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People urged to give wisely

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

OLYMPIA — Secretary of State Sam Reed and Attorney General Rob McKenna recently urged Washingtonians to make wise choices with their holidays gifts to charity and avoid greedy fundraising groups.

Reed and McKenna joined forces at the Senior Services Lillian Rice Center in downtown Seattle, releasing the 2012 Commercial Fundraiser Activity Report and announcing that the report will be updated weekly “in real time” to keep donors well-informed.

The two statewide officials also shared tips for everyone – young and old – on how to give wisely.

Overall this year, charities that used commercial fundraisers received an average of 46 percent of contributions, a drop from the 56 percent mark in the 2011 report and much lower than the 77 percent reported in 2010. Once again, the percentage that individual fundraisers retained was wide-ranging: Some fundraisers kept less than 10 percent and sent the remaining funds to charity, while other fundraisers’ fees and expenses were more than the amount raised.

The report, compiled by the Office of Secretary of State’s Charities Program, spotlights recent financial information for commercial fundraisers who solicit or collect donations on behalf of their charity clients.

The causes vary widely and include police, firefighter and veteran organizations, medical research, animals, civil liberties, and the environment, to name a few.

Seniors 65 and older – a group that makes up about 13 percent of Washington’s population – are especially targeted by solicitors and thus should be very careful and research where their donations are going, the two state officials cautioned.

“I’ve been so impressed with the generosity of Washington residents over the years,” Reed said. “So many people here give money to help those who are struggling in our state or elsewhere. We know that individuals will want to donate money this holiday season and beyond to help others, but we also know that they can get burned by not doing their homework before giving to a charity.

“That’s why we want to make sure donors are well-informed about where their money is going. We want contributors – regardless of age – to know which commercial fundraising groups have a bad track record when it comes to passing on donated money to the intended charities,” Reed added.

“Those in the commercial fundraising business earn money by raising money,”

McKenna said.  “People should always contact charitable organizations in your community and ask how they spend donations to ensure you are truly helping those you wish to help.  Never be afraid to ask how much of your donation will go to the charitable purpose. It’s your money.”

The report, which has existed since 1995, has been revamped so it now is updated on a weekly basis. Consumers will be able to run their own reports in real time and get current registration information on commercial fundraisers, the state officials announced.

“The public really will benefit from having access to fundraiser information that is up to date,” Reed said. “It will allow people to make even better decisions on where to give their hard-earned money.”

Commercial fundraisers use many methods to solicit the public, including the telephone and sending mailers asking them to give money to a cause. Commercial fundraisers, who are compensated for their efforts, take a cut of the donations before sending money to the charitable organization or charge a fee for their services.

“People should remember that when someone asks you for a donation, there’s a chance it’s a third party getting paid to make that solicitation,” Reed said. “While most of these commercial fundraisers help keep many crucial charities afloat in Washington, some use a large portion of donations to pay for administrative costs and expenses – or to make a hefty profit.”

Each month hundreds of people use Reed’s online charities search at http://www.sos.wa.gov/charities/search.aspx to get instant financial histories and other information on fundraisers and charities. Consumers can also call toll-free 1-800-332-4483.

Those who believe they are victims of charity fraud should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Resource Center between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays at 1-800-551-4636 or file a complaint online at www.atg.wa.gov



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New Woodinville High School theater opens

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

WHS theatre
Dramafest will be the first production in the new Woodinville High School theater. Courtesy Photo

The annual Woodinville High School Dramafest will feature seven student-directed one-act plays December 12-15.

For an extra special evening, come to the Best of Fest to see the best three shows and awards ceremony Saturday, Dec 15, at 7 p.m. at the WHS theater.

This is a formal occasion, please dress appropriately. The evening will come to an exciting end with the announcement of  the spring musical.

Day 1, Dec 12, 2:30 p.m.  —

“Armed Robbery for Dummies” directed by Hannah Tamen

“The Whole Shebang” directed by Paton Schenck

“How to Succeed in High School Without Really Trying” directed by Trevor Erickson

Day 2, Dec 13, 2:30 p.m.  —

“The Sandbox” directed by Cy Kaskes

“Scuba Lessons” directed by Tiana Ward

Day 3, Dec 14, 2:30 p.m.  —

“The End” directed by Averey Allen

“Teen Angel” directed by Kailin Meacham

Improv Team performs

Line-up for Best of Fest Announced

Saturday Dec 15,  7 p.m. - Best of Fest

Three shows performed

Awards presented

Spring musical announced

$4/day general admission

Buy tickets at door

Studio I to offer master classes with KC Monnie

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Studio 1 will offer holiday master classes with KC Monnie Wednesday, Dec. 26. Intermediate jazz for 10 years and up will be held 5-6:30 p.m.; an advanced lyrical/contemporary class for 13 years and up is from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monnie,  a former Studio I student, is a “Warbler” on GLEE, has performed on Dancing With the Stars and is teaching in the Los Angeles area.

Price for the 1-1/2 hour intermediate class is $25 for Studio 1 students/$30 for non-Studio 1 students The 2-hour advanced class is $30 for Studio 1 students/$40 for non-Studio 1 students

Register  at Studio 1’s front desk (13300 NE 175 St., #7, Woodinville).

"St. Nick's Winter in Woodinville"

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Tree 4

Photo by June Collins-McKiernan

Woodinville Wine Country invited everyone to the tree lighting at Ste. Michelle Winery that kicked off “Saint Nick’s Winter in Woodinville” last weekend. Other events included a holiday open house with 46 participating wineries, live music and wine tastings. Visit woodinvillewinecountry.com to learn more.

Local food bank helps those in need

  • Written by Don Mann
Food Bank
Staff Photo/Don Mann
Giving back to the community always gets a little more popular during the holiday season.

But over at the Woodinville Storehouse they do it all year long. The local food bank, located in the basement of the Woodinville Community United Methodist Church, is one of a coalition of churches working to provide quality food for their neighbors in need on the Greater Eastside: Woodinville, Redmond, Kirkland and Bothell.

According to program director Della Haug, in 2011, its first full year of service, the Woodinville Storehouse served 99 households, 28 of them in Woodinville. She added that in the last few months the organization has averaged about 47 households per week.

Haug said they serve families and individuals who have lost jobs in the current economic downturn, recent immigrants from Latin America, Russia and Vietnam, people with significant health concerns and disabilities, the elderly and struggling young families.

Its hours of operation are Tuesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 7:20 p.m., and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.

Haug said the Storehouse has experienced great local support from groups and businesses, such as the City of Woodinville, Albertsons, Starbucks, Franz Bakery, 21 Acres and Panera Bread.

Individual donations, as well as cash donations, are also accepted.

“If only 10 percent of our neighbors bought one extra non-perishable item every time they shopped at the supermarket, we would add an estimated 35 tons of food per year to our food bank,” she said.

What’s the main thing she wanted people to know? “That we’re here to offer food and comfort and support.”

The Woodinville Community United Methodist Church is located at 17110 140th Ave. NE in Woodinville.

The phone information line is (425) 483-5252. The Web site is www.woodinvillestorehouse.org.