Paid Time-On: I Power KEXP

KEXP_Seattle_VolunteerIn the last 6 years, Brown Paper Tickets has donated over 400 employee hours to the local, listener-powered radio station KEXP. Employees can spend up to 40 hours a year volunteering for whatever causes they wish and KEXP is a favorite among staff. One team member gives a first-hand account of volunteering at KEXP.

My first experience with KEXP happened on a whim. It was 2012, I was in film school, and had a writing assignment due in the morning—the finalized opening scene to a script I had just begun. I had already outlined what was soon to be a truly awful, overused plot, the kind that seems genius and groundbreaking when you explain it to your cat after four cups of coffee and minimal sleep. So naturally, instead of writing, I was scrolling through Facebook.

My friend shared a live performance of the artist Grimes. When I pressed play, I heard DJ Cheryl Water’s voice for the first time, introducing the artist before she began. The performance was simple, captivating and executed completely from the ground where Grimes perched, surrounded by her instruments, a cup of coffee, and a brightly patterned rug. After watching a dozen more artists I adore perform at KEXP (thanks to their YouTube channel), it was safe to say I was hooked.

I moved to Seattle in the spring of 2016. One day, on-air, Troy Nelson mentioned that Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires were scheduled to do a free-to-the-public, in-studio session, limited to a small amount of lucky attendees. There was so much interest in the performance that they moved it into the main gathering space. KEXP played the first song I had ever heard by the infectious Charles Bradley, and I knew I had to attend. I was among a sea of people who came out to watch Charles and his Extraordinaires. He emerged in a bedazzled suit, hugging audience members before taking the stage.

The performance was truly humbling, everyone gathered in, many sat on the ground; his presence felt like an old friend. Bradley’s version of Black Sabbath’s “Changes,” that he dedicated to his late mother moved me to tears. That was the only opportunity I had to see Charles Bradley perform before he lost his battle with cancer on September 23, 2017.

Volunteering at KEXP

That same week I had the chance to give back to the station by way of volunteering, and my appreciation for everything KEXP came full circle. My coworkers and I answered phones during the Fall Fundraiser drive as part of the Brown Paper Tickets’ Paid Time-On benefit program. Fundraiser drives are key to the survival of KEXP.

The majority of KEXP’s funding (nearly 60%) comes from listeners; the remaining 40% is divided among local businesses and outside sources. As a listener-powered station, they can maintain zero commercial interruptions, and avoid narrow playlists dictated by corporate media involvement.

Volunteering_KEXP

In the last 6 years, Brown Paper Tickets has donated over 400 employee hours to KEXP. This allows passionate employees (like me) to work the fundraising drives and more unique opportunities, such as DJ assisting* and hosting station tours.

Brown Paper Tickets encourages employees to volunteer time to organizations they feel passionate about, whatever that may be. I am humbled by the opportunities I am given to volunteer at KEXP and as a KEXP amplifier. If you have ever been interested in giving back to this unique and diverse station, but don’t know where to start, keep in mind that there are many ways to power KEXP.

Check out a full list of opportunities at KEXP: Ways to Give.

*Major shout-out to Jon Hamilton, a dedicated KEXP volunteer and past Brown Paper Tickets Paid Time-On-er.

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Charity Pick: April Showers Bring ‘A New Leaf’

A-New-Leaf, Give BigEvery month, Brown Paper Tickets donates at least 5% of our profits to a charity from a pool of online charity submissions that come through our charity page. We are pleased to announce that we have selected A New Leaf as our April 2017 charity.

With so many great charities, choosing just one a month is a difficult task. There are submissions from many wonderful organizations that positively impact communities.

A New Leaf is a 46-year-old community nonprofit organization that provides a broad spectrum of support services to help individuals and families in crisis.

Many times, folks are stuck in situations out of their control and need a little help to get their lives set in the right direction. With dignity and compassion, A New Leaf improves the lives of families and individuals.

Impact of A New Leaf

  • 200,000 meals annually
  • 150,000 nights of shelter a year
  • Host 12,000 counseling sessions annually
  • Aided 21,140 individuals and families with critical resources

Last year alone, A New Leaf provided 22,047 individuals with a wide spectrum of services, including homeless and domestic violence shelters with services, affordable housing solutions, behavioral health, foster care, counseling, financial literacy coaching, and basic needs.

A New Leaf is a critical asset to their community and it is crucial that organizations continue do this work.

How to Give Big to A New Leaf

Giving volunteer time feels amazing. If you live in the Valley area of Arizona, please consider helping out. A New Leaf has both group and individual volunteer opportunities available. Learn more and sign up or have a blast at one of their special events.

Get your workplace, local school or community involved. Hold a donation drive for essential items.

Finally, you can donate direct and make an impact for A New Leaf and the people they serve. Donations are tax deductible and if you live in the state of Arizona, your donation may be eligible for a dollar-for-dollar tax credit from the state.

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Giving Refugees a Helping Handshake

Photo-IRC-RefugeesLanguage barriers. Financial worries. Finding a job. Refugees face enormous hardships, especially during the first few months in the U.S. On Giving Tuesday, a group from Brown Paper Tickets visited the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Seattle to facilitate mock job interviews with a refugee group who just arrived to the U.S. a few weeks ago.

Brown Paper Tickets allows every employee to use an extra 40 paid hours per year to give back to the community via nonprofit volunteering. Through this benefit, we’ve collaborated with some amazing organizations and met some inspiring people.

Founded in 1933 at Albert Einstein’s request, the IRC offers emergency aid and assistance to refugees and those displaced by war. The IRC works in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, restoring safety and hope.

We joined the IRC for a day of job readiness training unsure what to expect. We left with a deep admiration for the participants and the realization that despite different backgrounds, we face similar challenges at new jobs.

To break the ice, we went around the room and dished about our first jobs. A volunteer from our group told us about biking through a treacherous blizzard to deliver newspapers. One of the refugees shared a story about fighting off feral dogs while carrying large bags of food. The anecdotes varied wildly from sad to funny, but the takeaways were similar. Everyone made mistakes and felt unprepared at their first jobs.

Volunteering with refugeesAfter the round of introductions and stories, we began mock interviewing. We practiced standard questions, such as “what are your strengths?” and exchanged ideas on what U.S. employers look for in candidates. Eye contact and strong handshakes are not a custom practice everywhere and relaying skills, even to a prospective employer can feel very uncomfortable to those from other countries.

The room filled with nervous laughter as we went through the questions and shared interview tips. As we started to pack up our stuff, one man said, “The IRC are our first American friends. You are the second. Are we going to be friends for life?”

Whoa, that made it hard to leave. But they’re in good hands with the IRC. And we had such a positive, rewarding experience, we know we’ll return one day.

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Non-profit of the Month: One Tail at a Time

After spending some time with different animal shelters, foster programs and animal help clinics, I ran across this organization in Chicago: One Tail at a Time. They are a non-profit foster program that is a no-kill, all-breed dog rescue program.  This is their mission statement:

One Tail at a Time…serves to lower euthanasia rates in the greater Chicagoland area and provide education on the humane treatment of companion animals. The rescue concentrates its efforts on dogs that are in danger of being euthanized, or those that are physically and/or mentally deteriorating in a shelter environment, works to rehabilitate them, and then matches each dog with a permanent home. Focused on keeping pets as a part of our family, One Tail at a Time offers fosters and adopters continued support and education on how best to keep dogs happy, healthy and part of the family.

What is very unique about this dog foster program is they pay for everything a person needs (food, medical, dog walkers, daycare, etc.) to ensure that all the dogs in their program are well taken care of. They don’t just go out and pick the best of the best animals from the shelters for quick adoption turn-around, they find the best in all dogs and try to give as many of them as possible a chance at a better life. If, for some reason, the adoption isn’t a good fit, they will take the dog back into their program. In fact they prefer it! This allows them to ensure that the dog finds the best family possible. Even if a family can no longer keep the dog years after the adoption, One Tail at a Time will take the dog back into their program and find it a new, happy home.

A current foster for One Tail at a Time, Juli Zagrans, stated: “I’ve been volunteering and fostering for OTAT for about 2 years. I’ve had 17 of their dogs in my home and consistently work with this organization because they make doing the right thing easy. It was started by a group of friends with a vision that they could offer something to the Chicago rescue community, and they have. They choose quality over quantity, and once an OTAT dog, always an OTAT dog.”


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