Monday, September 13, 2010

The Seattle Foundation Empowers Community with Groundbreaking Giving Site

SEATTLE, Wash. – The Seattle Foundation has kicked off a new era in community philanthropy with a reimagined Seattle Foundation website that opens the doors to the public on years of Foundation research. The site’s robust search tool allows visitors to conduct detailed searches among hundreds of area nonprofits and to make donations directly to them.

“The Seattle Foundation’s mission is to foster a healthy community in King County — and we can only achieve this if everyone in the community is taking part in the work,” said Foundation President and CEO Norman B. Rice (pictured in photo). “The new website is a key component in helping people with their charitable giving by sharing Foundation resources.”

The site makes available for the first time The Seattle Foundation’s internal evaluations of nonprofit organizations, helping people to make the wisest decisions possible with their giving dollars.

At the website’s “Giving Center,” users can search nearly 700 nonprofits, the vast majority in King County, to find groups that best match users’ interests by mission, geography, clients served and other criteria. A search of nonprofits for the topic “housing,” for example, can be refined to organizations specifically aiding disabled clients, on the Eastside, that promote healthy lifestyles.

Historically, the Foundation has helped local philanthropists operate charitable funds worth $100,000 or more. This vital mission continues, and the website is rich with utilities for existing fundholders. But the new also allows any visitor to contribute any amount of money.

“We believe no other charitable site offers such an array of information on potential gift recipients and the needs of a community,” said Jared Watson, The Seattle Foundation’s vice president for grantmaking and knowledge management. With insights from trained staff, the Foundation’s evaluations go beyond simple statistics. The website also provides context from local and national experts on the greatest needs in the community and the strategies to address these needs with the best potential for success.

The new is an asset for the whole community to help residents make informed giving choices — regardless even of whether they make gifts through the Foundation site. The Foundation receives no fee for donations made through the website and collects no information from users.

The site was built by Redmond Technology Partners. It was funded in part by a $250,000 grant from Microsoft.

“The new Seattle Foundation site is a fantastic example of how technology creates a whole new dynamic not just for nonprofits but for the entire local community,” said Akhtar Badshah, Microsoft’s senior director of global community affairs.

Donations can be channeled in several ways. Visitors can give to a specific nonprofit. They can also give to one of several Foundation initiatives to address immediate regional needs. The Building Resilience Initiative, for instance, focuses on those hit hardest by the current economic downturn and helps them get back on the road to independence. The College for Working Adults initiative helps low-income working adults obtain skills training.

Additionally, visitors can donate more generally to one of the issue areas that contribute to a healthy community: basic needs; health and wellness; neighborhoods and communities; economy; arts and culture; education; and environment. Users can also give to domestic organizations working internationally through The Seattle Foundation’s partner, The Seattle International Foundation. Source: Press release

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