Crystalfontz believes in giving back — to our local community and beyond. This is the first of a series of posts spotlighting the organizations doing an amazing job caring for kids, communities, and those in need.
In this post from Steve Allen of Family Promise of Spokane, learn what this organization does to help homeless families and how Crystalfontz helps them create long-term housing solutions for families in need.
From Steve Allen, Family Promise Executive Director:
I have worked at Family Promise of Spokane as the Executive Director for the last three years. We have helped over 400 homeless families over the last 19 years find home again.
Over the last nine years, 85% of the families who have come through our program are still in homes. We are the only shelter in Spokane that keeps the family together for as long as it takes to get them back into a home.
My job title Executive Director should be “Professional Asker.” I spend most of my days asking for money and/or volunteer support or thinking of creative ways to ask for money and/or volunteer support.
It isn’t easy being me. Often I will play the self-pity game where I whine, mostly to myself, about I hate having to ask everyone for everything. On my good days, I usually remind myself that I am advocating for families who have no voice. These homeless children need me to find people, businesses, foundations and organizations that will generously share what they have so their parents can have a place to sleep, food to eat and some margin to get their lives back together.
So, ask I must. But, therein lies the problem. I am not the only professional asker. There are a lot of issues in our community and a lot of great organizations that are doing great work.
Businesses that have the heart to give back to their community have to pick and choose which organizations they will choose while receiving more requests they cannot fulfill. Also, while businesses like to give money to help, what they want to give is more personal, their skills, time and energy. Most caring people want to make a difference. But, the question is how?
This is THE question: How do businesses successfully give back to the community with their money and their time to make a true impact?
Last May, to celebrate our great city and creatively sustain our work with homeless families in our community, Family Promise of Spokane commissioned Melinda Curtin, the painter of the City Alphabet series, which includes Seattle, Portland, Tacoma and Los Angeles, to paint the Spokane Alphabet.
In all, 21 Spokane organizations in the 26 letters of the alphabet agreed to partner with Family Promise and are represented in the A through Z letters, including Bloomsday, Spokane Indians baseball team, The Davenport Hotel, Gonzaga University, Whitworth University, and Eastern Washington University.
We love our Spokane Alphabet fundraiser. It has been a big hit all over Spokane. But the problem is that we run a homeless shelter, not a shipping company. So, as we processed what it would mean to ship potentially hundreds of posters, we started getting nervous.
If only we knew a business who shipped items all over the world, who could use their expertise and compassion to help ship our posters for us. It would be a win-win. They could use their time and skills to help ultimately homeless families find home again.
Well, this “what if” became a reality for Family Promise of Spokane when Crystalfontz agreed to ship our Spokane Alphabet posters all over America. Also, the owners invited us to come in and share about our organization and the story of the Spokane Alphabet.
It was an eye-opening experience and potentially formative for how non-profits and for-profits can work together to help each other experience success, satisfaction and celebration in and for the community.
So, thank you Crystalfontz for using your gifts, skills, times and money to help homeless families find home again.