On April 1, Dave Ross, host of The Dave Ross Show on KIRO-FM, opened his morning broadcast with the news that One Reel, the nonprofit organization that runs the Fourth of July festivities at Lake Union, had failed to secure a corporate sponsor and was canceling the event. It was no April Fool’s joke. “It seemed so ridiculous that a city the size of Seattle wasn’t going to have an official fireworks show,” says Ross, whose commentary struck a chord.
“I was driving to work listening to Dave,” says Seattle ultra-restaurateur Tom Douglas. “I turned to my wife and said, ‘I can’t let this happen.’” Douglas called the station and pledged $5,000 to a spur-of-the-moment campaign to preserve the rockets’ red glare. Ross added $1,000, and they challenged Seattle businesses to raise the remaining $494,000 needed to save the show.
The phone lines lit up. As momentum built, Starbucks and Microsoft each pledged $125,000 to match up to $250,000 raised in the community. Miraculously, the entire sum was raised within 24 hours. For Ross, it was an example of patriotism and democracy in action. “Power really does come from the people,” he says.
Published November 2010
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