This month, Eastside-based Friends of Youth (FOY) is partnering with Material Good in Seattle to raise money for its Capital Campaign.
For all of September, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Material Good’s Marigold Little Shirleys — orange ceramic vases — will go toward providing housing for homeless youths.
FOY President and CEO Terry Pottmeyer, a Mercer Island resident, said their Capital Campaign is divided into three phases: a homeless youth services center (The Landing) in Redmond; a new Kirkland campus for the organization’s Youth Services Center and Youth Haven; and, finally, transitional housing for homeless young adults on the Kirkland campus.
The first two phases of the campaign are complete, and all that is left is the transitional housing. Pottmeyer said they will break ground on the first two of four houses for homeless young adults soon.
Each house will be for five homeless young adults between the ages of 18 and 21. They will each have their own bedrooms, but will share the common spaces such as the kitchen and living room with each other. This was intentional, Pottmeyer said, so that they can learn life skills such as how to share space with others and how to live with people they don’t know and who may not have been their first choice. She added that the location of the houses was intentional, as well, because they are near a park, are accessible by mass transit and near Kirkland’s Totem Lake neighborhood and employment opportunities. The houses are also close to the Lake Washington Institute of Technology, University of Washington, Bothell and Cascadia Community College.
FOY’s Capital Campaign has reached the 60 percent mark — about $4.5 million — of a $7.5 million goal.
As part of its partnership program, Material Good shines a spotlight on a different health or arts-related cause each month. Ten percent of the proceeds from all sales nationwide of the specific-colored vase during the designated month will be donated to that charitable organization. Product tags for that organization as well as signage at retail locations and a social media campaign will reflect the partnership.
Material Good founder and CEO Lauren Burman said other organizations they have partnered with include the Fred Hutchinson Obliteride campaign, Hope Heart Institute, Path with Art and Cancer Lifeline.
Burman's mother, Diane Larson, is the owner of Mercer Island Florist.
“The partnerships are about both fundraising but most of all creating awareness about the different organizations,” Burman said.
She added that Material Good will often hold events at its Seattle studio during that month with the community or participate in its partners’ annual fundraisers somehow, such as having Little Shirleys as centerpieces.
Material Good began in honor of Burman’s grandmother, Shirley Larson, who died of cancer. According to the company’s website, Burman decided to do something positive to honor her grandmother — raising money to support cancer research and patient services. But she believed giving people a tangible gift in return for their donation “would make them feel more connected to the cause, and Little Shirleys were born out of this idea.”
The partnership between FOY and Material Good began this summer. Pottmeyer said she already knew Larson and Burman’s family, and when she heard about Material Good’s partnerships with nonprofits, she approached Burman about the two of them working together.
“She was thrilled to partner with us,” Pottmeyer said.
Burman said when her mother introduced her to Pottmeyer, she was immediately inspired by FOY’s mission and was excited by the “enthusiasm of the wonderful staff.”
Little Shirleys are available on the Material Good website at material-good.com as well as at various Eastside stores, including Terra Bella on Mercer Island, Metropolitan Market in Kirkland, Made in Washington and Nordstrom in Bellevue Square, Carousel in Sammamish and Molbak’s Home and Garden in Woodinville.