Raising Money and So Much More
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending a benefit dinner for RESULTS in Seattle. The event was put together by our amazing Seattle Group volunteers, led by Melessa Rogers and Karen Gielen. The event was well-attended, with nearly 100 people gathering the Seattle Waterfront Marriott, including a representative from newly elected Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s office.
Guests heard from Joanne Carter, RESULTS executive director and Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The event also honored retired Representative Jim McDermott, who received the Seeds of Hope award.
Dr. Elias spoke glowingly of RESULTS’ advocates and the importance of their contribution in the elimination of poverty. “For over 35 years RESULTS has led the way to keep the world’s most intractable issues at the very front and center of the global agenda…By lifting your voice, and your pen, you educate and influence policymakers, steering them toward decisions that are improving lives around the world,” he said in his remarks.
After representing Seattle in the House of Representatives for 28 years, the Honorable Dr. Jim McDermott retired at the end of 2016. Rep. McDermott was a strong advocate on global health and traveled to South Africa with RESULTS in 2012 to learn about TB vaccines and research and visit community-level TB programs. Karen Gielen presented Rep. McDermott with the Seeds of Hope award for his dedication and leadership on issues of health, education and economic opportunity.
Rep. McDermott worked closely with the RESULTS Seattle group over the course of his career and fondly recalled an incident many years earlier when he was stunned to see that RESULTS volunteers around the country got more than 30 members of Congress to attend a meeting at the World Bank at 8:30 in the morning, noting that members of Congress don’t do anything at 8:30 am.
He also implored the crowd to “never forget your own power.” It felt like a powerful statement at a time when so much of the progress we’ve made against poverty is at risk. But for me, this event was a source of hope for what we can accomplish.
Thanks to the generosity of the guests in the room, the event sponsors, and many others in the community who were not able to attend, the event raised nearly $35,000! This funding will support RESULTS advocates around the country as they are working to fight back against proposed cuts to foreign aid and domestic anti-poverty programs.
In addition to raising needed funds, the event also garnered media attention throughout the state. Thanks to the outreach of volunteer Willie Dickerson, Seattle Times Columnist Jerry Large attended the event and later wrote an article about RESULTS. Over the next several days, the RESULTS Seattle group was contacted more than 30 times by people around the state who were interested in joining the group and seven new people showed up at the group’s March Education and Action meeting!
Overall, this event was a great example of a RESULTS group maximizing the potential of a fundraising event to not just raise money, but engage local members of Congress and leverage the media to bring attention to the work of the group and ultimately attract new volunteers. Bravo to RESULTS Seattle for a job well done!