Serve Washington, local nonprofit highlights, and nonprofit needs this week


Did you notice that Sunday was September 11? This used to be one of the busiest days of the year for me ever since the Points of Light Foundation designated 9/11 as a National Day of Service, a way of turning tragedy into a day of remembrance and service. Here in Washington, Serve Washington coordinates these activities. If you participated in a volunteer event this past weekend, Serve Washington invites you to share your project's photos, videos, and stories on your social media platforms by tagging them with #WeServeWA.

Serve Washington receives $21.3 million in federal grants to support 1,490 AmeriCorps members statewide

Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Serve Washington, the state’s commission on national and community service, was awarded $21.3 million in federal AmeriCorps funding, which will place 1,490 AmeriCorps members statewide. For those who may not know, AmeriCorps is a national community service program. AmeriCorps members serve directly with nonprofit organizations to tackle areas including but not limited to economic opportunity, healthy futures, environmental stewardship, disaster services, education, and the needs of veterans and military families. Over the next year, in Washington state, these AmeriCorps members will earn up to a combined $9 million in education awards. Members will receive approximately $6,495 each through an AmeriCorps Segal Education Award after they complete 1,700 hours of service to pay for college or pay off student loans. If you are interested in participating in this program, click here.

Celebrate your favorite nonprofit

South Sound Magazine is working on its upcoming philanthropy issue and is soliciting ideas from favorite Washington-based nonprofits that deserve our time and donations. If you would like to contribute your suggestion, click here.  

Upcoming nonprofit events

  • When I first started this column, I said that I would be showcasing all nonprofits, not just those with 501c3 designation, and that includes trade associations that are usually designated 501c6 (still a nonprofit). The Olympia Master Builder’s Tour of Homes is happening this Saturday, September 17, and Sunday, September 18. According to their Executive Director, Angela White, “this is a perfect opportunity to see, in person, the beautiful craftsmanship of remodel projects and new builds in our community. In addition, participants will be able to meet the teams behind the projects and ask questions”. For tour information and details, click here.
  • The first Tenino Railroad Day will be held this Saturday, September 17, at the Tenino Depot Museum and adjacent Tenino City Park. The event will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony to signal (ha, ha – a little train humor) the reopening of a caboose at the Tenino Depot Museum. For more details on the caboose project as well as Tenino Railroad Day, click here.
  • The Puget Sound Estuarium is celebrating the end of summer with a benefit concert at Boston Harbor Marina. This Saturday, September 16th. The Jacked Lords, a local surf-rock band, will be featured. For more details, click here.
  • Olympia Salmon Run is currently on exhibition at The Olympia Center, promoting dialogue about the importance of salmon to our community. According to their website, salmon is a serious issue in the Northwest: our heritage and our children's inheritance. These ten fish, created by local artists, represent our hopes and concerns for this important resource. For more details, click here.

Volunteers and other needs

While volunteering and monetary contributions are how most of us support our favorite nonprofits, you can also show your support by donating items. Dispute Resolution Center of Thurston County (DRC) recently sent its supporters an update on their Capacity-Building Initiative, which recently passed the mid-point of the three-year effort. As part of the report, they identified some tangible needed items. According to the report, “DRC requires more technology and remote/virtual services to provide online services:

  • We currently use six Zoom licenses to support our operations, and sometimes, even that is not enough
  • We must use a confidential online document signing service to handle both agreements to mediate and final agreements, which requires an annual subscription
  • Communication with clients is critical; we are finding more and more do not respond to email and need reminders and other information shared via text, which requires another cloud-based service subscription.
  • Recent upgrades in our phone system, network, security firewall, software, and hardware have indicated that we need onsite, real-time IT support
  • Our systems must operate multiple programs at once, including high-bandwidth video calls – therefore, we need additional high-capacity computers with more memory, RAM, and faster processors.”

If you would like to contribute to this project, click here to contact.

Soliciting your ideas

If you know of a nonprofit that is doing something great, celebrating a success, needs some outstanding volunteers, or hosting an event, let me know! This column (aside from a little education) celebrates nonprofits!

Mary Beth Harrington, CVA (Certified Volunteer Administrator) lives in Tumwater. She travels the country speaking at conferences and to individual organizations articulating issues facing nonprofits. Send your ideas to her at


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