Raising Hands for a tradition of giving

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

On the evening of October 25th, the Tulalip Tribes recognized and gave thanks to more than 460 Washington non-profits and community groups who made a difference over the past year at the 10-year anniversary of the Raising Hands Celebration. Held at the Tulalip Resort Casino’s Orca Ballroom, the stylish space was filled to max capacity as representatives of these high-impacting organizations came together to create an atmosphere of giving and community.

“In the Tulalip Tribes tradition, we raise our hands to show appreciation to the numerous organizations that work so hard to contribute services to our community,” stated Chairwoman Marie Zackuse. “It is truly remarkable how many of our citizens, non-profits, and community organizations are involved in efforts to improve health care, education, natural resources and the well-being of our communities. The Tulalip Tribes holds this event every year to let these individuals, organizations, and surrounding communities know that we value their good work.”

This year’s Raising Hands recognized the prior year in community achievement stimulated by a record $7.5 million in Tulalip support to more than 460 charitable organizations. Since 1992, the Tulalip Tribes charitable giving program has donated over $84.2 million in critical support to the community and, indirectly, to their own membership by supporting regional efforts to improve education, health and human services, cultural preservation, public services, the environment, and the economy.

But the Raising Hands event isn’t all about dollars and cents. At the annual celebration, our community’s change makers are given a chance to celebrate each other, to share their plans for the future, and to learn how others are striving to make a difference in our communities. This is an invaluable benefit for organizations who can sometimes struggle to get their message broadcast to the larger community.

Lushootseed Language Teacher, Maria Martin, opened the event with a compelling prayer.

Additionally, there are traditional songs, speeches from tribal leaders, and videos that underscore the good work that is being done. Lushootseed Language Teacher, Maria Martin, opened the event with a compelling prayer, followed by the next generation of Tulalip drummers, singers, and dancers led by Cultural Specialist, Chelsea Craig. The exchange of knowledge and understanding that took place at this year’s event was truly a sight to behold.

“When you see people having these amazing, positive conversations, that is when we see that we are making a difference. Giving people the opportunity to work together is worth its weight in gold,” said Marilyn Sheldon, manager of Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund. “We try to show respect and honor these charities that give so much of themselves for this community. Whatever we can do to give them the opportunity to do more, we will do. We want them to feel like the red carpet just got laid out, and that it’s just for them.

“Each year, as soon as the event is over, we ask ourselves how we can help make the next one better,” continued Marilyn. “Some days, I feel so blessed that this is my job. We are so fortunate to be able to work with these amazing organizations in Snohomish and King Counties, and throughout the State that do so much good in our communities.”

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988 allows tribes to conduct certain types of gaming if they enter into a gaming compact with the state. Tulalip’s tribal-state gaming compact, like most, includes a provision to donate a percentage of gaming earnings to organizations impacted by gaming, as well as other charitable organizations. From this provision the Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund was created.

Visit www.TulalipCares.org to learn more about the Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund.

“We are humbled to be recognized and to have our mission and activities shared with the community. The Tulalip Tribes has been a stanch supporter of us, not only providing us with a food truck, but with generous donations in previous years as well. For us to be featured as a special recipient, I couldn’t be more pleased and humbled.”

– Bill Buck, Vice President of Snohomish County Volunteer Search & Rescue

 

“I feel truly privileged to be here. This is a beautiful event, such a great evening to feel honored. The Tulalip Tribes does an amazing job of making us feel special and welcomed. Being a grant recipient allows us to have more kids in the program by being able to scholarship kids to be in the program who might not otherwise be able to participate. There are kids who have great singing voices, but not all families can cover the tuition. Support by the Tulalip Tribes allows these kids the opportunity to follow their musical dreams.”

– Kris Mason, Founder and Artistic Director of the Seattle Children’s Chorus

 

“We are very, very grateful to the Tulalip Tribes for all their support. We have kids who are waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister in Marysville, and it costs about $1,500 a year to serve a kid in a mentoring relationship. We ask for the Tribe’s help specifically for serving these kids in Marysville. I have to admit my surprise that Tulalip gives us money, then throws an event to thank us for letting them be a supporter. It’s an honor to be here and very humbling that the Tulalip Tribes would do this.”

– Pamela Shields, Executive Director for Big Brothers Big Sister of Snohomish County

Tulalip is ‘Raising Hands’ to the community

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Tulalip youth open the Raising Hands Ceremony with a welcoming song.

Tulalip youth open the Raising Hands Ceremony with a welcoming song.

 

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

 

Once a year the Tulalip Tribes hosts a gala to honor and thank local charities for their impact on our communities. The event, dubbed Raising Hands, is a nod to a Tulalip tradition of raising hands as a sign of gratitude and recognition for hard work.

“Everyone here tonight had a calling,” Chairman Mel Sheldon stated. “They had something they wanted to do to help better society and they went out and did it. Now, each and every one of them is making a difference. That’s why we’re here, to celebrate your journey. We are all in this canoe, helping each other out, pulling together in the right direction. For the work that you do, we thank you and raise our hands to you. Thank you for helping make a stronger, greater community with Tulalip.”

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 allows tribes to conduct certain types of gaming if they enter into a gaming compact with the state.  Tulalip’s compact, like most, includes a provision to donate a percentage of gaming earnings to organizations impacted by gaming (fire, police, etc), as well as other charitable organizations.

Tulalip leaders long ago decided that the money would support organizations that demonstrate the same ideals that Tulalips cherish. Over 400 charities and non-profit organizations received grants from Tulalip this year, bringing the total amount donated to over $7 million. This year, Tulalip broke the record for most money donated by a tribe in a single year.

Tulalip Board of Director Glen Gobin explained that after years of success, the Tribe is more than happy to help support organizations that have a positive impact in Washington.

“We weren’t always this blessed,” Glen reminisced about Tulalip before gaming revenue. “I remember years ago when there was no TRC (Tulalip Resort Casino) and no outlet mall. That area used to be just trees. We’re now very blessed to have the opportunity to give back to our community.”

The event, held in the TRC Orca Ballroom, brings together representatives from each of the organizations who received funds from Tulalip over the previous year. The idea is that when change makers are in a room together, they have the opportunity to network and build connections that can strengthen their efforts.

Among all those present, six organizations were singled out and their efforts highlighted with videos that provide a glimpse into the hard and selfless work that it takes to run charities and non-profits.

For more information about the Raising Hands gala or Tulalip charitable giving, check out the website www.tulalipcares.org.

 

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For tribes, generosity is tradition

Ian Terry / The HeraldLeno Vela (center), 11, talks with JJ Gray (right), 5, at the Tulalip Boys and Girls Club.

Ian Terry / The Herald
Leno Vela (center), 11, talks with JJ Gray (right), 5, at the Tulalip Boys and Girls Club.

 

By: Chris Winters, The Herald

 

TULALIP — Chuck Thacker was working as the principal of Quil Ceda and Tulalip Elementary School when he was approached about starting a Boys and Girls Club on the reservation of the Tulalip Tribes.

The tribes, Thacker and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County all saw the need for a safe after-school program targeted at tribal youth. Thacker would contribute his leadership and experience working with kids, Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County would provide the model, and the tribes would provide the startup money and location, as well as the kids.

The Tulalip Boys and Girls Club opened in 1996, the first club located on an Indian reservation in Washington and one of the first in the United States. The Tulalip Tribes continue to support the club financially to this day.

Charitable contributions by tribes have become more visible in an era in which some tribes have become financially successful in their business undertakings. But giving has always been a part of Native American culture, even before the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act created a national legal framework in which tribes could operate casinos on their reservations.

In Washington state, tribes such as the Tulalips who run casinos are required to donate a certain percentage of the proceeds to charity. But the tribe routinely exceeds that amount, and even tribes without significant income give back to their communities.

“This rule is not new to Indian Country, as it has now been formalized,” said Marilyn Sheldon, who oversees the Tulalip Charitable Fund.

“We’ve always been givers,” she said.

 

Ian Terry / the heraldFrom left, Georgetta Reeves, 8; Ladainian Kicking-Woman, 6; Tristan Holmes, 11; and Isaiah Holmes, 6, hang out together in the gym at the Tulalip Boys and Girls Club.

Ian Terry / the herald
From left, Georgetta Reeves, 8; Ladainian Kicking-Woman, 6; Tristan Holmes, 11; and Isaiah Holmes, 6, hang out together in the gym at the Tulalip Boys and Girls Club.

 

The Tulalip Tribes

When Chuck Thacker sat down with Terry Freeman of the county Boys and Girls Clubs and Stan Jones, the former chairman of the Tulalip Tribes, they outlined a vision for the new club: It had to address needs of both the tribe and the surrounding community.

The goal was to create a safe after-school program that would accept both native and non-native kids; provide reading programs, other educational activities and sports activities; and remain open as many hours as possible. Most important, it would also provide a meal program.

Thacker recalled what Jones told him: “Feed our kids good, because a lot of them don’t get a good meal at home.”

The Tulalip Tribes backed up its support with financial assistance, and has provided the club with financial support every year since, allowing tribal kids to come to the club free of charge even while it has gradually expanded its services to include arts programs and a technology center.

The meal program now serves three meals a day to up to 250 youths.

 

Ian Terry / The HeraldDuring a Pacific Science Center demonstration at the Tulalip Boys and Girls Club, Ashton Rude, 9, looks through animal furs and tries to identify them.

Ian Terry / The Herald
During a Pacific Science Center demonstration at the Tulalip Boys and Girls Club, Ashton Rude, 9, looks through animal furs and tries to identify them.

 

Thacker, who has directed the club since its inception, said “99 percent of them come in for activities, and they know the food’s going to be there.”

The Tulalip Boys and Girls Club is just one organization that’s been on the receiving end of the tribes’ charitable giving.

Since 1993, shortly after the Tulalip Tribes opened its first casino, charitable giving from the Tulalips has risen from $273,000 then to $6.9 million in 2013.

In the first half of 2014, the Tulalip Tribes has given more than 160 grants to nonprofit organizations, groups or programs both on and off the reservation. They include community groups, the Boys and Girls Clubs, arts organizations, environmental groups, educational programs and specific events, such as the tribe’s annual Spee-Bi-Dah celebration and parade and an emergency grant of $150,000 to the Cascade Valley Hospital Foundation and the American Red Cross to help victims of the Oso mudslide.

Marilyn Sheldon recalled that when she was growing up, her own mother and other tribal women in the ladies clubs would support their community with various fundraisers.

Tribal giving has been formalized since then, but it still draws on tradition. During the tribe’s annual Raising Hands gala, all attendees receive gifts as a way of honoring them. Children at the Montessori school also spread the table at the end of each year, Sheldon said, and gifts are traditionally given at funerals.

“That’s part of the healing of the family, to put all that love and energy into giving,” Sheldon said.

Since the Tulalip Resort Casino opened in 1992, a portion of all profits has been donated to charity.

Agreements between the tribe and Washington state set a minimum percentage of proceeds that must be given to charity, but the Tulalips now regularly exceed that baseline, said Martin Napeahi, the general manager of Quil Ceda Village, the Tulalip Tribes’ business and development arm.

In 1993, the Tulalips donated $273,000 to charitable causes. That rose to $6.9 million in 2013, the 20th year in which the Tulalip Charitable Fund has operated.

A committee weighs grant applications, but the members are all anonymous. Each serves for a two-year term and oversees one subsection of the grant requests — for example, natural resources, education, arts or social services.

Then, at the end of every quarter, the committee members switch assignments, so no one member evaluates the same subset of applications.

“That way it adds to the fairness of deciding who gets funding,” Sheldon said.

In the end, the tribes’ board of directors reviews the committee’s recommendation and decides which applications are funded and to what extent.

The fall Raising Hands gala is not just a celebratory event, but an opportunity to create more lasting bonds within the larger community.

Dignitaries and community leaders are invited to mix and mingle with the recipients of the tribes’ giving.

“The beauty of putting that together is you can put other groups together at the same table,” Sheldon said.

That, coupled with presentations honoring the work the various grant recipients do, turns the gala into a educational event as well, which creates connections among the disparate groups and may lead to future collaboration.

“We are doing the best we can to make a difference in our communities,” Sheldon said.

 

The Stillaguamish Tribe

The Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians has seen marked economic growth in the last decade.

When its Angel of the Winds Casino and Hotel opened in 2004, the tribe’s charitable giving evolved from a more casual undertaking to a formalized system.

“Prior to the casino we didn’t have a whole lot of money to give,” said Eric White, vice chairman of the Stillaguamish tribe.

“In fact, we were the ones out there asking for help,” he said.

Since instituting a formal giving program, the Stillaguamish convene a committee of tribal members and employees to evaluate grant requests.

The Stillaguamish gave $800,000 in donations during the tribe’s last fiscal year, which ended in October 2013, White said

So far this year, the Stillaguamish have donated about $1.9 million, with some of the larger recipients being relief agencies working in the aftermath of the mudslide. But recipients also have included community organizations, such as a $300,000 gift to local food banks that the tribe made before Christmas in response to an acute need.

“Basically our main mission would be to help the folks who are in need,” White said.

The Stillaguamish also make charitable donations to environmental organizations, animal rehabilitation services, recreation and health care, especially to the American Cancer Society, which White said the Stillaguamish has long supported.

 

The Sauk-Suiattle Tribe

Tucked up in the mountains near Darrington, the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe doesn’t have a casino, other large business enterprises or even easy access to the sea for fishing.

The tribe derives its revenue from running the gas station in Darrington and a smoke shop on its reservation, and from leasing its gambling licenses to other tribes that do operate casinos.

Nonetheless, the Sauk-Suiattle tribe makes a point of contributing to the community.

“We do, on a yearly basis, take $30,000, sometimes $40,000 if we have extra, and make small grants to the city of Darrington,” said Ronda Metcalf, the tribe’s general manager.

Beneficiaries include the local senior center, the grange, the school and some programs through the pharmacy to help people pay for medication.

“We’re not obligated to do that, but it’s something the tribe felt would be a good way to build community with the city,” Metcalf said.

When the Oso mudslide cut Darrington off from the rest of the county, Sauk-Suiattle members came together and donated about $5,000 to families affected by the slide, and then came to the Darrington Community Center to lay out a blanket in a traditional form of fundraising, bringing in about $1,100 more on the spot.

A committee looks at requests and decides where the need is greatest. If there are many needy causes, the tribe tries to give out something to most of them, Metcalf said.

“Tribes have been doing that for a long time, it’s part of who they are,” Metcalf said.

Coming soon

This story is part of Snohomish County Gives, a special section highlighting the spirit of philanthropy in the county. Look for more stories on HeraldNet throughout the week and the full section in the print edition of The Herald on Sunday, Aug. 31.

Tulalip Tribes donate $6.9 million to community

Tulalip Tribal Board Chair Mel Sheldon Jr. thanks the surrounding community for supporting the Tribes’ efforts to support organizations that support the surrounding community in turn.— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

Tulalip Tribal Board Chair Mel Sheldon Jr. thanks the surrounding community for supporting the Tribes’ efforts to support organizations that support the surrounding community in turn.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

By Kirk Boxleitner, Marysville Globe

TULALIP — The Tulalip Tribes announced a record-setting $6.9 million in donations this year, to more than 280 Washington state nonprofits and community groups, during their 21st annual “Raising Hands” celebration, in the Orca Ballroom of the Tulalip Resort Hotel and Casino, on Saturday, Oct. 26.

“We’re here to share stories of goodwill, and of how we came to journey together,” Tulalip Tribal Board Chair Mel Sheldon Jr. said. “We look back on how much progress we’ve made, thanks to the leaders of the past, who built our foundations. We’re so grateful to be able to follow their example, and to share in the goodwill and work that you do. Look around you,” he told those seated in the Orca Ballroom that evening. “We’re all doing the same work, which is bettering the community. It wasn’t that long ago that Tulalip needed help, and we appreciated the helping hands we received, so now that we’re in a position to do so, we’re proud to help those who help others.”

After a performance by Quil Ceda Elementary student singers, Tulalip Tribal Board member Glen Gobin noted that the Tribes’ financial generosity is a sign of their growing fortunes.

“We’ve given more than $57 million to different charities over the years,” Gobin said. “Fifty years ago, the Tribes’ total budget was $200,000 for the whole year. We had 750 organizations request funds from us in the past year. There’s a lot of good organizations out there, but we can’t give to everybody.”

Tulalip Tribal Board Vice Chair Deborah Parker told the representatives of those recipient organizations to take pride in being “hard workers who contribute to the community every day,” just as she expressed pride in being able to “stand beside you and help celebrate your successes.”

Tulalip Tribal Board member Theresa Sheldon thanked a number of organizations in attendance for helping to educate the public on the larger problems facing the world, “just as we’ve had to re-educate people, to correct them about our history as Native Americans, to let them know that Columbus Day isn’t something that should be celebrated, and that dressing up as a Native American for Halloween is inappropriate. We have to do that re-education because so much of our history is not taught in books.”

The Tribes support regional efforts to improve education, health and human services, cultural preservation, public safety, the environment and the economy. This year’s local recipients included the Arlington Community Food Bank — which received a donation in an amount between $7,501 to $10,000, to help with their construction of a new food bank, providing emergency food assistance to 12,000 people of all ages — and to the Marysville School District, which received a donation of more than $10,000, to support educational programs at Quil Ceda Elementary and Totem Middle School. The Cascade Valley Hospital Foundation received a donation in an amount between $2,501 to $5,000, to help fund their purchase of an advanced medical simulation manikin, with which to train hospital staff in crucial emergency responses.

“And of course, our most importance resource is our youth,” Mel Sheldon said. “It’s the little ones of today who will lead us down the road to the future. We’re all in this together.”

Tulalip Tribes donate $6.9 million to nonprofits

by Bill Sheets, The Everett Herald 

TULALIP — Thanks to the Tulalip Tribes, more homeless kids will have places to live, more salmon will have good habitat in which to spawn and more senior citizens will be safe.

Cocoon House, the Adopt A Stream Foundation, the Warm Beach Health Care Center and the Edmonds Senior Center were just a few of about 280 nonprofit groups in the Puget Sound area that received a total of $6.9 million this year from the tribes. That’s the most in any one year since the charitable program began in 1993, according to the tribes.

The awards were announced last week at the tribes’ annual Raising Hands ceremony.

Groups in the fields of education, health and human services, cultural preservation, public safety, the environment and economic development were among the recipients.

The tribes donate money generated by casinos, the Quil Ceda Village shopping center and other endeavors. Groups apply to receive funding.

Cocoon House of Everett received $10,000 to go toward its housing program for homeless youth, chief executive officer Cassie Franklin said.

The organization helps kids living on the street, works with parents to prevent at-risk children from becoming homeless and provides emergency and long-term housing to more than 300 children, she said.

The money from the tribes will go toward the housing portion of Cocoon House’s activities, consisting of group homes in Everett, Monroe and Arlington.

The tribes have given to Cocoon House before, Franklin said.

“They’ve very generous, they’re a great community partner,” she said.

Also receiving $10,000 was the Warm Beach Health Care Center, a nonprofit endeavor affiliated with the Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center, a Christian organization. The care center provides independent and assisted living and skilled nursing care for a total of 350 residents, spokeswoman Sheila Bartlett said.

The money was received earlier this year and went toward a $160,000 electronic alert system. Residents can push a button if they need assistance, Bartlett said.

“If folks are on our campus and fall, we can find them,” she said.

The tribes also gave $5,000 to the Edmonds Senior Center. The money will cover about half the cost of printing and distributing the senior center’s newsletter, director Farrell Fleming said.

“It’s our principal instrument to attract people here and let them know about our programs,” Fleming said.

The tribes helped the senior center fund its first computer lab years ago, he said.

The Adopt A Stream Foundation, based at McCollum Park in south Everett, was one of several environmental groups to receive funding. The group provides environmental education and does stream restoration projects around Snohomish County.

The $5,000 from the tribes will go toward restoration projects on Tulalip Creek, near the fish hatchery on the reservation, and Allen Creek in Marysville.

The tribes have donated to the stream group in the past, including a $50,000 grant to toward a permanent trout stream exhibit, director Tom Murdoch said.

“They’ve been very generous to everybody in the community,” he said. “They’ve been terrific about sharing their resources with the public.”

Tulalips to give $6.9M to nonprofits

by The Everett Herald

TULALIP — The Tulalip Tribes on Saturday plan to announce $6.9 million in donations this year to nonprofits and community groups, a record for the tribes.

The Tulalip Tribes’ 21st annual “Raising Hands” event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday in the Orca Ballroom at the Tulalip Resort Casino, 10200 Quil Ceda Blvd.

The donations are being spread among more than 280 community groups in the fields of education, health and human services, cultural preservation, public safety, the environment and the economy.

“In the Tulalip Tribes tradition, we raise our hands to show appreciation to the organizations that work so hard to provide services to our community,” Tulalip tribal chairman Mel Sheldon said. “The Tulalip Tribes holds this event every year to let these individuals, organizations, and surrounding communities know that we value their good works.”

Nonprofit and community groups may apply for quarterly awards. For information go to the Tulalip Tribes Charitable Funds website atwww.tulalipcares.org.