WA-List » Giving Local: Washington Charities (2012)

Giving Local: Washington Charities (2012)

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Business & Industry

A revised 2014-2015 edition of this list is now available.

Do you donate a little extra to a favorite charity in December?  For several years we have favored two reputable non-profit organizations — both of which are headquartered out of state.  This year, however, we decided to give locally.  There’s nothing wrong with contributing to a national charity, of course, but the idea of helping neighbors felt right this year more than most.

We began looking through different websites, reading mission statements, and searching 501C3 databases.  You might think that’s overdoing the research a bit for one household’s meager holiday contribution, but somewhere along the way we were inspired to share the “giving local” idea and publish our findings.  Now, you may have been donating in your town all along.  Wonderful!  We like to buy local, but to be honest we never really thought about donating local except for a few specific appeals or causes now and then.  That changes this year.

We sifted through about 150 Washington-based charities that provide human services to people in crisis, checked their financial reports with the Secretary of State’s office, verified their Exempt 501C3 federal tax status, and picked fourteen to publish in detail below.  We certainly can’t list ALL charities here and deliberated on who to leave in or out.  This may seem crass, but in the end, we opted for the largest.  They raise the most revenue and redistribute the broadest good.

(We said broadest — not greatest.  There are plenty of smaller organizations where volunteers scrape by with limited funds but the warmest of hearts. What they don’t have in money, they have in time, food, and clothing.  Perhaps we can provide a list of smaller charitable causes in the future.  Help us by suggesting — in the comments below — your favorite Washington-based charity.)

In today’s WA-List, you will find the names, locations, website links, and Facebook pages of 14 large local charitable organizations that serve human needs (food, clothes, rest, and help battling addiction, abuse, mental illness, etc.).  In the wordy “Notes” section for each, you will find the organization’s own words — often from a mission statement on their website.  If the group has a slogan, you’ll see that first in quotes and italics.

On the last line of each entry are some numbers from the Secretary of State’s office, fiscal year 2011.  The first number is dollar amount of services provided; the second is the group’s total expenses; and the third is the ratio of the two.  Finally, we intentionally omitted phone numbers and addresses.  It is much more efficient (and accurate) to let the websites themselves steer you to the right contact for donations.



Catholic Charities of Spokane
Website / Facebook

Catholic Charities Spokane is a network of agencies, institutions, parishes, and individuals, united in Gospel spirit, who are servants to the poor, supporters for families and aides to parishes and communities in meeting the social services needs of people in eastern Washington.
$7,502,339 / $9,120,843 = 82%

Website / Facebook

Childhaven is the only nonprofit organization in King County dedicated to the mission of healing young and vulnerable victims of abuse while breaking the cycle that leads to more hurt, more trauma. For many of our children, we are the one constant in a young life marked by unpredictability and turmoil. For many of our families, we are their first real chance to stay together. They come to us from lives marked by abuse and neglect. They leave with enduring relationships and hope for the future.
$6,614,477 / $8,011,288 = 83%

Cocoon House
Website / Facebook

Because every child needs a home.”  Established in 1991, Cocoon House has been Snohomish County’s only resource exclusively serving homeless and at-risk youth ages 13-17. We believe that every child deserves a home and the opportunity to achieve his or her fullest potential. Cocoon House provides youth housing and other critical community -based services to caregivers, families and the community.
$2,360,355 / $3,005,654 = 79%

Emergency Food Network
Website / Facebook

…so that no person goes hungry.” The mission of the Emergency Food Network (EFN) is “to provide a reliable food supply so that no person in Pierce County goes hungry.” Emergency Food Network provides more than 13 million pounds of healthy, nutritious food annually at no cost to over 65 food banks, hot meal sites and shelters for distribution to low-income families and individuals. In 2011, programs in our network accommodated 1,285,903 total visits. EFN spent nearly $1.55 per visit to assure that each time a community member walked into a food program with nothing, they walked out with enough food for 11 meals.
$17,966,370 / $18,386,146 = 98%

Everett Gospel Mission
Website / Facebook

Fifty years ago, the Everett Gospel Mission was established  in downtown Everett to help homeless and “down and out” men turn their lives around and re-enter society.  Today we are the largest Faith-Based Organization for homeless men, women and children in Snohomish, Skagit, Island and San Juan counties.  Currently the only organization to provide emergency shelter to single men, we are also the larger of only two organizations providing emergency shelter to single women.
$1,472,270 / $2,254,597 = 65%

Website / Facebook

Great food. Better lives.”  FareStart is a culinary job training and placement program for homeless and disadvantaged individuals. Over the past 20 years, FareStart has provided opportunities for nearly 6,000 people to transform their lives, while also serving over 5 million meals to disadvantaged men, women, and children.
$4,768,914 / $6,491,130 = 73%

First Place
Website / Facebook

Hope, Home, and Education for every child, one family at a time.”  First Place serves families in crisis by providing excellent culturally competent education, housing and support services enabling families to achieve permanent stability.  First Place seeks to empower low-income families and their children to achieve self-sufficiency.
$1,872,054  / $2,351,250 = 80%

Food Lifeline
Website / Facebook

Feeding hope. Feeding western Washington.” Food Lifeline is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending hunger in Western Washington. Food Lifeline makes every penny count, and 94% of the food we receive from local, state and national contributors is donated. Last year, Food Lifeline distributed more than 35 million pounds of food, the equivalent of more than 27 million meals to feed hungry people throughout Western Washington.
$57,730,104 / $60,299,430 = 96%

Northwest Harvest
Website / Facebook

Hunger stops here.”  The mission of Northwest Harvest is to provide nutritious food to hungry people statewide in a manner that respects their dignity, while fighting to eliminate hunger. Our vision is ample nutritious food is available to everyone in Washington State.  Northwest Harvest is the only non-profit food bank distributor operating statewide in Washington with a network of more than 350 food banks, meal programs and high-need schools. We provide over 1.7 million meals every month to this network.
$36,696,598 / $38,824,621 = 95%

The Rescue Mission
Website / Facebook

Help. Hope. Healing.” The Rescue Mission is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Tacoma, Washington. Guided by its Christian heritage and belief in the human spirit, the Rescue Mission works with people at all stages of addiction, homelessness or other life challenges, offering proven services, support and facilities. Originally founded in 1912 to serve homeless men in Tacoma, the Rescue Mission has grown to serve women and children in all parts of Pierce County with six different locations.
$5,132,454 / $5,758,830 = 89%

Seattle Children’s Home
Website / Facebook

Our mission is to help children and their families by providing comprehensive mental health and developmental services. Founded in 1884, Seattle Children’s Home (SCH) is a private, not-for-profit organization that responds to the mental health needs of children and their families throughout Seattle, King County and Washington State.  From humble beginnings as a home for orphaned children, SCH has blossomed into the only mental health facility of its kind in King County. Today, Seattle Children’s Home is respected throughout the community for addressing the emotional and behavioral health needs of our state’s most seriously emotionally disturbed children.
$4,226,707 / $5,517,399 = 77%

Second Harvest Inland Northwest
Website / Facebook

Second Harvest, founded in 1971, leads a network of 250 neighborhood food banks and meal centers throughout Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Second Harvest provides 1.7 million pounds of donated food each month to help feed hungry people.
$34,322,250 / $34,910,801 = 98%

Website / Facebook

Giving foster kids a childhood and a future.”  Today, thousands of children suffering from the effects of abuse and neglect are eligible for our services. Treehouse makes a difference in their lives by helping with school, fulfilling key material needs and paying for extras that are, for most kids, just a regular part of growing up.  Treehouse is uniquely committed to improving the lives of our kids living in foster care.
$5,398,703 / $6,780,857 = 80%

Wellspring Family Services
Website / Facebook

Wellspring Family Services builds emotionally healthy, self-sufficient families and a non-violent community in which they can thrive. By addressing the overlapping issues of mental health challenges, domestic violence, and homelessness we get at the source of instability for families. Last year we served more than 9,000 children, adults and families in King County. We help homeless families find and hold onto a place to live, teach abusive partners non-violent behaviors, provide counseling for at-risk families and individuals, and empower parents to nurture their children. Together, we are building a community where children and families thrive.
$11,450,222 / $13,595,881 = 84%


NOTE:  We’ll say again that this far from a complete list or a “best” list.  We regret we don’t have more wonderful organizations to share but we had to set a threshold of some kind to keep the list manageable.  We’d love to see YOUR suggestions for additional charities in the comments below.

SOURCES: The websites themselves were our primary sources for the text in the Notes columns.  We did not alter the the sentences, but in a few cases we adjoined sentences from different places on the website to suit the clarity of a short description.  We were careful not to change the context or meaning.  As said above, we also relied on Secretary of State’s charities database to verify licenses, tax exempt status, and the financial information shown here.  Among the other relevant databases consulted, we found Charity Navigator the most helpful.

PHOTO of food bank volunteers checking expiration dates in the public domain.


One Response to “Giving Local: Washington Charities (2012)”

  1. Kari Says:

    Since you asked… My favorite WA charities are: Feline Friends (http://feline-friends.net/), Real Change (http://realchangenews.org/), and
    Bicycles for Kids (http://bicycles4kids.com).