In 1985, four young Seattle women, concerned about the plight of underprivileged children, decided to throw a fundraising event to help fight child abuse and neglect. They invited everyone they knew, hoping to raise $5,000 to grant to a local agency working with at-risk children. They were surprised and thrilled when the evening netted $30,000!
So began the opening chapter of Northwest Children’s Fund’s history. Now, more than two decades later, Northwest Children’s Fund will grant close to a million dollars to the most effective programs supporting fragile children and families in our communities. As a dynamic vehicle for community investment in child welfare, NWCF helps donors by directing their dollars to programs that are making an impact in vulnerable children’s lives. To date, NWCF has invested more than $8 million in more than 300 programs.
Board members play a key role in helping to ensure that NWCF distributes its funds to the most effective, innovative programs. Diverse in their backgrounds and professions, these dynamic, compassionate individuals are united in their concern for children who need our help the most and in their dedication to excellent stewardship of our donors’ gifts. They work passionately to raise funds and spend considerable time being educated and trained on the key risk factors for child abuse and neglect, including domestic violence, homelessness, the stress of poverty, social isolation and severe mental health problems.
With a solid understanding of the issues surrounding child abuse and neglect, board members dive into a thorough grant-reviewing process, which includes site visits to see the inner workings of each organization. For many board members, observing first-hand how at-risk children are being helped inspires them to work even harder to raise funds for these stellar organizations, many of which run on a shoestring budget.
While the needs of children living in crisis are daunting, child abuse and neglect are preventable and treatable, and our region has outstanding organizations aimed at helping fragile children and families heal and move forward. Here are just a few of the amazing programs NWCF funded last winter:
- University District Youth Center provides critical services for homeless and street-involved youth.
- Amara’s excellent adoption program creates permanence for special-needs children.
- Mockingbird Society offers groundbreaking work in foster care system development.
- Pediatric Interim Care Center gives intensive specialized care to drug-exposed newborns.
- Encompass works with families in crisis via an innovative parenting program to strengthen the parent-child relationship.
If you’re interested in joining NWCF in supporting at-risk children, there are many ways to help. Join our board, donate your time or money — no matter how you contribute, you’ll be helping make the future brighter for the most fragile members of our community.
The Northwest Children’s Fund is a ParentMap “Giving Together” partner. For more information, visit www.nwcf.org .
NWCF: Seven ways to help change young lives
- Make a contribution at www.nwcf.org.
- Host a small fundraiser at your home. (Call NWCF — they can help.)
- Donate items and services to NWCF’s annual dinner auction gala.
- Attend the annual dinner auction gala — and bring your friends!
- Join NWCF members on a site visit to one of their prospective grant recipients.
- Encourage your company to sponsor one of NWCF’s events.
- Talk to NWCF about becoming a board volunteer.