From left, Cheri Ryan, Hopelink CEO Lauren Thomas and Kevin Stadler at the $1 million gift giving gathering of the Elizabeth Ruth Wallace Living Trust. Courtesy photo

From left, Cheri Ryan, Hopelink CEO Lauren Thomas and Kevin Stadler at the $1 million gift giving gathering of the Elizabeth Ruth Wallace Living Trust. Courtesy photo

Hopelink receives $1 million gift from Elizabeth Ruth Wallace Living Trust

  • Wednesday, February 21, 2018 9:48am
  • News

Born in Montana and raised in the northwest, Elizabeth Ruth Wallace worked for the U.S. Army, helped her husband run the family pharmacy in California, operated travel agencies and traveled the world. Shortly before she passed away in December 2016, the 92-year-old Wallace asked her heirs to share her estate with causes and organizations that reflected her values. Redmond-based Hopelink has received a $1 million gift from the fund.

Wallace’s niece Cheri Ryan, who serves as the fund’s trustee, said the family made a concerted effort to choose locally run organizations they knew would make the best use of the money.

“We wanted to make a real difference in the community,” Ryan said. “At Hopelink, you can see the impact and feel the impact of the services they provide.”

Ryan first learned of Hopelink through a friend who volunteers at Hopelink’s Redmond food bank. She said her friend shared stories of clients who are working but still struggling to get by; families who are only one paycheck away from being homeless. Together, Ryan and her friend, Katherine Johnson, toured the Bellevue center and Ryan was impressed by the facility, the grocery store-style food bank and the programs offered. Earlier that month, Ryan signed up the living trust as a presenting sponsor for Hopelink’s October fundraising luncheon with Dr. Jill Biden.

The family’s generosity didn’t end there.

“We came away from the luncheon so impressed,” Ryan said. “The stories that were told were very powerful; there was a beginning and an end to their journeys. They showed that Hopelink is really making a difference.

“It was a great example of what’s possible, and we all came away thinking, ‘you guys are doing some good.’”

That day, Ryan wrote another check to help provide Hopelink services. And later, as the family continued to make decisions on distributing the trust, they remembered the two former clients from the luncheon who had shared their inspiring stories. They thought of “Aunt Bette” and what mattered most to her and to other seniors, and the people they’d met at the Bellevue food bank and the others who weren’t so fortunate.

And then they decided to make a significant investment in helping more people attain stability and exit poverty, through a $1 million donation to Hopelink’s Campaign for Lasting Change.

Hopelink CEO Lauren Thomas said the donation will help build a stronger, healthier community, and will change lives for many years to come.

“We are absolutely thrilled with this very generous gift,” Thomas said. “The support of the Elizabeth Ruth Wallace Living Trust will enable us to help people in crisis meet basic needs, while helping others get back on their feet and begin their journey out of poverty.

“And as we put the finishing touches on our new Redmond center – which will provide services to 5,000 people every year – this gift will literally open doors for those we serve, while paving the way for us to reach even more people in need in the future.”

To date, Hopelink’s capital campaign has raised $18.4 million toward a $20 million Phase I goal, and has already renovated and expanded housing in Kenmore and opened a new, larger service center in Shoreline. This summer, Hopelink will open a new integrated service center in Redmond.

Elizabeth Ruth Wallace

Elizabeth Ruth Wallace

More in News

Melody Kieffer, an office manager at Laura Ingalls Wilder Elementary School, addresses the school board on Monday. Madison Miller/staff photo
LWSD office personnel may see pay cuts next year

LWSD and LWESP are bargaining for a new three-year contract.

District Court Judge Peter Nault dies after 25 years on the bench

The county council will appoint a judge to fill the open spot.

Redmond’s Community Court hits one-year milestone

The court uses a different approach to addressing low-level offenses.

RapidRide to end with Totem Lake following alternate Redmond proposal

Metro officials say they are moving forward with long-range plan.

Redmond’s Neelam Chahlia crowned as Mrs. Washington America and competing for the national Mrs. America title on Aug. 26. Photo courtesy of Neelam Chahlia
Redmond’s Chahlia to compete for Mrs. America 2020 title

Mrs. Washington America winner says her journey embodies the ‘American Dream.’

Port of Seattle grants fund economic development across the Eastside

2019 Port of Seattle funding supports economic development projects in Eastside cities.

FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies block off access to the Kent Station parking garage after a deputy shot and killed a suspect in a reportedly stolen Honda Civic in 2018.
King County Sheriff’s Office develops I-940 training to reduce deadly force

Recruits hired after Dec. 7 will need additional training coming out of the academy.

Doreen Marchione at her retirement celebration in 2017. File photo
Former Redmond mayor Doreen Marchione dies at 80

Marchione served on Redmond City Council as well as Kirkland City Council.