Raising Funds for Freedom Project Seattle

FPSlogo2016In honor of GiveBIG Tuesday, here’s an outstanding example of Paid Time-On. If you’re unaware, each one of our employees gets 40 hours a year of paid time to volunteer at causes they choose. It is one of our most-loved perks and a finalist for GeekWire‘s Perk of the Year in 2014.

“Paid Time-On is an amazing benefit,” says Peace, Doer Team Manager “I sit on the board for an understaffed nonprofit and they often need us to pitch in work hours. I never thought an employer would reward me for my volunteer service.”

Peace is on the board for Freedom Project Seattle, a nonprofit that undermines the industrial prison complex by reducing recidivism. Recidivism is the rate at which a previously incarcerated person returns to prisons. Researchers at the University of Washington and Seattle University have not only proven Freedom Project Seattle programs reduce recidivism, they also save Washington State five million dollars a year in taxpayer money.

Peace is using Paid Time-On to run an online fundraising event for Freedom Project Seattle in partnership with the Seattle Foundations’ #GiveBig day. One of their major donors has offered a $30,000 matching grant that Peace will try to galvanize the internet to match. Peace has created her own personal matching grant and our blog readers can join the fun. To participate, just write BPT in the comments of the donation form.

Peace offers, “If I can get 100 of my friends, family and peers to donate to Freedom Project Seattle, I will match their donations up to a thousand dollars. Donate a dollar if that’s what you can afford or $15 to celebrate our 15th anniversary. My goal: I want a hundred new people to begin to know our work.”

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Compassion Day at Pasado’s Safe Haven

Group3-Pasados (1) Cropped-01-1Pig oinks. Donkey brays. Pony whinnies. As an animal-friendly office, we’re pretty used to dogs (and sometimes cats) running a bit amuck, but a few weeks ago we spent our workday with animals of a different sort (or snort).

Our crew used a few hours from our paid time-on benefit at Pasado’s Safe Haven, an animal sanctuary sprawling over 85-acres in Sultan, Washington. Named after a beloved donkey who was sadly tortured and killed by a group of teenage boys, Pasado’s mission is to end animal cruelty. The organization provides rehabilitation, housing and kindness to neglected, abused and discarded animals.

Pasado’s also advocates for better animal protection laws and encourages the public to make choices that will abate cruelty:

  • Reduce or eliminate meat and dairy consumption. As more people forgo meat, more lives are saved. According to the Pasado’s brochure, “from 2007-2014 nearly 400 million fewer animals were killed for food.”
  • Adopt, don’t shop for all animals, including egg-laying chickens. See some of the animals up for adoption.
  • Spay and neuter pets.
  • Look for the leaping rabbit symbol on cosmetics and household products to ensure it was not tested on animals.

Blonde-Goat-Pasados

We made new friends while touring the grounds. Priscilla, the potbelly pig greeted us by pushing her snout into our hands. (She has since found her forever home.) We snuggled kittens in Kitty City and played with pups in Dog Town. We gave gregarious goats Gary and Chloe behind-the-ear scratches and also met a pair of six-month-old sows with a penchant for untying shoelaces. A staff member explained that at six months, these wonderful creatures would typically be headed to slaughter. Instead, they were rooting around an expansive enclosure in bright afternoon sunlight, happy as can be.

After the tour, it was time to dig in and work. Pasado’s, a nonprofit with a small staff needs volunteers to help maintain the grounds. We pulled weeds and clipped blackberry branches, cleaned out the healing barn and spiffed up the welcome center. Messy work, but the hours flew by and we even got to revisit Kitty City for a second round of cat cuddles.

Our Compassion Day came to a close too quickly and we were sad to leave. The animals we met remain fresh in our minds and some of us have since changed habits to diminish animal cruelty. We’re sure we’ll return, as there’s always more work to be done.

Thank you Pasado’s for introducing us to your very special residents.

 

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Big Stair Climb Fundraiser for Cancer

big climb 2014Exhilarating, overwhelming, inspiring and easier than you think. That’s my experience of the Big Climb, Seattle’s annual fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. On March 23, we Brown Paper Ticketeers were among 6,000 climbers culminating months of fundraising with the 1,311 stair ascent to the top of Seattle’s tallest building. Our team’s average climb time was 22 minutes and we have raised $4,251.11.

The LLS funds research and provides resources for patients and families coping with blood cancers. Some of the climbers are survivors and the rest are friends, relatives, general health nuts and other supporters. Climbing waves embark every 15 minutes all day. Between the physical crush of so many people milling around on event day and the emotional crush of why we gather, stairs themselves almost seem trivial.

Big Climb 2014 3This was my 3rd year taking the challenge. A few minutes of leisure riding the escalator from the check-in level to the Columbia Tower entrance. A moment of fresh air as we exit the building to enter the fire escape stairwell. Then it’s on. The first few flights pass quickly with an adrenaline rush. Then crowds begin to thin. It’s risky to count the floors as you climb or take a break. You share knowing glances and quick words of encouragement with strangers as you go, and a light-headed sense of accomplishment when you make it to the top. Every floor landing has posters of loved ones who passed away, which is enough to keep you going no matter how much your calves burn. On a clear day, a gorgeous view greets you from the 73rd floor observation deck. 788 vertical feet of stairs. Worth every minute and every dollar to give hope to cancer patients and their families.

Post by Erika Harder, Brown Paper Tickets advanced client service specialist. Erika and colleague Stephanie each used 1 hour of Brown Paper Tickets paid time on. What’s that? Part of our company’s not-just-for-profit business model includes 40 hours of paid time annually (for all 85 employees) to serve nonprofits.

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