Welcoming Tabetha Hammer as CEO and President of AAT

Recently, an exciting change has taken place in America’s Automotive Trust— Tabetha Hammer has been appointed CEO and President of the Trust. AAT has several member organizations, including LeMay– America’s Car Museum, RPM Foundation, America On Wheels Museum, Concours Club and Club Auto Powered by Hagerty.

“Our goal to preserve and to celebrate car culture is in good hands with Tabetha,” said Trust Chairman, Michael Towers. “She has performed well in numerous capacities on our Board of Directors since 2016. Her passion, knowledge and expertise are key to achieving our goals to honor and expand America’s automotive heritage.”

Hammer, a 2009 graduate of McPherson College’s Automotive Restoration program, has always been captivated by vehicles of all types. Her passion for collector vehicles and restoration started with antique tractors when, in high school, she participated in the Chevron Delo Tractor Restoration Competition. She won the National Grand Championship in 2003– becoming the first female to win the Championship— and went on to win it again the following year.

Tabetha has been active in the collector vehicle community most of her life. She served a three-year Board of Directors term with the Antique Automobile Club of America, competed in several Hemming’s Great Race time-speed-distance rallies, and has worked closely with the Historic Vehicle Association. In addition, she has judged at numerous Concours d’Elegance events. In her spare time, she enjoys time under the hood and behind the wheel of her 1973 Mini, or any other fun car, and tinkering with and riding her all-original 1964 Suzuki K-11 motorcycle.

“I can’t think of work more exciting and meaningful to me than that of America’s Automotive Trust,” Hammer stated. “I’ve been fortunate to work with many enthusiastic people and organizations to bring recognition and relevancy to collector vehicles and our amazing automotive heritage. I have seen first-hand the value of what America’s Automotive Trust is doing. I’m thrilled by the opportunity to work closely with our member entities, donors and partners for the greater good of all.” 

“What an amazing story. Tabetha progressed from a barnyard tinkerer in Colorado to a national award winner. Then from college student and RPM Foundation grant recipient to a Board Member,” says America’s Automotive Trust Vice Chair and former CEO, David Madeira. “She is now on to the CEO role. I’ve been impressed by Tabetha’s passion and successes over the last decade and could not be more excited for her– or us– in this next step forward.” 

“Possibilities Realized”at Pierce College

“Recognition is nice, but being a finalist makes us reflect on our work and what we can do to get better,” says Dr. Michele Johnson, Pierce College Chancellor.

That’s the forwarding-looking approach of the college as it was named one of the 10 national finalists for the 2021 $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Finalists were selected from the nation’s 1,000 community colleges after a rigorous process involving more than 30 experts. 

Finalists are expected to develop strategies that propel all students to complete college and then to succeed after graduation. In 2019, the Aspen Institute honored Pierce College as a Rising Star for “exceptional levels of improvement.” That $100,000 prize was donated to the college foundation to benefit the three campuses at Fort Steilacoom, Puyallup and Joint Base Lewis McChord.

Pierce College started with goals of access and open doors, the Chancellor said. Then data showed graduation rates lagging behind enrollment. Trustees and the Chancellor vowed to double graduation rates.

“We really know our mission and strive to measure it,” Dr. Johnson said. “We are not afraid to share data.  We know we have made progress, but it would be bittersweet if we get a top prize and we haven’t closed the student completion gap.”

A careful study of the numbers revealed that the largest groups of students having difficulty progressing to graduation are single parents and African American males. Others facing challenges include Pell grant students with financial challenges, second language learners and students in the LGBTQ community. 

“We had to ask, ‘What’s the lived experience of these students?’ and focus on the whole system to help students have a plan of resources to get to the final place,” Dr. Johnson said. “For us it’s about ‘possibilities realized,’ creating quality educational opportunities for a diverse community of learners to thrive in an evolving world.”

During 2020 the Aspen Institute will send a team of national experts on virtual site visits. A jury will convene in early 2021 to select the winner of the $1 million award.



Olympia Homebuilder Shares Success With Local Charities

Years ago, Rob Rice Homes owners, and husband and wife team, Rob and Helena Rice sat down with one goal in mind: to make their philanthropic efforts as meaningful as possible. 

“People saw we were sponsoring and donating money throughout the community, and we were getting a call a week looking for a contribution,” Helena says. “We sat down to prioritize what matters to us, as a business and a family.” 

The pair came to two conclusions. First, they wanted to focus on local charities. Secondly, they wanted to help children and animals. 

“We pick up dogs on the side of the road,” Helena says with a chuckle. “It’s not uncommon for Rob to call me, ‘I have a dog in the car – what do you want to do?’”

They were thrilled to discover Concern For Animals, an Olympia-based animal welfare service that helps pet owners struggling financially. CFA’s services include a pet food bank, veterinary assistance and help for owners who are experiencing abuse or homelessness. Their mission to keep pets with their families struck a chord with the Rices, leading them to participate in the annual Toast For Tails auction.

“They asked for help with water damage in their old food bank building. Rob walked in and decided to build them a whole new space,” says Helena. “Our vendors and partners all came together to help, and we were able to do it as a gift.” Rob Rice Homes is also a proud sponsor of a number of youth sports teams, as well as a regular donor to Providence St. Peter Foundation, where Rob is on the board of directors. This past holiday season, they worked with The Salvation Army Olympia Corps, raising $10,389 – more than double their goal. 

“We like national charities, but we want to act locally,” says Helena. “This community has given us so much. Giving back is the least we can do.” 

Rob Rice Homes communities can be found throughout Thurston County. To learn more about their work, visit www.RobRiceHomes.com. 

26 Years of Celebrating Womxn of Achievement

For the 26th year, YWCA Olympia seeks to inspire South Sound community members during our annual Womxn of Achievement Celebration February 19th. Please join us in honoring this year’s Womxn of Achievement: Talauna Reed, Tanikka Watford-Williams and Earth-Feather Sovereign. 

Talauna Reed has worked tirelessly for institutional accountability.  Knowing this is not popular or easy, and living in a smaller community where her actions could impact her safety, Talauna has been out there, in the public, holding systems to account for institutional neglect at a time when we really need it. 

Tanikka Watford-Williams, along with the Moore Wright Group, was ready to respond to this crisis that has hurt us all and to address unmet needs to support people’s survival.  She has built so many partnerships and is providing services that support peoples’ lives in tangible ways. 

Earth-Feather Sovereign has been relentless in making sure the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women has a voice and that the women have a voice. This is such an important issue that gets no attention. Earth Feather’s efforts have made the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women visible and present in tangible ways.

YWCA Olympia is also pleased to announce Patrisse Cullors as this year’s guest speaker.

Patrisse is an artist, activist, educator, public speaker, best-selling author and Los Angeles-native. They are also the Co-Founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and Founder of the Los Angeles-based grassroots organization Dignity and Power Now. The movement has since expanded into an international organization with dozens of chapters around the world campaigning against anti-black racism.  For the last 20 years, Cullors has been on the frontlines of criminal justice reform and led Reform LA Jails’ “Yes on R” campaign. 

YWCA Olympia is focused on the mission of eliminating racism and sexism to advance the social, political, and economic status of all womxn and girls.  While the organization is specifically focused on racial justice, all activities are aligned with an intersectional approach that places the leadership and wisdom of Womxn of Color at the center.

Welcoming Robin Houde to the WCWB

The Thurston Economic Development Council (EDC) is pleased to announce that  Robin Houde has assumed the position of Program Manager for the Washington Center for  Women in Business (WCWB.) The Washington Center for Women in Business is a program whose mission is to empower entrepreneurs to succeed in business by providing coaching, training, and technical assistance on a wide variety of topics. The WCWB is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

Houde brings a diverse background of education, small business management and marketing experience. Houde began as a volunteer with the WCWB, and accepted the role of Administrative Specialist at the WCWB in March of 2020. She was then named Creative Strategist in May 2020.  

A Thurston County local, Houde is well connected and brings an existing network to the WCWB. She handles marketing and outreach, manages the social media and program oversight of Let’s Talk Business, and offers social media, branding and design coaching. As an Evergreen State College student, she focused the first half of her degree on psychology and health sciences while transitioning her second half towards business and community outreach. 

“I am passionate about building meaningful community relationships and serving the public and  I’m so excited to be able to help provide the resources and guidance to empower women  entrepreneurs,” says Houde. Thurston County is excited to have her on the team, and is looking forward to her work in the near future!

Together! Bringing Hope During the Pandemic

Over the last 30 years, TOGETHER! has adapted into “a grassroots campaign to mobilize the communities of Thurston County into a coordinated effort to support kids and families to reach their goals through basic needs support, collaboration between schools and community organizations, and efforts to advance social, health and educational equity.”

During the COVID-19 restrictions, they have been working hard on behalf of Thurston County’s children.“When the government issued the stay-at-home notice, many nonprofits, government agencies, and medical centers closed when people needed them the most,” says TOGETHER!’s Director of Community Schools, Michael Dennis. “With the support of our community partners, TOGETHER! Community Schools program is able to provide food and housing support for hundreds of families in the cities of Yelm and Tumwater.”

TOGETHER! also traditionally offers programming in local schools. “Since the COVID-19 shutdown, the program has done our best to adjust to the new realities of providing wrap around services to students and families in need,” says Dennis. For many, the pandemic has intensified their challenges and/or disconnection. Families are faced with unprecedented choices around childcare,education and making an income. While some higher-income families are able to stay home to work, many families have to leave home to keep our grocery stores,restaurants, coffee shops, hospitals and farms sustained, leaving families with very little support, time or choices.

“TOGETHER! is at the heart of ensuring that youth in our community have advocates, mentors, and supporters working hard to provide educational opportunities that create brighter and healthier futures. Olympia Federal Savings is honored to be one of TOGETHER!’s long-time partners collaborating to raise responsible and compassionate leaders that will continue to make the South Sound an even better place to work and live for generations to come,” says Sandy DiBernardo of Olympia Federal Savings.

To get involved, contact your local Club House team or donate online to the organization as a whole. There are many ways to become involved and future generations will need extra support to grow through these challenging times. JORDIN MCRAW

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Farm 12: Giving Back Step By Step

At the old Van Lierop Bulb Farm #12 in the beautiful Puyallup Valley, there is a first-class, full-service restaurant and event venue where 100% of the profits go to a charity called Step By Step.

Step by Step’s growing organization needed a new location to support their expanding programs, and they saw a unique opportunity to preserve a beloved farm site and repurpose it to support and serve the surrounding community. When they purchased the farm in 2015,the Step By Step family didn’t have a history of running a farm or growing flowers. They had been growing something else – strong families. For over 20 years, this nonprofit organization had been holistically serving and supporting low-income and at-risk mothers and families,working to help empower them to overcome adversity and work towards brighter futures

While it remains a familiar Puyallup location, the farm had a broad new vision for the future. Each building on the farm was repurposed, and the site is now home to the Germaine Korum Center, named after the founding donors for the project. Step By Step’s headquarters are here, as well as a family counseling and educational center, job training and workforce preparation facility, a culinary training program, a greenhouse – where flowers still grow – and, Farm 12 Restaurant.

Today, the farm has been transformed into a renewed place with purpose, one that will offer a unique and beautiful space to enrich lives and holistically strengthen families in our community – for generations to come. Step By Step’s Founder and Executive Director, Krista Linden, says she loves the quote, “You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are.” She says that the focus becomes helping women to find out what they are naturally good at and help them hone skills in that area

There are many fun activities to do at Farm 12, ways to be involved and opportunities to support the mission. You can host your party or event at the rustic barn, elegant event hall, or Loveland greenhouse, all of which combine to offer a variety of unique and beautiful backdrops, including a sweeping outdoor view of Mt. Rainier. Or simply visit and enjoy a lunch or breakfast at Farm 12.

Farm 12 is a farm-to-family restaurant that empowers people to eat well and do good. Made from scratch, their food is wholesome, thoughtfully prepared, and often inspired by fresh ingredients sourced from local farms. All activities go to support women and families through Step by Step. LEAH GROUT

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Wa. Center for the Performing Arts Gala

The 5th Annual CENTER Stage Virtual Gala was hosted virtually by Olympia’s beloved Ann Flannigan. Through the Washington Center for Performing Arts’ supportive local donors, the event was able to raise over $64,000 to further the arts in our state and communities. Donations are still welcome to sustain the arts and the Washington Center itself through structural updates. “Community support continues to be needed to support the arts now more than ever,” says Executive Director Jill Barnes. “We are grateful for each and every donation.”

A recording of the event has been posted on the Center’s YouTube channel in case you missed the festivities during the live gala. The event was free to attend, and guests were encouraged to order drinks and catering from Dillinger’s Cocktails & Kitchens, which were delivered in advance to be enjoyed during the gala. For more information about the Washington Center,visit www.washingtoncenter.org.

Hands On Children’s Splash! Gala With A Twist

Over 350 people registered and many more watched the first virtual Summer Splash! Gala with a Twist. Many attending online enjoyed Dillinger’s Cocktails and Kitchen offered Party Kits with premixed cocktails and gourmet charcuterie boards. The program shared how the museum is protecting families during their visits,how they are serving the children who need it most, and how the museum is responding to the emerging need for thousands of Creativity Kits to support home-bound students. Over $400,000 was raised and the proceeds ensure the museum will continue safely serving small family groups as well as thousands through art and science learning kits for house-bound students who are distance learning.

The short 30-minute program is still viewable on YouTube: Hands On Children’s Museum Summer Splash Gala with a Twist 2020

Corks & Crush Virtual Fundraiser

The event was virtual, but the giving was very real: nearly 300 attendees raised $407,000 for COVID-19 research at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in the first ever virtual Corks & Crush event.

Hosted by the Good Samaritan Foundation,participants followed a live broadcast of the event and tasted their wine and food from the safety and comfort of home. Attendees were creative in how they set up their homes for the festivities.

The giving was inspired by the video story of Tammy Edwards, an RN at MultiCare, and her husband, Brian, as they shared his tale of COVID-19 recovery and survival.