Philanthropy award recognized entire Mercer Island community

MIYFS annaul breakfast Feb. 12.

The entire Mercer Island community is to be honored at the Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (MIYFS) Foundation’s annual breakfast fundraiser event on Feb. 12.

The MIYFS Foundation’s 2020 Community Philanthropy Award will be given to the entire Island community for its support of the Mercer Island Thrift Shop. Suzanne Philen, Thrift Shop business coordinator, will accept the award on behalf of the community.

The award is given at the annual breakfast to an individual, business or organization on the Island to recognize a strong partnership with MIYFS.

“The Thrift Store will accept on behalf of the community. It wouldn’t exist without donations, volunteers championing throughout the years, customers’ support. Really it takes a community effort,” Philen said.

In 2019 the Mercer Island Thrift Shop achieved an annual gross revenue of $1.9 million, contributing more than 60 percent funding toward the MIYFS annual budget. Philen said the community has been the backbone of the Thrift Shop for its 45 years. Its success is built by those who volunteer, those who shop and those who donate.

The money raised via the Thrift Shop funds MIYFS services, such as the mental health counselors in every school on the Island, emergency assistance, senior services, and other youth and family counseling including alcohol, tobacco and other drug education and support.

Philen said it’s a unique model for MIYFS to be a department of the city, and she’s excited to be celebrating that cause as well as all the other positives that come along with thrifting.

“I’m really excited to accept the award on behalf of the community to recognize what they’ve built and also the values of the Mercer Island community in supporting all of the secondary things that come along with our mission,” Philen said.

She said that includes recycling and other sustainable practices, noting how the whole culture of thrift has changed over the years.

“People look at it differently now,” she said. “It doubles as a way to recycle your own goods.”

The Thrift Shop is always in need of more community members to help.

The breakfast event will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at the Mercer Island Community and Events Center. Registration can be completed at

All proceeds support MIYFS, which provides social and mental health services on the Island. To learn more about the Thrift Shop and the full range of services provided by MIYFS, people can find that information at

“I’m happy to accept the award on behalf of the community. It’s an awesome thing to recognize,” Philen said.

In a letter inviting the community to the breakfast, the MIYFS Foundation’s Breakfast Club wrote, “the entire mission of MIYFS is to lift up those among us who are in difficult situations. Regardless of circumstances, age or income, MIYFS is able to provide crucial practical assistance, far exceeding that which any one of us could offer on our own.

“We are very hopeful that by the time you digest this breakfast, not only will you be reminded of how much MIYFS does for our residents, you will also embrace the important task of ensuring the organization continues to do its crucial work in our community.”

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