Browsed by
Tag: Charities

CFD Masquerade Ball Charity Gala at Capitol Oct. 22 ?>

CFD Masquerade Ball Charity Gala at Capitol Oct. 22


Secretary Wyman and others at the 2015 CFD Masquerade Ball. (Photo courtesy CFD)

If you like dressing in gala gowns and tuxedos, wearing masks reminiscent of medieval masquerade balls, dancing the night away in the Washington’s Capitol Building, casino game time, art exhibits, silent auctions and beer and wine, then you definitely want to be at the 5th Annual Combined Fund Drive Masquerade Ball Charity Gala.

The Washington State Combined Fund Drive (CFD) is hosting its annual event in Olympia Saturday, Oct. 22, from 7 to 11 p.m.

“The CFD Masquerade Ball has it all,” says Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “Who doesn’t want to dance the night away in the State Capitol? Every floor in the building will have exhibits and entertainment. Hors d’oeuvres are being served by top chefs in our state. It’s truly a very fun event, and the best thing about it is that all proceeds go to charities.”

The CFD is Washington state employees’ charitable giving program and benefits more than 2,900 charities not only on the local level, but also statewide, nationally and globally. Employees, both active and retired, may choose to donate to their designated charities through payroll deduction, either as a one-time gift or on a monthly basis.

“The CFD charitable giving program in Washington is one of the best in the country,” Wyman said. Since 1984, more than $110 million has been raised for charities through the CFD.

“This will be a night to remember,” Wyman added. “Each year our event grows in attendance and activities. This is shaping up to be the best one yet.”

The program is partnering with volunteers in Spokane to bring the ball to the eastern side of the state. The inaugural Spokane Masquerade Ball Charity Gala is Saturday, Oct. 29, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Lincoln Center in Spokane.

Both events are open to the public and tickets are $50 per person or $75 per couple in advance. If purchasing at the door, tickets are $65 per person.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go here.

Reminding people to “Give Smart” to charity ?>

Reminding people to “Give Smart” to charity

dollarsignSecretary of State Kim Wyman and Attorney General Bob Ferguson are reminding Washingtonians to make smart choices when giving money to charity and avoid unscrupulous solicitors during the upcoming holidays and afterward.

The two statewide officials who deal most closely with charities are also sharing tips on how to “Give Smart.”

Says Wyman:

“Washington residents are so generous and caring. Whether it was the Oso tragedy last year or the wildfires throughout much of our state this summer, many of us give money to help those in need, here or around the world. Unfortunately, scammers can victimize donors if they aren’t careful and do their homework before giving. Our goal is to help people give smart and avoid being ripped off.”

Says Ferguson:

“As you look to provide assistance to help those in need, first investigate the charity to understand how your hard-earned dollars will be used. A little research can go a long way to avoiding being scammed. If you are scammed or suspect a scam, file a complaint with my office. I won’t tolerate crooks who prey upon the generosity of Washingtonians to make a quick buck.”

Ferguson said there are several common-sense ways to “Give Smart” and avoid being scammed by those seeking donations:

  • Don’t give in to high-pressure solicitations that demand you make an instant commitment.
  • Do your research before giving.
  • Check to see if the charity is registered with the SOS at its Charities Program website. If the organization is registered, you can review a summary of its tax status and financial records. If the organization is not registered, or you would like further information, contact the SOS Charities Program at 1-800-332-4483.
  • Check the charity’s rating by Better Business Bureau at More resources for donors can be found here.
  • Call the charity directly to make sure it has authorized the solicitor to collect donations on its behalf.

Our Charities Program has released the latest figures in its Commercial Fundraiser Activity Report. The report spotlights recent financial information for commercial fundraisers who solicit or collect donations on behalf of their charity clients. The causes vary widely and include police, firefighter and veteran organizations, medical research, animal welfare, civil liberties, and the environment.

Overall in 2015, charities that used commercial fundraisers received an average of 52 percent of contributions, slightly higher than the 48 percent found in the 2014 report. As usual, the (more…)

Wyman & Ferguson: Don’t get scammed when giving to charity ?>

Wyman & Ferguson: Don’t get scammed when giving to charity

Kim with KOMO's Connie Thompson

KOMO-TV’s Connie Thompson interviews Secretary Wyman.

With the holidays approaching, commercial fundraisers will ask for donations they say will go to charities. But Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Attorney General Bob Ferguson are urging Washingtonians to think before they give.

The two statewide officials spent Thursday morning doing TV and radio interviews to share tips — and warnings — on how to give wisely during the holiday season and beyond, and how to beware of unscrupulous fundraising.

Said Wyman:

“Washingtonians are very generous and big-hearted. As we were reminded after the Oso tragedy last spring and the wildfires in north-central Washington last summer, many of us give money to help those in need, whether it’s here or around the world. Unfortunately, scammers can victimize people if donors aren’t careful and do their homework before they give. We want to help people avoid being ripped off.”

Added Ferguson:

“Charity scams increase during the holidays. It is important to exercise caution and make sure your money helps those who truly need it.”

The Secretary of State’s Charities Program  released the latest figures in its Commercial Fundraiser Activity Report. The report can be seen here. Some takeaways:

  • Charities that used commercial fundraisers received an average of 48 percent of contributions, slightly higher than the 46 percent found in the 2012 and 2013 reports but lower than 56 percent reported in 2011.
  • Eight fundraisers returned more than 80 percent of total contributions to their charity clients, but 22 returned less than 20 percent of the funds raised to their clients.
  • More than $572 million was raised in Washington and elsewhere by the 129 million commercial fundraisers included in the report, about $50 million more than the amount for the period ending last December.
  • There currently are about 10,300 charities registered in Washington. Of those, 632 report using paid fundraising services.

Here is a link showing the report’s history.

The officials advise consumers to contact potential charities directly. For more information on finding charities, visit the SOS charity lookup here.  You can also contact the OSOS Charities Hotline at 1-800-332-4483. If a consumer believes they have been scammed, contact the AGO at 1-800-551-4636.

Here are ways to avoid getting scammed by those seeking donations:
•    Ask the caller to send written information about the organization.
•    Beware if the caller offers to send a courier to collect your donation immediately.
•    Don’t give in to high-pressure solicitations that demand an instant commitment. Just hang up!
•    If you decide to donate, write a check and make it payable to the charity.
•    Never send cash or give your credit card or bank account number.
•    Don’t be fooled by a name. Some organizations use similar-sounding names, or names that closely resemble those of respected, well-established charities. Be sure to check them out.

Supporters can GiveBIG to WTBBL! ?>

Supporters can GiveBIG to WTBBL!

Give Big

Supporters of the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library have a chance to put their money where their hearts are by donating to WTBBL during GiveBIG, a one-day online charitable giving event that runs Tuesday from midnight to midnight.

Last year’s GiveBIG campaign, organized by The Seattle Foundation, raised $11.1 million from 30,000 donors.

“This is WTBBL’s third year participating in GiveBig and we are thankful for support from donors and The Seattle Foundation,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “Last year WTBBL raised $5,000, and our goal for this year is $6,500.  Your donations benefit patrons all over Washington, ranging in age from birth to 100-years-plus.  WTBBL’s patrons are veterans, students, parents, workers and seniors.  They are your friends, family and neighbors!  Help them and WTBBL by donating.”

Each credit card donation made to WTBBL anytime on Tuesday will receive a prorated portion of a Seattle Foundation $1 million matching funds pool.

Here are examples of how a donation to WTBBL through GiveBIG can help:

  • $10 can buy a digital cartridge for an audio book
  • $35 can produce an audio book
  • $75 can produce a braille book

To support WTBBL Tuesday, go here. Can’t donate online or have questions? Call David on Tuesday at (206) 615-0417 or (800) 542-0866 and we can process your credit card donation between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Also check out WTBBL’s GiveBiG profile page.

WTBBL is part of the Washington State Library, which is a division of the Office of Secretary of State.

Philippines typhoon relief: Give wisely! ?>

Philippines typhoon relief: Give wisely!

Philippines typhoon

The widespread  devastation caused by typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines last weekend has left an estimated 600,000 displaced and needing relief now.

Many Washingtonians are looking for ways to donate money or goods to help victims. But before you give, the Office of Secretary of State wants to make sure you check out a charity fully before you donate!

Unfortunately, there are plenty of unscrupulous people who use tragedy as a chance to scam generous people of their money.

If you are solicited to help victims in the Philippines, make sure it’s an organization registered here in Washington. Any group that fundraises in the state must register with our Charities Program. You can check our online database here.

Some quick tips for wise giving: Always ask questions, verify the information, and don’t be fooled even if the name sounds like a real charity or cause.

More information about wise giving here.

Avoiding storefront solicitor scams ?>

Avoiding storefront solicitor scams


Secretary Wyman is teaming up with Attorney General Bob Ferguson to warn consumers individuals who solicit donations near retail stores on behalf of charities.

The solicitors are known to ask for charity donations outside of retail stores, often setting up a table at a store entrance or exit. They ask for small cash, check, debit or credit card donations. In most instances, the solicitors will offer small trinkets for a donation. They state that donations will go toward various charitable purposes, such as helping sick or disabled children, animals, battered women, or to support well-known charitable organizations.

The AGO Consumer Protection Division and the OSOS Charities Program have reason to believe the solicitors personally pocket most of the money instead of giving it to the intended charity.

“Unfortunately, not all solicitors are reputable,” said Ferguson. “Check before giving to a charity so you can confirm your money is going to help a good cause, not line someone’s wallet.”
“These solicitors are taking money away from legitimate charities, so we want citizens and retailers to be aware of this emerging problem and avoid being scammed,” Wyman said.  (more…)

Spotlight Charity: Consejo Counseling ?>

Spotlight Charity: Consejo Counseling

(Image courtesy of Consejo)

In 1978, Consejo Counseling & Referral Service was founded in response to a lack of culturally appropriate behavioral health resources for the low-income Latino community in Western Washington.  Over the course of more than 30 years, Consejo has expanded to include a large variety of services. Consejo’s mission is to provide a continuum of behavioral health, substance abuse and domestic violence services to individuals and families across Washington to improve the quality of their lives and empower clients to participate in their communities at their highest level of functioning. Consejo also provides award-winning youth services, HIV/AIDS prevention and case management, and transitional housing programs. To check out the complete list, visit

Consejo incorporates the rich and colorful culture and history of the Latino community into their programs in order to provide services that are truly in touch with the population they serve. All of Consejo’s direct service staff are bilingual, which helps Consejo meet the linguistic and cultural needs of their clients. With the help of their culturally-competent and committed staff, Consejo fosters a welcoming and safe environment for the 4,100 clients they assist annually.

Consejo seeks to provide programs and treatment plans that are both versatile and effective in order to empower their clients and help them to heal and grow. One unique method employed by Consejo is art therapy. Art is multifaceted and can be expressed in countless ways, which makes it a valuable therapeutic tool. Consejo provides art therapy sessions to around 160 behavioral health clients each week, many of whom have experienced profound change.

One of these clients is Luis*, who was dealing with depression when he began art therapy sessions as part of his treatment plan. Not only did art therapy help Luis combat his depression, but he also discovered that he had extraordinary artistic talent. Luis learned to create yarn paintings using a technique traditionally practiced by the Huichol Indians of Central Mexico. Over the course of Luis’ treatment, he completed six large yarn paintings, which he has donated to Consejo. His stunning Aztec Calendar yarn painting can be seen on the left.

Luis’ story is just one among many of the remarkable tales of transformation and recovery that Consejo’s clients have experienced. The incredible services that Consejo continues to provide to people like Luis depend largely upon the generous support of your community. If you would like to contribute to the positive change and empowerment cultivated by Consejo, read on about how to get involved!


Join Consejo’s mailing/email list, follow them on Twitter @ConsejoWa and “Like” them on Facebook to stay in touch and learn about their work. Visit their facebook page at

Attend an Event:

Did you enjoy the beautiful artwork by Luis above? Would you like a chance to see it in person? Well, look no further, because Consejo is hosting an upcoming event, Adelante: a Consejo Community Celebration, on April 25th at which Luis will be speaking! There will also be music, art, food and fun! For details, visit RSVP to

If you can’t make it to Adelante, check out Consejo’s event page at to find out what other events are in the works.


Dedicated volunteers are an integral part of Consejo and there are a wide range of areas in which you can help! To learn more about volunteering with Consejo and to find out about current volunteer opportunities, visit


If you are interested in donating to Consejo, there are many options for submitting your donation. To view each way to give, visit If you work in the private sector and are interested in workplace giving, visit for more information.

If you are a public employee and wish to contribute directly, sign up for payroll deduction at and look up Consejo Counseling by their CFD #: 0337159

*Name has been changed to protect the client’s privacy.

Spotlight Charity: Live United in Whatcom County ?>

Spotlight Charity: Live United in Whatcom County

Photo courtesy of United Way of Whatcom County

If you know anything about charities you have probably heard of United Way. Over the course of the 20th century this charitable organization has become deeply rooted in communities across Washington and the United States. Because United Way recognizes that local problems need local solutions, each branch independently develops programs that best suit the needs of the communities they serve. Every United Way throughout Washington goes above and beyond to support our communities statewide, but today the spotlight shines in particular on United Way of Whatcom County.

For over 50 years, United Way of Whatcom County has played a fundamental role in community-building. This important charity believes that lasting solutions require active engagement from the grassroots level and has made their mission “to increase the organized capacity for individuals in Whatcom County to care for one another.”  They are currently galvanizing support for three major social issues: Education, Income, and Health. Increasing high-school graduation rates, helping support low-income families, and expanding affordable access to basic health care services are all specific goals on which they are focused. To meet their ambitious goals, United Way of Whatcom County rallies local charitable organizations, rounds up volunteers, organizes fundraising events and opportunities, and advocates awareness. They are dynamic and innovative, but also realistic when brainstorming methods to tackle these important social issues.

United Way of Whatcom County is committed to transparency and good governance, which is why they are incorporated and administered by a group of local volunteers. Another volunteer committee of 40 to 60 individuals oversees the allocation of United Way’s Safety Net Fund by conducting an in-depth analysis of community needs and deciding how donor dollars are to be best invested. Last year alone the Safety Net Fund impacted the lives of over 150,000 people in Whatcom County. The funds were put towards teaching critical preparatory skills to over 3,000 children, helping over 15,000 people acquire housing and other basic goods, and assisting over 55,000 people in gaining access to essential health services. These incredible numbers provide a great example of the huge impact charitable giving has on Washington communities and speaks to the effectiveness of United Way of Whatcom County’s efforts.

Another of United Way of Whatcom County’s fantastic programs is their Workplace Giving Campaign, which gets local businesses and their employees directly involved in community-building and charitable giving. More than 450 businesses and organizations throughout Whatcom County conduct workplace giving campaigns and in recent years more than $11 million has been raised for charity!

Workplace Giving is an easy, affordable and safe way to make donations to your favorite charities. United Way educates businesses and their employees about charitable giving and helps them set up a Workplace Giving program that most appropriately fits their needs. Many organizations have a payroll deduction option in which employees can have their donations conveniently taken out of their paychecks each month. In addition to payroll deduction, other exciting fundraising and awareness events help to spread the word and build enthusiasm. Workplace Giving has been hugely successful, not only in raising funds for charity, but also in bringing people together in a work environment and getting businesses involved in supporting their community.

United Way is a unique organization with a huge heart that continues to make an extraordinary impact on the lives of millions of people across the nation and the world. United Way of Whatcom County and the goals they continue to achieve are a shining example of this success. Any branch of United Way would not be able to operate, however, without the help of dedicated individuals, so if you want to make a difference in your community read on to find out how to become involved!

Get Involved!

Do you live in Whatcom County? Visit to learn more about getting involved with your county’s United Way!

If you don’t live in Whatcom County, visit and enter your zip code at the top right corner to find your local branch of United Way.

Start a Workplace Giving Campaign:

If you are an employee or business owner and you want to help build your community, connect with your co-workers, and donate to your favorite charities, contact your local United Way for more information about how to start a Workplace Giving Campaign at your place of employment! More information can be found at the United Way of Whatcom County website:

If you don’t live in Whatcom County, but are interested in starting a Workplace Giving Campaign, visit


Donations are a vital part of successful community-building and United Way of Whatcom County relies on the support of faithful donors to achieve their community’s goals. If you would like more information about giving, visit

If you are a public employee and wish to contribute directly, sign up for payroll deduction at and look up United Way of Whatcom County by their CFD #: 0316739

If you do not live in Whatcom County and you would like to donate to your local United Way, visit to search for your community branch.


United Way counts on committed volunteers to complete a broad range of duties. To learn more about volunteer opportunities with United Way of Whatcom County visit

If you do not live in Whatcom County, visit

Spotlight Charity: Summit Assistance Dogs ?>

Spotlight Charity: Summit Assistance Dogs

Photo courtesy of Summit Assistance Dogs

Opening a door. Turning on a light. Picking up a dropped dish towel. Most of us complete these daily activities without a second thought. But for those living with disabilities, these tasks can be difficult and sometimes even impossible without additional assistance.

There are currently over 55 million people in the United States living with disabilities, some requiring help from a caregiver. However, there is an empowering alternative for those who live with disabilities that often eliminates the need for a caregiver: to be partnered with an assistance dog.

Assistance dogs transform the lives of those with disabilities by increasing their level of autonomy, boosting their confidence, and providing unconditional love. Unfortunately, the waiting time to receive an assistance dog is currently between two and five years—a very long time for someone in need.

In 2000, in response to this high demand for assistance dogs, Sue Meinzinger founded Summit Assistance Dogs, a non-profit charity based in Anacortes that trains highly skilled assistance dogs for (more…)

Spotlight Charity: Redeeming Soles ?>

Spotlight Charity: Redeeming Soles

Photo Courtesy of “Redeeming Soles”

Scott Sowle was homeless. And in need of shoes. Or more particularly, a good pair of work boots. He had procured a temporary job in day labor, but without suitable footwear he was unable to take it. The scarcity of shoes among the homeless was a trend Scott witnessed regularly during his time living on the streets in four major cities across the United States. And lack of footwear, Scott quickly realized, is also a significant and often overlooked barrier to employment.

While working to overcome his drug and alcohol addiction, Scott ended up in Seattle volunteering at the Union Gospel Mission, which provides food, shelter and long-term recovery care to Seattle’s homeless. Scott was disturbed by the consistent lack of footwear worn by new arrivals to the Mission. He frequently observed men arriving in badly tattered socks, with cardboard on their feet held together by duct tape, and even barefoot. In addition to resulting in serious health problems, Scott knew that without shoes, employment opportunities would diminish tremendously for these men.

During Scott’s volunteer work, a homeless, barefoot man came to the Mission with size-14 feet. Scott went to find him a pair of shoes from their stock of donated footwear, but found that not only were there no size-14 shoes, there were no more shoes at all! Scott contacted other charitable organizations in an attempt to find shoes for the homeless man, but to no avail. The shortage of footwear was a common problem for every organization he contacted. Additionally, Scott realized, most organizations that assist the homeless have various responsibilities and limited resources and are unable to focus solely on acquiring shoes.

This experience inspired Scott to take action.  Making sure the Mission’s shoe shelves were stocked became a part of his own recovery program and with the help of local churches, schools, and businesses Scott began to set up successful shoe donation drives around Seattle. Initially, Scott would ride his bike to pick up and deliver the donated shoes to other social service (more…)