A Commitment to Community

By March 20, 2017Community Involvement

Since its founding in 1961, Horizon House has been known for its commitment to community – the resident and staff engagement that touches lives inside our own walls and those of our neighbors. The means of accomplishing this community involvement are as varied as the recipients. Let’s begin with the efforts here at home.

In-house Philanthropy

Our Philanthropy team, consisting of Horizon House residents, their families, staff, vendors, and community stakeholders, conducts a Partners in Caring fundraising campaign annually. In 2016, 86% of residents participated in this drive, raising $368,600 for a variety of funds. Last year, the Residents Assistance Fund distributed $640,000 to eleven residents who had outlived their assets, providing peace of mind to them and their loved ones. A total of $8,775 was distributed to 12 staff members for help with education and training in such areas as pre-med, nursing, and IT this past year. (Though administered by the Human Resources department rather than Philanthropy, emergency employee assistance for things like travel expenses to help an injured family member or burial costs amounted to a disbursement of $870 in 2016.) Quality of resident life was enhanced by eight grants totaling $43,090. The funded projects ranged from a new art printing press to an oil and water separator that prevents pollution from our car washing operation. Horizon House also makes a $50 gift for every resident who passes away, leaving it up to their loved ones as to how they’d like to designate that gift. In 2016, 14 of our families designated Horizon House funds as the recipient of their memorial gifts; other recipients included the Alzheimer’s Association, Earthjustice, KCTS 9, Seattle Symphony, and the University of Washington Foundation, to name a few of the 80 organizations represented. All told, memorial and tribute gifts totaled $16,700 in 2016. Planned and major gifts amounted to $689,000 in 2016, bringing our total endowment to $17.7 million.

Volunteer Efforts

Horizon House residents and staff are also extensively involved as volunteers, giving generously of their time to a wide range of not-for-profits. Several of our employees serve on boards, from Freeway Park to the First Hill Improvement Association (FHIA), and at national senior living organizations such as LeadingAge and the United Church of Christ’s Council for Health and Human Services Ministries (CHHSM). Staff also participates in annual drives sponsored by major charities like United Way and Northwest Harvest, as well as organizing our own Thanksgiving dinner donations to needy families at a local elementary school. Resident knitters and seamstresses donate hundreds of their creations to a variety of homeless organizations, like Mary’s Place and Harborview. Many more of our residents work with Plymouth Housing to bring lunches, bingo, and good cheer to the residents of Sylvia’s Place and Simons House. New this year is a volunteer collaboration between Horizon House residents and the University of Washington’s School of Public Health that assesses resident engagement and vitality and gives UW School of Public Health students and faculty an opportunity to study and work with older adults in a structured retirement community environment. In 2016, we logged an estimated 2,840 volunteer hours. At the current statewide $11 minimum wage (which is lower than Seattle’s and other jurisdictions), those hours are worth $31,240.

Community Support

Horizon House furnishes free meeting space to more than a dozen community not-for-profits, including Elderwise, the League of Women Voters, the Pugetarians, Northwest Center for Creative Aging, Parkinson’s Support Group, and Washington State University. In 2016, these organizations spent close to 200 hours in our meeting rooms, a donation on our part worth approximately $16,000 in rental fees.

For the past several years, the Horizon House Board of Trustees and residents have worked together to identify recipients of community grants, dues, and sponsorships. The common thread among the organizations we support is their commitment to enhancing the lives of older adults—through activities and services that benefit Horizon House and the larger Seattle community. A great example is grant recipient Wider Horizons, Central Seattle’s “village” that provides, as well as vets and recommends, resources for seniors so they can remain in their own homes for as long as they choose. In 2016 our community support totaled $95,400.

As an organization and as individuals, Horizon House residents and staff truly “walk the talk” of our mission statement with their heartfelt support of “dignified aging, life fulfillment, and service to the broader community.” Thank you for your commitment.

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