Fundraising, Fried Chicken: In-Person Eat, Drink & Be Generous Events Back
This blog post was written by Kae Hondorp, a United Way Emerging Leaders 365 committee member from Google.
On a clear Thursday evening in Capitol Hill, Pike Street was shaking off the cobwebs of the workweek and starting to come alive. A “United Way event” sandwich board on the sidewalk pointed attendees to our latest Eat, Drink and Be Generous destination: a “little slice of Osaka,” Taku restaurant.
The Be Generous event on March 3 was a special one for several reasons. Not only did it feature incredible food and drinks courtesy of local-chef-turned-celebrity, Chef Shota Nakajima—Top Chef runner-up and three-time James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalist—but it was many supporters’ first in-person United Way event in over two years. It made for an electric atmosphere; we were excited to gather and excited to fundraise for the community.
While attendees checked in, United Way of King County CEO Gordon McHenry, Jr., chatted with donors over cozy lighting and custom United Way cocktails. Soon our plates were filled with all flavors of karaage, Taku’s famous Japanese fried chicken, plus, bites like Japanese mac salad, furikake fries and fried rice.
Steve Hooper Jr., President of Ethan Stowell Restaurants, kicked off the speakers at the second seating of the evening by welcoming us and thanking Taku for their partnership, then passed the mic to the restaurant’s culinary director, Nick Springer. He let us in on the restaurant’s story (“Chef Shota wanted a place that served the food he liked to make for himself”) and emphasized Taku’s commitment to inclusivity: they distribute all tips equally among staff and are proud to create a welcoming environment for anyone who walks through their doors.
Lauren McGowan, United Way’s Associate Vice President of Ending Homelessness and Poverty, shared how United Way has supported vulnerable members of the community during the pandemic. Through United Way’s Community Relief Fund, donors have provided rental assistance to over 18,000 households in the past two years and continue to help deliver nearly 6,000 boxes of groceries to families in need every week . Over half of those deliveries are culturally appropriate food that can be difficult for recipients to find elsewhere.
United Way’s work is crucial, and the need is ongoing. Being a part of a giving community like Emerging Leaders 365 or Changemakers is a great way to help make sure the most vulnerable in our community have access to the housing, food and services they need.
If you’re interested in gathering with like-minded donors to learn about United Way’s efforts, don’t miss our upcoming Be Generous events.