A new, non-profit organization called The Redmond Foundation has been formed to foster public/private partnerships for Redmond’s centennial celebration in 2012 and a vision for Redmond’s next 100 years.
Founding board members are Redmond Mayor John Marchione; Dan Angellar, general manager of the Redmond Marriott; Linda Benson, development director at Hopelink; Peter Chee, CEO of thinkspace; Microsoft retiree and education advocate Matt Loschen; former Redmond City Council member Nancy McCormick; Dr. John Midtling, clinic supervising physician at Evergreen Healthcare; Bruce Sult, principal at Falco Sult; Keri Stout, executive director of the Bellevue Family YMCA (which serves Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland); and Jason Van Nort, government and community relations manager at Puget Sound Energy.
These volunteer board members bring an eclectic mix of experiences and community ties to the table. They’ll reach out to both Redmond residents and business people to seek funding and support for programs and events which “honor the past, harness present potential and shape a chosen future,” according to the foundation’s vision statement.
Marchione explained, “Kirkland’s Fourth of July is a great example of a successful public/private venture. I find greater participation when these partnerships exist. Redmond Derby Days used to be a public/private venture driven by the business community. I hope to return to that partnership through the The Redmond Foundation.”
Marchione added, “Another reason to form the foundation is to give the people who live and work in Redmond an opportunity to directly support projects that move the city toward a community-defined vision. The foundation will be able to provide a non-profit destination for donor dollars as well as a structure to help individuals and groups move through the process to identify, validate, fund and execute their community-focused projects and programs.”
While it’s the city’s duty to provide gathering spaces and recreation for people of all ages, “the Redmond Foundation is envisioned as another way to help meet these needs, working in partnership with our community,” Marchione noted.
According to Van Nort, planning for Redmond’s centennial is “a priority for the foundation to determine in the coming months. There should be efforts that help promote and honor the history of the city. At the same time, they should support and move the community forward in recognizing the cultural diversity of the city as it exists today and improve the lives of not only its residents but those that choose to work in the city.”
Van Nort believes the foundation will focus on “four basic components of a healthy and vibrant community: the arts, technology, a healthy living environment and sustainable environment.”
Loschen said his passions include the performing arts. His family has been involved with drama programs at Redmond High School, Evergreen Junior High and SecondStory Repertory. He’s also an avid cyclist.
“I obviously see opportunities to partner with my old friends at Microsoft,” said Loschen. In addition, “I certainly see the performing arts as playing a role in Redmond’s next hundred years and I expect we’ll be building on our familiar ‘bike culture’ … (and) embracing the diversity of Redmond, our Indian and Russian communities, etc.”
Angellar commented, “As a hotelier, I am excited about the potential of tourism in Redmond. However, at this point, we remain a well-kept secret outside of the Seattle area. Once people visit our city, they want to return, but it’s hard to describe Redmond to those who’ve never been here. With more focus on a long-term vision and understanding of what the people of Redmond want our city to become, we will have a better opportunity to share that image and vision outside of our city.”
He said Cirque du Soleil and concerts at Marymoor Park have helped to bring in visitors.
“More of these types of events, combined with some larger, multi-day events would help attract more visitors to come stay in Redmond and support our local economy,” Angellar suggested.
Imagining how the Redmond Foundation can spotlight the city’s business sector, Chee said, “The types of learning events that we host at thinkspace normally involve a local entrepreneur who has built up a successful business and shares the successes and failures they have learned along the way. … I would like to see us celebrate the great things related to how we have grown from the commerce side over the last 100 years. Many times we overlook all of the amazing successes that happen because we’re always focused on the longer-term goals.”
Also, said Chee, “I would like to see Redmond continue to grow as a hub for technology and innovation and how that integrates more with our everyday life in the form of a technology park.”
McCormick remarked, “With careful cultivation, I believe the (Redmond) Foundation, the city and many of Redmond’s corporate citizens can develop very successful partnerships that will benefit the entire community. The foundation has already begun this effort with several major key players.”
Consultant Jeni Craswell, who is helping the foundation with its communications, concluded, “This network reaches only as far as people we’ve talked to, so far. We know there are many others who might want to get involved.”
To learn more about the Redmond Foundation or contribute your ideas, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.