Nonprofit Notebook, January 2009

Items for Nonprofit Notebook need to be received by the 15th of the month prior to publication.


Project Homeless Connect seeking volunteers

Bellingham/Whatcom Project Homeless Connect is seeking volunteers for a one-day service-delivery event for people who are homeless locally.

On Jan. 29, about 650 people experiencing homelessness will have access to free and confidential services such as dental, vision screening, mental health and medical services, and housing assistance. The 650 people expected to seek services that day represent about half of the point-in-time count that was conducted in January 2008. Forty percent of those counted are children.

“As members of the medical community, we believe it is important that all adults and children in need of ongoing care receive it,” says Elody Samuelson, Administrator for Northwest Eye Clinic. “Programs like Project Homeless Connect provide a pathway to health care for those most vulnerable in our community.”

The event will be held at the Depot Market Square, The Majestic and the YWCA in Bellingham.


Brooks Manufacturing raises nearly $19,000
for local charities

Brooks Manufacturing set a new record for annual employee fundraising this year, raising nearly $19,000 for local charities. The campaign had 98 percent employee participation.

“Our manufacturing facility has been a part of the Bellingham community for more than 75 years, and in that time we have seen a lot of growth in our community, as well as a lot of need,” said Dwayne Carter, president of Brooks Manufacturing. “We believe very strongly in giving to community-based organizations that represent the most significant needs in our community.”

Brooks directs its charitable giving to a designated list of six agencies: American Red Cross (Mt. Baker Chapter), Boy Scouts of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County, Camp Fire Inc., Catholic Community Services and Whatcom Family YMCA.

Employees can designate which of the six agencies receives their dollars in any combination they choose. Employees may elect to donate to United Way instead if they choose.


Boys & Girls Clubs reaches $3 million in donations

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County has completed Phase I of its capital development campaign, the $4.5 million “Campaign for Kids.”

The centerpiece of the campaign is a new 18,700-square-foot facility to be built in Pioneer Park in Ferndale. Fundraising for the campaign now stands at $3,402,601 pledged or contributed. The campaign runs through December 2009.

“The fundraising climate is very difficult at the moment,” said Executive Director and CEO Lynn Templeton. “However, we are determined to reach and exceed the additional $1.1 million needed in Phase II to complete the campaign.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County was founded in 1946. It is part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America system. The local organization serves 6,300 children and youth in annual membership, athletics and outreach programs. For further information visit or call (360) 738-3808.


Port’s gingerbread contest drew 90 entries

The Holiday Port Festival’s Gingerbread House Contest received 90 entries this year that showed off the spectacular creativity and imagination of local Bellingham and Whatcom County residents.

Ginger creations ranged from traditional houses to a re-creation of the Lord of the Rings – Helm’s Deep battle.

Gingerbread House Contest entries were judged based on presentation, quality of construction, originality and detail and design. The “People’s Choice Award” this year went to Flip Breskin for her re-creation of “Goodnight Moon.”

Most of the gingerbread entries were donated to a silent auction, which raised more than $1,400 for the Mount Baker Chapter of the American Red Cross. In addition, Red Cross volunteers accepted $850 in direct donations at the refreshment table they staffed during the three-day festival. Event patrons also donated 400 pounds of food for the Bellingham Food Bank as part of the festival’s first food drive.


Robertson given “Above & Beyond for Kids” award

Becky Robertson, a Family Services Specialist with the Readiness to Learn Program at the Nooksack Valley School District, was awarded the “Above & Beyond for Kids” award by the Northwest Youth Services.

Five finalists were selected this past spring from more than 50 nominees considered for this award. Persons could be nominated in one of four categories: youth, adult, service club/government/nonprofit and business/corporation. Longevity, impact, innovation and the extent of having gone “above and beyond” for children and youth were the primary evaluation criteria.

Robertson was hired by the Nooksack Valley School District in 1993 as the result of a new program called Readiness to Learn. The program was designed to link schools, families and community resources together in such a way that all students would have the support they needed to be successful in school.


Habitat for Humanity dedication takes place in Sumas

More than 50 people attended the dedication of the homes of Terra Martin and Nathan Hamilton and Jennifer Ness on Front Street in Sumas in December.

Habitat for Humanity works with low-income families to build affordable homes with donations of land, cash, materials and volunteer labor.

Besides acting as developer and general contractor, Habitat for Humanity also finances the homes. As a Christian ministry, Habitat believes in a hand up, not a hand out and promises not to profit from the poor. Habitat sells the home at cost and finances the purchase with a zero percent mortgage.

Habitat will begin its next project in the spring of 2009 on 2nd Street in Sumas. Volunteer and Construction Committee member Bruce Burke has designed a custom duplex to help make two more homes affordable for our neighbors in need.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County or to apply for a home, please call 715-9170 or visit


United Way and Target team up for Share a Tree program

For the 18th consecutive year, Target will be donating fully decorated Christmas trees for United Way to distribute to local community partners and families in need.

With almost 1,700 Target stores contributing more than 5,000 trees nationwide, the estimated value of the donation is over $2.5 million. Trees are donated to United Way to be dispersed to United Way Partner Agencies between Dec. 19 and Dec. 23 and this year the local agencies that will be receiving trees will be the Mount Baker Chapter of the American Red Cross, Visiting Nurse Home Care, and Catholic Community Services.

“United Way and Target have a long history of working together to strengthen our community and improve lives,” said United Way of Whatcom County President Peter Theisen.

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