Seattleites Poured Their Heart and Soul Into Altruistic Passion Projects

Moved by the headlines, social justice or simply practicality, inspired locals championed important causes and initiatives.
Lola Jones as Billy Holiday

Check out the rest of our 2017 Year in Review package.

Encouraged by her mother, Kent kindergartner Lola Jones honored Black History Month by dressing up as a different, influential black woman—such as Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Misty Copeland—every day in February. “You hope that your kid grows up to do incredible things,” said mom Cristi Smith-Jones, “and having examples for them just kind of guides them.” 

Beacon Hill dad Jeffrey Lew created a GoFundMe fundraising campaign to pay off lunch debts at his son’s elementary school. He quickly met that goal and through other crowdfunding campaigns, he’s now raised more than $100,000 to eliminate lunch debt for all Seattle public schools. That accomplished, Lew has a new goal: to eliminate lunch debt at all schools in Washington state.  

Ron Glaser, CEO of Seattle-based video entertainment company RealNetworks, donated $200,000 to a $500,000 fundraiser to support a Mother Jones reporting project called “Trumpocracy: The Russia Connection,” to investigate suspicious ties between Trump and Russia. He’ll throw in another $50K when fundraising is completed. 

Fourteen-year-old Cordelia Longo advocated for the availability of free tampons at her middle school on Mercer Island; she collected more than 100 signatures from her peers, and within a week, feminine products were available—and free—in school bathrooms. 

To help with the city’s homeless epidemic, community-building nonprofit Facing Homelessness, led by architect and activist Rex Hohlbein, launched the Block pilot project, a housing initiative that places tiny homes in the backyards of volunteer homeowners. 

Related Content

The incident was one of several "realistic" military exercises that took place in Seattle in mid-April

With the Real Black Grandmothers website, University of Washington assistant professor of American ethnic studies LaShawnDa Pittman archives the experience of a vital member of the black community

Change is the only constant, they say, and it’s happening all over Seattle— no place more so than along a stretch of Dexter and Westlake where yesterday’s innovators settled and today’s dreamers are also finding a home

With a vote set for Monday, negotiations ongoing, and a veto threat from Mayor Jenny Durkan looming, what's the path forward for the hotly debated proposed tax to fund housing and homelessness services?