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TC Breaks Ground, New Hire Introductions, Bagpiper Sendoffs, and More! Welcome to Together Center's spring newsletter! 


Letter From the CEO

Dear Together Center Community,

30 years ago, four nonprofits on the Eastside did something outlandish and extraordinary. At the time, it might have seemed reckless to buy an old strip mall and create an entirely separate 501c3 for a human services hub model that had not been tested before.

It came with risk and many nonprofits would have backed out. But these four agencies--HealthPoint, Friends of Youth, Youth Eastside Services, and Hopelink--didn’t let the risks stop them. Despite the naysayers and the hurdles, they created the first multi-tenant human service center in the country.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the legacy they left us and our task to steward the incredible community asset they left for the next generation. Since our last newsletter, we packed and moved to our temporary relocation spaces in Redmond, and the old Together Center has been completely torn down! As we walked through the empty halls one last time, I thought about the vision it took to walk through an empty strip mall and imagine a future where barriers to accessing much needed services were reduced, nonprofits would have stable, below-market spaces to rent, and people would find a multitude of compassionate supportive programs in one place.

Together Center has a legacy of fearlessness. Fearlessness, to me, isn’t a lack of fear. No one can be free of fear, be it fear of failure, heights, or the unknown. Instead, I think fearlessness is the drive to not let fear paralyze us - to be able to look at fear straight on, and not let it control your actions. I see that kind of fearlessness from the Board, from our tenant partners, from my staff (now doubled in size- to 2), and every other partner along with us on this journey. Every time there’s a hard decision to make, we don’t flinch. When we have to put everything on the line, we all step up because we understand the urgency and the need for truly affordable housing and accessible human services in our community.

On March 8th, Building A of the old campus was torn down. As I watched the machinery tear the roof off NAMI’s old suite, I got a sense of how those four agency leaders must have felt back then. To build something new, you must tear something down--be it an actual building, your perceptions of what’s possible, or simply your own fears.

In this newsletter, you’ll read about how we’re building on our tremendous legacy. You’ll meet our new Campaign Manager, Anna Carroll, read excerpts from speakers at the Groundbreaking Ceremony, and see pictures from the demolition. Through it all, you’ll read about how this transformative project is building a legacy that will inspire generations to come. If the last generation was fearless, we aim to be boundless—and, as always, we’ll do it together.

Together Strong,
Kim Sarnecki, CEO


TC Sends Off Old Building In Style

When we planned our groundbreaking ceremony, Board Vice Chair Angela Kennedy was excited to share a tradition kept by the city of Seattle: hiring a bagpiper to play a “lament” any time a major demolition occurs. On March 8th, we had our very own volunteer bagpiper play as Building A was demolished in the background. While the song was technically a lament, we were all more excited than sad to say goodbye!


Together Center Breaks Ground

On February 19th, Together Center officially broke ground on the transformation project to create a new campus for whole person health, housing, and human services. With masks, social distancing, and golden shovels, a small group gathered to celebrate the occasion.

“We mark this moment together to announce another bold, new beginning,” said Byron Shutz, Together Center’s Board President, noting that while the celebration was scaled back, “We look forward to a time when Together Center’s greater community can all join in.”

Redmond Mayor Angela Birney was also in attendance and spoke of the importance of the project for the region.

“Today is a giant step forward to build housing for families who cannot otherwise afford to live in Redmond and providing the accessible and much needed services,” she said. 

CEO Kim Sarnecki emphasized that a project of this scale could not happen without strong partnership between Together Center, redevelopment partners Inland Housing and Horizon Housing, the tenant agencies, and the City of Redmond.

“This project is an incredible example of a community coming together to invest in and take care of itself and all its diverse citizens,” she said. “We expect this powerful model of co-located affordable housing and supportive human services to be a national model of equitable and inclusive community care and support for the next 50 years.”

Emphasis was placed on the vision of Together Center’s founders, recognizing the four founding agencies: Friends of Youth, Hopelink, Youth Eastside Services, and HealthPoint; volunteer leaders such as Chair Emeritus John Spangenberg; and longtime CEO Pam Mauk, who served as Together Center’s guiding light for over 22 years.

“They built the sense of place that is Together Center in our Eastside community,” Shutz told the small gathering, “A community of togetherness centered on service, the Together Center community, is built on ideals—ideals we can choose to pursue and make real.”

While the global pandemic may have scaled back Together Center’s celebration, we are thrilled that the project itself has moved forward without delay. All tenant partners have been relocated to alternate locations for the duration of the construction. It is our goal to ensure uninterrupted services for the 30,000 people who annually seek assistance and support at Together Center.


News In Pictures

With Building A vacant weeks before demolition, Redmond Fire had a rare opportunity to stage drills in a real building!

Redmond Fire crews cut the roof at the Together Center in order to train on vertical ventilation techniques. Vertical ventilation allows smoke and superheated gases to escape and improve tenability for victims and firefighters inside the building.

A Redmond firefighter works to advance a charged hose line into a smoke filled room at Together Center. It takes several crew members to quickly and efficiently move a fire attack hose into position.

Redmond Fire crews enter a simulated smoke filled room at the Together Center building with a charged hose line ready to attack the fire.


TC Staff Grows, Hires Campaign Manager

Anna Carroll hit the ground running when she joined the team as the Together Strong Campaign Manager in March. She brings with her 15 years of fundraising experience, including 7 years of capital campaign leadership. Most recently she led Seattle Humane’s $28.5 million campaign to build the new state-of-the-art shelter and teaching hospital in Bellevue. She is excited to parlay her skills into human services and help take Together Center’s transformation project from bold vision to reality.

Tell us a little about you?

I grew up in Spokane, WA but I’ve been in the Seattle area for the last 15 years, with most of that time spent living on the Eastside. Oh, how the region has changed in that time! My original plan was a career in nutrition and I received a Master of Public Health with a Registered Dietitian certification from the University of Washington in 2011. Graduating during the economic recession and a lucky twist of fate led me back to fundraising, where I discovered my passion for capital campaigns!

What drew you to Together Center?

The organization’s legacy of innovation – hands down. I believe the problems facing our community are complex and they require strategic, innovative, and multi-faceted solutions if they’re to be truly remedied. Together Center’s unique operating model was ahead of its time when it was founded 30 years ago and became the first co-located nonprofit center in the nation. Long before WeWork and co-working was a concept, those founders proved that bringing nonprofits together could not only provide much needed rent stability, but it could also multiply impact. I was so impressed to see Together Center’s present-day leaders dreaming just as boldly and strategically. They could have gone the easy route and simply sold the now very valuable land or rehabbed the aging facility to give it another 20 years of useful life. Instead, they asked themselves and their community about the greatest needs and how they could leverage their land equity to do more. They chose the hard route, the innovative route that will help solve more complex issues. From what I understand, it’s been a very heavy lift the last few years. Huge kudos to the team for pursuing powerful partnerships and persisting through the hard work necessary to get Together Center to this point. Thanks to their leadership, the Eastside is now on the range of another first of its kind in the nation project and hundreds of thousands of lives will be fundamentally changed over the next 50 years. That is incredibly powerful, and I just had to be a part of it!

What’s your favorite hidden gem on the Eastside?

I’m not sure how “hidden” these are, but there are so many great beach parks on the Eastside. Kennydale Beach Park and Meydenbauer Bay Park are two “less” populated parks that I like. Meydenbauer is particularly spectacular and it’s right near Main Street Bellevue so you can stroll the shops before or after.

How do you spend your time outside of the “office”?

My two pups, Moose and Jaxson, insist on long walks. I also love a tough work out or going for a run – it’s my mental release. I pride myself on being the silliest Aunty ever and on weekends I can frequently be found on video calls with my nephew and nieces. Oh, and Go Sounders!

Welcome, Anna! You can get in touch with her at togetherstrong@togethercenter.org.


Contact Us

info@togethercenter.org | 425-869-6699

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