentional, calculated abuse, and anti-Blackness.”
On March 15, about 12 Black, POC, trans, and disabled current and former staff — known as Ingersoll Collective Action — released an Action Network petition, calling out the nonprofit for abusive workplace dynamics, exploiting the labor and social capital of Black staff, and other instances of harm.
South Seattle cycling hub Bike Works will host an online trivia game Thursday evening, meant to raise funds and awareness as the Columbia City nonprofit kicks off its 25th anniversary year with fresh leadership and a renewed focus on racial justice.
Neighbors might know Bike Works for its bright yellow community bike shop on South Ferdinand Street or its roving BikeMobile, which offers free repairs to riders in “bike deserts,” where shops are scarce. Thursday’s trivia event is the latest virtual meetup in a monthly series the group has launched during the pandemic.
Don’t know a crankset from a dereailleur? Don’t worry.
Trivia fans, this is your night to shine! Join the nonprofit City Fruit online Sunday, October 25 at 5 p.m. for a virtual gala with a hard cider tasting, a Halloween costume contest, and trivia hosted by Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings, plus Senator Rebecca Saldaña and family in attendance. Trivia teams of up to five people can play for a chance to win a grand prize $500 gift certificate to James Beard-award winning restaurant Canlis, as well as other prizes. You can buy tickets and sign up for the cider tasting, trivia, or both here.
(This article was originally published by Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
The line to enter the Columbia City Farmers Market stretched down 35th Avenue South, curving down South Ferdinand Street, shoppers standing the designated six feet apart in the shade of the trees of the shuttered Interagency Academy. Vendors stacked fresh vegetables and prepared food on tables that lined each side of South Edmunds Street, tokens of normalcy in abnormal times.
Just a block away, Monika Mathews had a small table of her own set up in front of QueenCare, the natural skincare company that she launched in December 2018. Colorful face masks and dangling earrings next to Black Lives Matter shirts and a handful of her handmade products lay out to tempt customers, as a person filled bottles with handmade products inside the small storefront.