2016 Community Impact Awards: Nonprofit of the Year

Winner: FareStart and Wellspring Family Services

Gold Award: 
Location: Seattle  |  Employees: 130  |  Top Exec: Megan Karch, CEO  |  farestart.org

For someone who is homeless and poor, a healthy hot meal is hard to come by. That’s where FareStart comes in. The social enterprise nonprofit has been a leader in helping to solve homelessness in Seattle since 1992. It prepares and delivers more than 3,000 hot meals every day to social service programs and schools around the Puget Sound region. More than 7,500 individuals have participated in FareStart programs, which train homeless and disadvantaged individuals in kitchen skills, meal preparation, safe food handling and meal planning through active participation in its restaurant and cafés, catering services and contract meals. “Every dollar of profit from these businesses is reinvested in programs to recruit, train and support our students as they build new lives,” says FareStart CEO Megan Karch. “Everybody wins. The community gets great food. The restaurant industry gets great talent. And our students get better lives.” FareStart also provides wraparound services for its adult students, including housing, support with basic needs, bus passes, uniforms, and connections to child care, mental health services and drug/alcohol counseling. 

Silver Award: 
Wellspring Family Services
Location: Seattle  |  Employees: 140  |  Top Exec: Ruthann Howell, president/CEO  |  wellspringfs.org

For nearly 125 years, Wellspring Family Services has helped individuals and families in crisis make permanent, positive changes in their lives. Wellspring serves vulnerable families, individuals and children by offering a range of services aimed at addressing the root causes of family instability, crisis and homelessness. In 2015, Wellspring worked with 1,603 individuals, including 911 children, to provide support to help them avoid eviction or end homelessness.