Eastside Baby Corner hosts its first-ever fundraiser

November 9, 2010

By Laura Geggel

Karen Rubin, an Eastside Baby Corner volunteer, stacks a donated shipment of new child car seats. In 2009, an average of 25 car seats were distributed each week. Contributed

For the first time in its 20-year history, Eastside Baby Corner is having a fundraiser for itself.

Karen Ridlon, a pediatric nurse, founded the nonprofit organization in 1990, using her house as a donation bank. The baby clothes, toys, shoes and bikes soon overtook her kitchen and dining room. Rowley Properties helped her acquire a facility, and the community has kept her awash in donations for children up to age 12 in the 20 years since.

But some donations were harder to come by, like car seats, cribs, beds, diapers, baby formula and baby food. When the Eastside Baby Corner board approved its three-year plan in 2008, it determined that the organization needed to find adequate and sustainable funding sources to buy the supplies that were in constant demand.

Through much planning, the board decided to start an annual luncheon to raise money and awareness for Eastside Baby Corner.

The free luncheon and fundraiser will feature Bill Grace, a social justice activist and traveling teacher who founded the Center for Ethical Leadership in Seattle. Grace directs Common Good Works and speaks at seminars across the world.

The nonprofit has set a goal of raising $50,000, director of development and community relations Helen Banks Routon said.

She thanked the luncheon’s four sponsors: Swedish Medical Center, Seattle Children’s Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center and Clark Nuber, a Bellevue accounting and consulting business.

Last year, Eastside Baby Corner distributed more than 40,000 items amounting to almost $3 million worth of goods.

Every week, “about 500 kids are positively impacted,” Routon said.

The nonprofit does not work directly with families, but with 120 provider partners. Each week, the provider can request up to 20 items, which it can then give to local families. Eastside Baby Corner also works with food banks, including the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.

Donations from the luncheon will pay for supplies.

“It’s a great way to mark our 20 years,” Routon said. “It’s a great way to build our resources so we can meet the needs of the children in our community.”

If you go

Eastside Baby Corner luncheon

  • 11:30 a.m. Nov. 15
  • Hilton Bellevue
  • 300 112th Ave. S.E., Bellevue
  • To register, e-mail events@babycorner.org or go to www.babycorner.org by Nov. 10. The website also accepts tax-deductible donations.
  • To donate new or gently used items, go to Eastside Baby Corner, 1510 N.W. Maple St., from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Mondays, 9-11 a.m. Thursdays or 9 – noon Saturdays.

Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 241, or lgeggel@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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