News Columns & Blogs

Nonprofits turn to community to continue vital programs

It worked for Obama and other politicians, so why not for Together!, the community agency working to prevent youth substance abuse and violence?

Executive Director Jim Cooper and Resource Development Director Diane Pieroni are nudging the organization towards community fundraising to reduce its overall reliance on grants. But rather than introduce yet another auction event into a community already overloaded with them, they have launched a social media campaign.

If you want to help support the good work for kids that Together! does – and why wouldn’t you – just go to their website at www. You’ll find a link to click through to create our own personal fundraising web page.

You can set your own goal for Together! and invite everyone you know to make a contribution. There are easy tools to link your fundraising page to your Facebook page, My Space or Linkedin. You can even post to your Twitter account. You can send e-mails to your entire contact list or use a number of other methods to ask people for donations to this valuable community agency.

Your personal page includes a thermometer to track your progress.

In the interests of full disclosure, I have signed on as a co-chair – with Thurston County Commissioner Cathy Wolfe – for Together!’s first-ever fundraising effort. My page is already up, just in case you want to make a gift.

They have a modest goal of raising just $10,000, which is small in comparison to the important support they provide to youth and families.

And speaking of kids, I recently attended the Olympia School District Education Foundation’s annual breakfast that raised $20,000 for their “Principals Emergency Checkbook Fund.”

This is an amazing program that provides discretionary money for principals to help students buy shoes or a winter coat or even some medical care. Olympia High School Principal Matt Grant told story after story of kids who lack the basic life essentials and come to school in a condition and state of mind that prevents them from learning.

One touching story was about a young girl he found outside the school one morning, wet and asleep. She had been kicked out of her home. He used the Checkbook Fund to get her some dry clothes and food.

OSD Foundation President Craig Ottavelli said the fund, which was initiated by Denny and Paula Heck, fills an important resource gap for educators. Thurston First Bank has sponsored the breakfast for the past few years.

Along those same lines, the North Thurston Education Foundation will hold its eighth annual Partners for Kids Luncheon at 11.30 a.m. on Oct. 12 in the Worthington Center at St. Martin’s University.


The Capitol Theater will host a benefit Friday for young breast cancer survivors. The benefit is called Olympia Live! ... The Economic Development Council and the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce are staging “Start Up Weekend” Oct. 15-17 at St. Martin’s University Harned Hall. It’s three days of “no talk, all action” where entrepreneurs will pitch business ideas for green, technology and others. Someone will potentially win startup funding for their great new idea. ... The Olympian has an iPhone app. You can download it for free from the iTunes App Store and then get all the breaking local, state and national news on your smartphone.