Thurston County's Hidden Sector

This is your midsummer nonprofit roundup


Lots of local nonprofit news this week, so let's get right to it!

Make Your Vote Count!

Did you get your Thurston County ballot? The primary election ends on Tuesday, August 2, so it's a good time to check the League of Women Voters of Thurston County website for information on candidates.

The Thurston County League of Women Voters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a mission to encourage informed and active participation in government, increase understanding of major public policy issues and influence public policy through education and advocacy. Our Thurston County organization is a volunteer-driven organization with currently over 160 members. Anyone age 16 and over may become a voting member. Click here for more details about the organization. 

And click here to see video Candidate Forums about the primary races for

  • District 22 House Legislative seats,
  • House District 35 Position 2,
  • Congressional District 10, and
  • Secretary of State.

Local Volunteer Opportunities

Relay for Life 

Relay For Life is the world's largest volunteer-based fundraising event and supports the efforts of the American Cancer Society. The Relay for Life in Thurston County will be this Saturday, July 23, from noon to midnight, at North Thurston High School.

Participants and volunteers are still needed for the event, but even if you do not volunteer or participate in the race, everyone is still welcome to attend to cheer for local survivors in the first lap of the day. Caregivers of cancer patients (currently or previously diagnosed) then join the Survivors. In addition to the race, there will be local entertainers and as it gets dark the luminaria bags will surround the track as part of the memorable luminaria ceremony.   Pre-register by clicking here -- and skip the line when you arrive.

Eradicate Yellow Archangel! 

Did you know the invasive plant species Yellow Archangel can be spread through yard waste? To eradicate this and other invasive plant species, the Olympia Parks and Recreation will be hosting a volunteer work party this Saturday, July 23 at Springwood Parcel (formerly Zabel's Rhody Garden) located at 1500 Springwood Ave NE (see map with this story). All current local and state Covid-19 Safety Guidelines will be followed. Be sure to dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes or boots that can get wet and muddy. Volunteers 14 and under must be accompanied by an adult and any youth under 18 years of age without an adult present must have an online waiver signed electronically by a parent/guardian. Please arrive 10 minutes early to park and sign in. For more information, please call 360-753-8365 or email

Olympia Music in the Park and LoveOly SummerFest

The team is looking for volunteers to help at their events. Orientation for Music in the Park will be weekly at 12:30 p.m. at 615 Washington St SE, Olympia, WA 98501 (Sylvester Park) and volunteer orientation for LoveOly Summer Fest will be next Wednesday, July 27, from 12:00 p.m. - 12:45 p.m. The orientation will be recorded and made available for those unable to attend at this time.

For more information on volunteering for the Music in the Park click here,  and for more information on volunteering for LoveOly Summer Fest click here.  

Local Art Events

  • The Olympia Film Society, the Women of Color in Leadership Movement with Media Island International, will be hosting a film screening of Buffalo Soldiers: Fighting On Two Fronts followed by a Q&A with director and producer Dru Hole this Thursday, July 21 at The Capitol Theater located at 206 5th Avenue SE in Olympia. Doors open at 6:30 pm and the film showing will be at 7:00 pm. According to the film description, in 1866, six all-black cavalry and infantry regiments were created after Congress passed the army organization act. They came to be known as Buffalo Soldiers. Buffalo Soldiers: Fighting on Two Fronts explores the often-contradictory role played by the Buffalo Soldiers throughout American history, with particular emphasis on settling the American west. The event is free; however, donations will support The Women of Color in Leadership Movement, a group cultivated as a safe space for women of color to discuss issues, events, and experiences that uniquely affect them. For more information on this event, click here
  • The Percival Plinth Project continues throughout July. The plinths at Percival Landing host a new selection of loaned sculptures by local and regional artists every year. This year, eighteen sculptures have been installed along Percival Landing and are now on display. A community vote is currently being held and the city will purchase the sculpture that receives the most votes for permanent display at a location in Olympia. Sculptures that are not awarded the People's Prize are available for purchase after the exhibition. Public voting takes place during July on Engage Olympia.

 Local Fundraising Effort: Puget Sound Estuarium

Yesterday was the first day of the national 2022 "A Community Thrives" fundraising challenge. This month-long fundraiser supports the Puget Sound Estuarium's mission through a community-supported grant application. A Community Thrives is a grant-making and crowdfunding program from the USA TODAY NETWORK running from July 18 to August 12 of 2022. The initiative is part of the Gannett Foundation and supports nonprofit organizations with projects focused on community building. If the Estuarium can raise $3,000 by August 12 they will qualify to potentially receive grant funding from the pool of 2 million available funds. This year they have applied for funding to support internships which will help grow the organization's service to the south sound communities as well as allow for speakers who can share their expertise through exhibits and programs. For more information on this fundraiser, click here.

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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