Bright Spots Touch Thurston County Volunteers


By Mary Beth Harrington, CVA

Happy Summer Solstice! Summer is finally here, and it seems at least for now that the weather is cooperating with the season.

Also, Namaste to all my yogi friends who are celebrating International Yoga Day today.

There’s a lot of nonprofit news this week, so let’s get to it.

Celebrating Volunteers!

Last Tuesday, United Way of Thurston County and Thurston County Health and Public Services recognized 18 local people who volunteered between 100 and 473 hours at their vaccination clinics over the past year. See the story.

These individuals also received the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA). In 2003, the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation founded the PVSA to recognize the vital role volunteers play in America’s strength and national identity. The award honors individuals whose service has a positive impact on their community and inspires others to action. I only know of one other person who received the award; it was huge and was considered the greatest award a volunteer could receive. Initially, the PVSA partnered with the Points of Light organization started by President George H. W. Bush and celebrated one volunteer each day. The PVSA has continued under each administration, honoring volunteers who use their time and talents to solve the toughest challenges facing our nation. Today, the award is still a great honor and now the program allows certifying organizations (like United Way of Thurston County) to recognize their most outstanding volunteers.

Alzheimer’s and Brain Month

June is a busy month. Along with all the other things we’ve been celebrating, it’s also Alzheimer’s and Brain Month to bring attention to Alzheimer’s and other dementias. My mother suffered from dementia. I know how debilitating this can be for both the patient and their loved ones).

To learn more about this public health issue, attend the Alzheimer’s Association Community Forum tomorrow, June 22 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Lacey Timberland Library. For more information, click here.

Be the first to know!

Are you excited to find out who will be the next musical director of the Olympia Symphony?

So plan on attending the Big Reveal Gala this Saturday, June 24 at 6:00 p.m. at the Indian Summer Golf and Country Club. After the meteoric season of auditions and in preparation for their 75e year, the Olympia Symphony is looking to make this the best and brightest season yet. For tickets and more information, click here.

Local university announces fundraising campaign

Saint-Martin University has announced the launch of its first global campaign, For Every Saint: The Campaign for St. Martin’s Abbey and University. According to their press release, the campaign has a goal of $100 million in current support and future gift commitments.

Funds raised through this campaign will help the university:

  1. enhance academic excellence and the development of innovative programs, with particular attention to attracting and retaining diverse and dedicated faculty
  2. build and create through renovation modern facilities that foster community and enhance student learning and development
  3. significantly increase scholarships and holistic support for undergraduate and graduate students.

For more details and to donate, click here.

War in Ukraine

Finally, this week marks the 4th anniversary of Russia’s last invasion of Ukraine. While the war is no longer in the headlines, the atrocities and hardships for the people of Ukraine continue.

We generally focus on local nonprofit organizations in Thurston County; however, I want to suggest a place where your donation can directly help the most Ukrainians.

World Central Cuisinestarted with a simple idea from celebrity chef Jose Andrés, who said, “When people are hungry, send in cooks. Not tomorrow, but today.

WCK is the first on the front line, providing meals in response to humanitarian, climate and community crises. Today and every day, WCK provides 15 million meals to Ukrainian refugees around the world and more recently the non-profit organization was the victim of several Russian missiles that hit the center of Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Regarding the latest bombing, Andrés himself said in an update on WCK staff: “To everyone who cares about the Kharkiv team and sends their best wishes, thank you, the injured are well , and everyone is ready and willing to start cooking in another location.” He ended with, “Many ways to fight, we do it with food!” To learn more about WCK or to donate, go to

Solicit your ideas

If you know of a nonprofit that’s doing something great, celebrating a success, needs amazing volunteers, or hosting an event, let me know! This column (aside from a little education) celebrates nonprofits!

Mary Beth Harrington, CVA (Certified Volunteer Administrator) lives in Tumwater. She travels the country speaking at conferences and for individual organizations articulating issues facing nonprofits. Send your ideas to [email protected]


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