Previously known as a hotbed for all things tech, the Pacific Northwest has emerged as a global philanthropy hub. Some reasons for this shift are obvious — many local organizations are funded in one way or another by successful tech execs looking to do good with their money. The Northwest is also home to several pioneers in global health and development, like PATH or Rural Development Institute, which have been operating for more than 30 years.
This shift has a range of implications and opportunities for communicators in the region. It has diversified the issues we’re advocating for, the influencers we’re engaging, and the culture we’re working in. All this giving is good for the regional bottom line, and there is an energy and interest in continuing to strengthen this growing philanthropy sector.
When I talked to Heidi Sinclair, former CCO of the Gates Foundation, about this trend, she said drawing attention to the Pacific Northwest as a region where philanthropy thrives will “float all boats” and attract new funding, talent and resources for all. Moving forward, she predicts consolidation as nonprofits and foundations look for opportunities to align vs. compete. Groups like Global Washington are already helping foster these connections.
It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Pacific Northwest’s philanthropy sector. Many nonprofits are using innovative technologies to address global problems, merging the region’s tech roots with its philanthropic future. For example, VillageReach is developing information management systems to improve the flow of health supplies and data to remote clinics in Africa; World Vision is using PDAs and mobile banking units to help people open savings accounts in rural Ethiopia; and One Day’s Wages has used social media to build a grassroots movement to end global poverty.
It’s hard not to be motivated by the innovative and important work these organizations are doing. And for those of us who love to tell their stories, the possibilities are growing by the minute.
Image courtesy of dherrera_96.