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Friday, September 21, 2007

What’s Your Cause?

posted by on September 21 at 14:49 PM

Every winter, The Stranger has a charity auction called Strangercrombie, where we auction off great things (like a Vespa), weird things (like 16 boxes of porn), and things of dubious value (like, uh, ourselves) and throw the earnings at a local charity. For the past five years, the charity has been been Northwest Harvest, which has been giving food to the poor and hungry since 1967.

Last year, we raised (or, rather, you bid) $40,000. Which was great. We love Northwest Harvest. But is it possible we’re being a bit myopic? Are there other local causes we should consider?

What do you think, citizens of Slog? Which are your favorite causes?

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I was hoping you would change the name this year.

Abercrombie and Fitch is so a total decade ago.

Posted by durn | September 21, 2007 2:53 PM

Give all of the money to David Blomstrom.

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 21, 2007 2:54 PM

Certainly there is no shortage of worthy charities out there that would love a slice of that $40K, but really, giving the money to an organization that provides the most basic of human needs - sustenance - isn't a bad way to go.

I say, keep the blinders on and keep giving the money to Northwest Harvest.

Posted by COMTE | September 21, 2007 2:57 PM

i think the majority of benefit shit events are that, shit. a version of my views was spelled out on the yahoopopmusic seattle board a few years back. if someone knows an obscure person named Stephanie Pure she can tell you about it, or have somethin to say. or does she even know slog exists, i never see her name on this, which is weird, she was quite popular on seattlepop yahoo group and had much to say. maybe she's gone underground. anyway, if she's out there, hey stephanie how's life? doesn't it sadden you/others that mike closed the pop music board...... oh, and yeah, benefits are bullshit, pretty much.

Posted by June Bee | September 21, 2007 3:00 PM

The Service Board, Seattle Young People's Project, and First Place are all amazing programs that work with disadvantaged young people, but in different capacities. They are also programs where that sum would be a HUGE gift that would enable them to really expand their services. (Also, I am a walking non-profit database, if you need more suggestions.)

Posted by Ari Spool | September 21, 2007 3:01 PM

I prefer Food Lifeline to NW Harvest.

Posted by Jack | September 21, 2007 3:03 PM

LHI (Low Income Housing Institute) I give money to them for the Urban Rest Stop (gives homeless people a place to shower and laundry clothes) A VERY functional place that allows people who need help a very basic need to allow them to feel better about themselves and present themselves to perspective employers.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younge | September 21, 2007 3:03 PM

Lifelong would be nice. ANYTHING but Big Brothers Big Sisters. That is the worst, rapiest charity on the planet.

Posted by Meagan | September 21, 2007 3:06 PM

Kindering Center! How can you not want to help children w/special needs? Check them out at

Posted by deltron | September 21, 2007 3:10 PM

I think you should give the money to Clay Bennet.

Posted by RamJak | September 21, 2007 3:14 PM

826 Seattle

Posted by Blaire | September 21, 2007 3:16 PM

One or all of the many local film non-profits.

Posted by apttitle | September 21, 2007 3:17 PM

Home Alive

Posted by Jill | September 21, 2007 3:21 PM

No on RTID.

Posted by Will in Seattle | September 21, 2007 3:22 PM

Arts Corps.

Posted by papillon | September 21, 2007 3:24 PM
Posted by Jon | September 21, 2007 3:26 PM

Jconnect Seattle deserves your donations. Their mission is to bring together Jewish grad students, young professionals and their friends to create opportunities for them to build community together, celebrate their Judaism together, learn together and take action together.

JConnect is a perfect fit with The Stranger demographic, young affluent socially active professionals. The Stranger could score a lot of points raising money for Jconnect. And with Israel's attack on Iran coming as soon as next spring, it's important to keep positive press flowing among local liberals. What better way than lots of stories about Jconnect?

Posted by Issur | September 21, 2007 3:28 PM

The CAIR (Community Abortion Information & Resource) Project is a local abortion fund serving Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Idaho. They raise funds and give them to women who want an abortion but can't afford one- women who are not poor enough for Medicaid (in WA, OR and AK) or who are unlucky enough to be poor and living in Idaho (where Medicaid dollars can't be used to pay for abortions.) These are women who would otherwise have no choice but to have a baby they don't want and can't care for- but with CAIR's help they can actually have a real choice. I'm a volunteer on their hotline- they are an amazing, all volunteer organization. I know it's a little more controversial than Northwest Harvest, but, hey, you're The Stranger, right?

Posted by jessica | September 21, 2007 3:34 PM

I have done some volunteer work for Central Youth and Family Services and they could always use volunteer AND financial help. They provide a LOT of services for families and kids that haven't had life's luxeries handed to them on a silver platter like my lilly-white lucky ass has.

Posted by longball | September 21, 2007 3:42 PM

why not finish the Vera capital campaign ensuring that young people have a community space for the future? the bulk of their fundraising is done and the amount the Stranger raises in one Strangercrombie would finish it off and allow you all to choose a new charity next year

Posted by call me a snot | September 21, 2007 4:01 PM

I think you should just do NW Harvest again. I know that having them as the charity for the last few years has made me bid a little higher than I otherwise would (or should) have.

Posted by Anna | September 21, 2007 4:11 PM

Arts Corps, Cascade Land Conservancy, IslandWood...

Posted by Virginia | September 21, 2007 4:21 PM

DIVIDE the loot - keep food banks, we all love them, greatly needed. How can you claim any degree of caring and negate food banks?

SECOND I nominate GLESEN - a project that educates in schools about homophobia. Great Washington state project, 200 schools, mostly volunteers, Gay Straight Alliance will change the future - and in the bluntest terms they are anti suicide projects.

Posted by Karla, downtown lady | September 21, 2007 4:25 PM

I like to donate to New Beginnings which is a shelter for battered women and their children. it's really a great group of people :)

Posted by FS | September 21, 2007 4:35 PM

I think food banks are great, and super important, and I agree with Ari and longball-- Central Youth and Family Services and Seattle Young People's Project are both AMAZING agencies that serve our youth (I'm partial to the gangsta-babies), but the most needed and underfunded services in Seattle (and King County, and Washington, and the Pac NW, and the United States of America...) are services offering shelter, support, and resources to victims of domestic violence.

Americans donate far more money to ANIMAL shelters than shelters that provide safe harbor to victims of domestic violence and their children in the most dangerous, lethal situation that they will ever be in. A victim is most likely to be killed in the time immediately after leaving their abuser than any other time, and the need for confidential shelter is critical.

Each day, dozens of victims are turned away from shelters due to a lack of space, and each day victims are killed by their abusers.

In the greater Seattle area, there are only four confidential domestic violence shelters. While each of them do a wonderful job and are doing the best they can with the resources at hand, they are all desperate for funding and space.

I am a huge, huge, huge supporter of DAWN, but there is also New Beginnings, Eastside Domestic Violence, and Catherine Booth House, all of whom would be worthwhile non-profits to support.

Domestic violence services are underfunded by the public, private, and even governmental realms due primarily to the stigma and misconceptions that surround the issue. The Stranger would be both making a huge statement and helping to educate our community by donating the monies from Strangercrombie to a domestic violence service provider.

For more information on domestic violence in Seattle/King County, go here:

No matter what you do, Stranger, please God, please, don't give the money to a "corporate" charity, like Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the YMCA, the YWCA, United Way, etc... Those places are fucking JOKES!


I like the fact it goes to NW Harvest. I know people who would not have had holidays for their kids at all if it wasn't for the services they provide. As much as I am a fan of the arts and other non-profits, you can't really beat feeding homeless people and families. I say we should stick to the good we are doing. Let's not spread ourselves too thin. Also, after four years, isn't it possible they have come to depend on The Stranger donations a little? I'm sure they don't expect it, but not giving them money would be like the first year Grandma didn't send you that $20 on your birthday. You don't expect it, but you knew it was coming. You kind of already have it spent in your head. When it doesn't come, well... it sucks.

Posted by lilblackcat | September 21, 2007 5:02 PM

I second Farestart.

Posted by Gitai | September 21, 2007 5:29 PM

USM, which operates the Teen Feed meal program for homeless youth five nights a week in the U District. They do case management, too.

Posted by John | September 21, 2007 5:38 PM

Richard Pope's county council race

Posted by Aexia | September 21, 2007 5:49 PM

Community for Youth is my cause.

Posted by King Rat | September 21, 2007 6:16 PM

This is an unusually thoughtful Slog conversation, thanks. I'm impressed that so many sloggers are in touch with the local non-profit community.

That being said, I second #7's idea to donate to the Urban Rest Stop. It's a vital service, providing free laundry and restrooms to homeless folks, and it's the only place like it in this whole city. I like Northwest Harvest too, but if you're bringing in 40K, you could easily donate a welcome 10K of it to the URS.

Posted by Gurldoggie | September 21, 2007 6:26 PM

Why not make donate the first $40,000 to NW Harvest and anything raised above that goes to another organization. This challenges affluent, guilt ridden liberals to keep bidding, allows NW Harvest to count on a substantial chunk of change and spreads things around a bitů

Posted by Just an Idea | September 21, 2007 8:35 PM

SafeFutures Youth Center serves immigrant and refugee youth and not only keeps potential gangbangers off the street, it helps them (and their little sisters and brothers) become the leaders of tomorrow. It's an awesome program.

Posted by high point | September 21, 2007 9:16 PM

our future depends upon today's youth learning to destroy malicious ideologies, now.

Posted by tim gage | September 22, 2007 5:13 AM

After reading Janet Poppendieck's book, "Sweet Charity?: Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement," I'm not sure a food bank is the best, most progressive way of using the donations.

She argues that the need for food banks is driven by other factors, such as low wages, unemployment, high housing costs, homelessness, disability and shrinking public-assistance benefits. Instead of this band-aid approach of food banks, she suggests (and I agree) that we should try to end hunger by working for a reformed tax system, affordable housing, a stronger federal safety net and vastly improved public education and training.

I can't summarize her entire book here, but it's worth a read (or even just read the reviews on Amazon - they capture some of her arguments). It really makes you think about whether food banks are helping solve the problem, or allowing the bigger problems to continue.

Posted by Amees | September 22, 2007 6:38 AM

Make a point. Give it to an organization that provides vets returning from Iraq with mental health care.

Otherwise, or any of the member agencies. All great, all collaborating closely to serve homeless kids in the U-District - a rare find.

As for Janet Poppendieck, I haven't read her book but I've heard the argument before. For the folks picking up food, it's not a band-aid. You have to do both, advocate at the federal level for a massive change in spending priorities AND make sure people don't get rickets today.

Posted by jtroop | September 22, 2007 7:20 AM

Art With Heart is a fine group that helps children and young people with art therapy.

Posted by bijoubaby | September 22, 2007 8:58 AM

Planned Parenthood

Posted by Penny L | September 22, 2007 9:21 AM

the service board!

a new summer program in partnership with rockschool that brought together music, activism and social justice education was rolled out this year, a statewide cycling trip for youth will pilot next summer and the two usual community service/skill building/snowboarding programs continue to rock.

disclaimer - i am a board member :)

Posted by josh | September 22, 2007 12:26 PM

#33 makes a great point. Why not match the NW harvest donation from last year and anything over that to someone new? That seems really fair and NWH don't get the shaft.

Posted by lilblackcat | September 22, 2007 6:41 PM

YMCA! A great song goes with a great cause. OR Runner up-- Alliance for Education, public education a must for a great city.

Posted by erin | September 25, 2007 1:13 PM

I'd go for Urban Rest Stop this time - yes, food's first but NW Harvest probably has alot of other funding & support at this point - Next most important thing seems like it would be a bath and clean clothes if you don't have a place to live where you can do that. Just imagine not being able to get clean on a regular basis.
They take donations too - clothes, etc.

Posted by linda | September 25, 2007 1:37 PM

Urban Rest Stop deserves the $. They provide homeless people with showers, toilets & laundry facilities. When you ride the bus, don't you wish everyone had an easy way to stay clean & healthy? Urban Rest Stop makes it so. They also welcome donations of clothes, shampoo, laundry soap, smiles, etc.

Posted by VJ | September 26, 2007 10:58 AM

I'm in with the Urban Rest Stop. A great program for the homeless that actually makes sense!

Posted by Julie | September 26, 2007 3:42 PM


Posted by Eileen | September 28, 2007 10:59 AM

The Urban Rest Stop. It is hard to be healthy and sane without a bathroom, occasional shower and clean clothes.

Posted by lizzie b | September 28, 2007 5:18 PM

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