Well, it almost made it to 30 years…sadly, the Seattle Area Support Group (SASG) has announced that their annual and highly beloved holiday/Xmas tree sale fundraiser will not happen in 2018. After SASG lost their longtime home at 17th & Thomas on Capitol Hill (due to their adorable home being torn down…) The owners of the former SASG House, Group Health Cooperative allowed them to continue the Xmas tree lot at the same location beginning in 2014 but Group Health got taken over by Kaiser Permanente and things have…changed. Kaiser told SASG in May of this year that it wouldn’t be possible for SASG to continue with the sale and since locations in gentrificated Seattle are hard (and expensive) to come by, the tradition is ending.
SASG’s Executive Director Joshua Wallace released the news Monday in a letter posted on social media. Apparently, the loss of the fundraiser will NOT impact the group’s finances, which is good. But, if you feel compelled to send them a little donation now and then (at sasgcc.org ) then please feel free to do so!
The letter making the announcement:
Seattle Area Support Groups (SASG) Loses Capitol Hill Tree Lot Fundraiser
Back in 1989, the SASG board of directors and staff launched a small Christmas tree lot fundraiser in the backyard of the house on 17th Ave E and E Thomas St. to fund peer services programming for people impacted by HIV/AIDS. Nearly thirty years later, this fundraiser has grown to be a Capitol Hill tradition and a large revenue source for SASG lovingly produced by a couple of staff and several hundred community volunteers and SASG members. In 2018, this fundraiser was supported by more than 3300 households grossing $268,000 in sales and netting $130,000 in revenue that has been essential in supporting SASG’s mission today of providing peer emotional support services to the LGBTQ community impacted by addiction, mental health and/or chronic illness.
SASG is very sad to share with you that this tradition appears to have come to an end. Our long-time partnership with Kaiser Permanente of Washington (formerly Group Health Cooperative) has been essential to our efforts in executing this fundraiser each year. Since 2014, they have graciously provided us with use of their parking surfaces at the same corner that the house was located on along with a generator to power our lights and portable office. In May, we received a call from Kaiser informing us that use of that parking surface would no longer be possible due to significant changes underway at their Capitol Hill campus. We are so very appreciative of their support over the years in making this fundraiser a continued success and look forward to possible opportunities to collaborate with them for the betterment of our shared membership. Efforts to find a location on Capitol Hill to move our fundraiser to have been fruitless. For this to continue to be a fundraiser, we rely on the efforts of our volunteers and long-time supporters making location essential to producing a justifiable return on investment.
The good news is that the loss of this fundraiser will not impact programming or staffing at SASG. We have been fortunate during our rapid growth over the past couple of years to build diversity in our funding. Proceeds from this year’s event were intended to be used for expansion of space. We will be looking for other opportunities to replace that funding.
We are so grateful to our long-time supporters of this fundraiser, some of whom have been purchasing their trees and greenery from us from the very beginning. We are saddened at the prospect of not seeing each of your faces again this year, but we would love to have your continued support as we move forward with our important work. If you would like to continue your support of SASG programming, please consider making a donation or become a recurring supporter of SASG through our donation portal at sasgcc.org or by contacting our executive director, Joshua Wallace, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joshua A Wallace
Seattle Area Support Groups
115 15th Ave E, Suite 201
Seattle, WA 98112