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