What do fashion and philanthropy have in common? More than 140 Emerging Leaders and United Way guests learned just that at May 9th’s Happy Hour and Hellos, mixing it up on the 2nd floor of Nordstrom’s Bellevue store and raising money for a good cause.
This event, in part, celebrated the longstanding partnership between United Way of King County and Nordstrom in reconnecting Seattle students to their education. One of the evening’s highlights was hearing from Scott Meden, CMO of Nordstrom and United Way board member. As the parent of a college-aged son, Scott reflected on how fortunate they’ve been to have access to a stable education, and conversely, how the story sadly takes such a different turn for other students his son’s age.
Many students in Seattle end up leaving school involuntarily – some to care for a sick family member, some to bring in additional income, or some to escape an unwelcome school environment.
Lisa Brooks, United Way Community Impact Manager, put a face to these all-too-common stories by sharing about students like Lee.
Lee left school after 9th grade to care for his mother. When his mom began to struggle with drugs, Lee eventually became homeless. Despite these challenges, he knew he wanted to complete school. Through United Way’s Reconnecting Youth program, Lee was able to continue his education with iGrad, and ultimately gain an internship in carpentry.
Lisa emphasized that every young person in Seattle should be able to achieve their potential and the crowd agreed, judging from the sound of its cheers. Every student who faced challenges that forced them out of their education should get a second chance.
The best part of Happy Hour and Hellos wasn’t the photobooth or the cocktails. The best part of the event was coming together to make a difference in our community. Attendees raised more than $4,500 to continue building new paths for Seattle students back to their education.
A hearty thank you to Nordstrom for hosting this evening of fun and philanthropy.