City Council restores dollars for nonprofit organizations

December 11, 2012

By the numbers

Data from the most recent year available, 2011, illustrates how Issaquah ranks against other King County cities in per capita funding for human services.

Issaquah

  • Human services budget: $222,000
  • Funding formula: 1 percent of general fund
  • Per capita human services funding: $8.22

Bellevue

  • Human services budget: $2,792,312
  • Funding formula: inflation plus population growth
  • Per capita human services funding: $23.01

Bothell

  • Human services budget: $234,500
  • Funding formula: per capita
  • Per capita human services funding: $7

Kenmore

  • Human services budget: $289,000
  • Funding formula: 3 percent of estimated revenues
  • Per capita human services funding: $13.85

Kirkland

  • Human services budget: $571,880
  • Funding formula: per capita
  • Per capita human services funding: $11.52

Redmond

  • Human services budget: $664,235
  • Funding formula: per capita plus $74,500 per year in domestic violence funds
  • Per capita human services funding: $11.35

Sammamish

  • Human services budget: $176,000
  • Funding formula: no formula
  • Per capita human services funding: $4.29

Shoreline

  • Human services budget: $340,307
  • Funding formula: no formula
  • Per capita human services funding: $6.23

Woodinville

  • Human services budget: $66,501
  • Funding formula: no formula
  • Per capita human services funding: $5.86

Source: City of Issaquah

Representatives from a spectrum of organizations — nonprofit human services groups offering affordable housing, safe havens for domestic violence victims, assistance to struggling students and more — successfully lobbied City Council members Dec. 3 to stave off a $48,750 drop in funding for such programs.

The council agreed to allocate $280,750 in the $42 million general fund budget for human services grants, but only after a council committee pushed to increase the amount and local nonprofit organizations pleaded for the council not to eliminate $48,750 in funding.

Grants go to organizations such as Eastside Baby Corner, Friends of Youth and the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank to offer services to residents from Issaquah and the Issaquah School District.

In a 4-3 decision, council members agreed to increase the amount budgeted for human services by $48,750 from the $233,250 the council recommended in earlier budget deliberations. The additional dollars for human services grants comes from the municipal rainy day fund.

Councilwoman Eileen Barber initiated the process to restore the human services funding.

Then, before the split decision, representatives from local human services organizations — including Catholic Community Services, Issaquah Community Services and LifeWire — beseeched the council to restore funds for grants.

“At a time when I see the needs rising among our students, and I see the return on investment for cities in investing in students while they’re still in school, I think it’s a critical time for you to consider being able to support organizations, such as the schools foundation, in retaining our current funding,” Issaquah Schools Foundation Executive Director Robin Callahan said.

Several referenced the Great Recession and the fragile economy recovery in pleas to the council.

“I believe that our nonprofits are still recovering from the recession,” Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank Executive Director Cori Kauk said. “Many of our local nonprofits haven’t rebounded yet and they still need your support. Now is really not a good time for cuts.”

Council President Tola Marts said the city did not intend to undercut human services organizations through the budget reduction.

“In a time when the state and the county are reducing funds — and I realize that puts even more strain on local budgets — I think the intent of the council when we did the budget was that we thought that was a strong position to take,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that it’s been perceived as a Grinchian position.”

The council acts on recommendations from the municipal Human Services Commission. Overall, commissioners received 60 grant applications totaling $366,283 in requests for 2013.

Commission Chairwoman Maggie Baker, disappointed about the proposed reduction in funding, pored over data from the U.S. Census Bureau to better quantify the need in the community.

“I realized that with $47,000 less, we weren’t going to be able to do the right thing for our 1,365 Issaquah neighbors 65 and over who live with at least one disability that keeps them from completing an activity of daily living, such as eating, dressing or bathing,” she said.

Issaquah Democrat Mark Mullet joins state Senate

December 4, 2012

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Madsen (left) administers the oath of office to state Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, in the Senate chamber Nov. 30. Contributed

Issaquah City Councilman Mark Mullet joined the state Senate on Nov. 30 — 45 days before other freshman lawmakers convene in Olympia for the 2013 legislative session.

In a ceremony on the Senate floor, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Madsen administered the oath to Mullet as the Democrat’s family members watched.

Mullet joined the Senate after a bruising contest against Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft to represent the 5th Legislative District — a mishmash between suburban and rural communities stretched between Issaquah and Snoqualmie Pass.

The last senator to represent the district, Maple Valley Republican Cheryl Pflug, resigned from the seat in June to serve on a state board. Sammamish Republican Dino Rossi — senator from the district in the late 1990s and early 2000s — served in the role between Pflug’s resignation and Mullet’s arrival.

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Demand is high at food banks in Issaquah, statewide

December 4, 2012

Demand is high at food banks across Washington, according to the latest figures from the state Department of Agriculture, and officials urged residents to donate to local food assistance programs.

The figures from the state agency show one in five Washington residents visited a food bank at least once during the past year. Between June 2011 and June 2012, officials recorded more than 8.6 million visits to food banks statewide — 500,000 more visits than in the previous year.

The holiday season often focuses attention on the need at the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

Find a list of needs, or donate to the food bank online, at www.issaquahfoodbank.org.

Issaquah Democrat Mark Mullet joins state Senate

November 30, 2012

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Madsen (left) administers the oath of office to state Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, in the Senate chamber Friday. Contributed

NEW — 4:05 p.m. Nov. 30, 2012

Issaquah City Councilman Mark Mullet joined the state Senate on Friday afternoon, 45 days before other freshman lawmakers convene in Olympia for the 2013 legislative session.

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Santa Claus collects gifts at charity-focused cash mob

November 27, 2012

Al Krush returns as Santa Claus for a charity-focused cash mob Dec. 5 at Gilman Village’s White Horse Toys. File

Santa Claus is coming to town — to a cash mob, to be exact.

The next cash mob is due to descend on Gilman Village’s White Horse Toys on Dec. 5, just in time for the pre-Christmas rush. The event is meant to reflect the holiday spirit, because organizers asked cash mob participants to purchase something for themselves, and something extra for charity.

In a cash mob, a group of people descends on a business to buy, buy, buy. The destination is revealed through social media services. Then, the mob pops up at the business to browse and shop.

The 20- and 30-something business leaders in the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce — Young Issaquah Professionals, or YIPPIES for short — modeled the cash mob on similar events elsewhere.

The concept for the upcoming cash mob is BOGO — buy one, give one — and customers can donate toys to the Wounded Warrior Project. The toys then go to children of military personnel killed or wounded in action.

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Issaquah Turkey Trot raises more than $25,000 for food bank

November 27, 2012

Runners set out from the starting line Nov. 22 at the Issaquah Turkey Trot 5K, a holiday fundraiser for the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank. Contributed

For the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank’s largest fundraiser all year, the Issaquah Turkey Trot, Heather Matthews set out to raise $15,000 to stock the shelves.

Instead, in a bountiful Thanksgiving haul, she collected more than $25,000 for the food bank, topping the goal and the previous races last year and in 2010.

On Thanksgiving, before the feast, about 1,500 people joined the Issaquah Turkey Trot 5K to raise money for the food bank and burn some pre-meal calories.

Many participants donned holiday-themed attire, including a pair of runners dressed head to toe as Thanksgiving turkeys.

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Demand is high at food banks in Issaquah, statewide

November 23, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 23, 2012

Demand is high at food banks across Washington, according to the latest figures from the state Department of Agriculture, and officials urged residents to donate to local food assistance programs.

The figures from the state agency show 1 in 5 Washington residents visited a food bank at least once during the past year. Between June 2011 and June 2012, officials recorded more than 8.6 million visits to food banks statewide — 500,000 more visits than in the previous year, according to the figures collected by the agency’s Food Assistance Program.

“These numbers show that, in the coming holiday season, we can expect that food assistance programs will be stretched to meet the need in many communities,” Director Dan Newhouse said in a statement.

The agency’s Food Assistance Program uses state and federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide food and money to food banks, meal programs and tribal voucher programs in Washington.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue launches food, gift drive

November 20, 2012

Eastside Fire & Rescue is joining local businesses for a holiday season food and gift drive set to start on Black Friday.

The agency, Issaquah-based First Due Movers and Fred Meyer plan to collect food, clothing and toys from Nov. 23-25 in Lake Sammamish Center at Fred Meyer, 6100 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E. Items donated during the drive go to the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank and the Mount Si Helping Hand Food Bank in North Bend.

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Kiwanis Club of Issaquah coat drive continues

November 20, 2012

For some people trying to keep the rent paid and the electricity on, the need for a warm coat or new shoes goes to the bottom on the list.

Residents can help by cleaning out their closets and donating new or gently used shoes and coats through the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah’s annual drive.

The coat and shoe drive runs through Nov. 30. All donations go to the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank. Donations should be cleaned before donating. All sizes from toddler to adult are welcome.

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Issaquah cash mob aims to stock food bank

November 13, 2012

The indefatigable team behind recent cash mobs at Issaquah businesses is asking consumers to shop BOGO — buy one and, in a holiday season change-up, give one.

The next cash mob is due to descend on specialty grocer Champion Grocery on Nov. 17, and organizers encourage shoppers to buy something for themselves, and something extra for the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

In a cash mob, a group of people descends on a business to buy, buy, buy. The destination is revealed through social media services. Then, the mob pops up at the business to browse and shop.

Read more

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