Kaiser Permanente’s upcoming $400 million renovation plans for its Capitol Hill campus mean Seattle Area Support Groups will be unable to use the health-care company’s 17th Avenue East parking lot for its Christmas tree sale this year, ending a traditional fundraiser spanning nearly 30 years.
“The good news is that the loss of this fundraiser will not impact programming or staffing at SASG,” writes SASG executive director Joshua Wallace in an announcement of the cancellation of this year’s tree sale. “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.”
The fundraiser started in the backyard of SASG’s former house at 17th Avenue East and East Thomas Street in 1989. The nonprofit, which provides peer emotional support services to people in the LGBTQ community impacted by addiction, mental health, and/or chronic illness, moved into a more clinical office space at 115 15th Ave. E. in late 2015 — The Dunshee House was razed for rowhouses in June 2017.
SASG began using the Group Health parking lot in 2014. Kaiser Permanente acquired Group Health for $1.8 billion in January 2017.
The Christmas tree lot continued in the parking lot that year, taking in $130,000 in revenue after $268,000 in gross sales. It had a record-breaking opening in 2016.
“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,” Wallace writes. “We are so 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.”
People can still support SASG by making a donation at sasgcc.org.