The 2014 Community Impact Awards: Nonprofit of the Year

October 21, 2014

NICK HORTON

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WINNER

501 Commons

Seattle

501 Commons is a nonprofit that serves nonprofits. Since its inception in 1989, 501 Commons has provided management consulting, financial, information technology and human resources services to more than 1,500 charitable organizations across the Northwest. And thanks to pro bono consultant help and fundraising efforts, 501 Commons back-office services are affordable to a wide range of nonprofits.

But its services go far beyond the cubicle walls. 501 Commons created its Prepare/Respond/Serve (PRS) program to link volunteers skilled in emergency response with low-income housing communities, resulting in disaster-preparedness plans for areas that might not otherwise create them. PRS received national recognition from Americas Service Commissions and is hailed for being easily replicable in communities across the country.

Each quarter, 501 Commons hosts the popular Executive Directors Forum, facilitating discussions among the regions nonprofit leaders. And the Commons creates programs and events with a long list of nonprofit partners, including Seattle CityClub, Global Washington, Next Chapter of Puget Sound and United Way of King County.

WINNER

Diane Douglas, executive director of Seattle CityClub.

Seattle CityClub

Seattle

Thanks to Seattle CityClub, Washingtonians have been getting smarter and having better political discussions since 1981. The nonprofit offers public forums, statewide initiatives and online tools that engage more than 47,000 Washingtonians each year, encouraging us to learn more about our local history, culture and politics.

CityClubs programs appeal to every type of Seattleite. Civic Boot Camp, which appeals to Northwest newcomers and young adults, is a daylong deep dive into a figure or issue of local importance, and each participant finishes the day with a personal civic action plan. A recent boot camp focused on the history, politics, and economics of the Seattle waterfront.
CityClub also offers Reach Across the Aisle, which unites state legislators from opposing parties, fostering a spirit of healthy, constructive debate. And CityClubs Living Voters Guide is a leading online political education/discussion platform that reaches 30,000 Washingtonians annually.

If those programs arent enough, the organization offers more than 30 forums, debates and other community-centric events throughout the year, including a Civic Cocktail panel discussion and social gathering that attracts some 150 Seattleites each month. Novembers featured guest: Seattle filmmaker Lynn Shelton.