Representatives from the Seahawks' Spirit of 12 Partners were on site at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Thursday, with the club announcing Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington State, Camp Fire Snohomish County, Outdoors for All, and Rainier Scholars as its organizations for this year's program presented by CenturyLink.
The five organizations involved with Spirit of 12 will help distribute the Seahawks' Gameday Magazine at home games during the 2017 season. Each community-based nonprofit will keep 100 percent of the proceeds, an amount that's then matched by Seahawks owner Paul Allen and his Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.
"I would say the most important thing for us is it allows our program to come together and rally around as a community to raise critical funding for our program, but to do it all together," said Bethany Furubayashi, Development Officer, Major Gifts and Corporate Giving for Rainier Scholars. "We're an academic enrichment program that spans 12 years, starting with working with scholars and families in fifth grade and going all the way through until they're college graduates. This gives a chance for all of us to kind of pool together and create that team kind of spirit to benefit our program."
Since its launch in 2004, the team's Spirit of 12 program has enlisted the help of over 14,000 volunteers to distribute more than 371,000 programs to Seahawks fans. More than $3.8 million has been raised to date, including $366,876 last season.
"We use most of the funding from Spirit of 12 to support leadership development for high school students in our program," Furubayashi said. "We do a series of retreats that helps young students of color from low-income backgrounds learn that leadership takes all different forms and different styles. They come together for three days of retreat to think about how they want to be seen and active in the community as leaders. They study different models of effective and ethical leadership and this program really funds those retreats and that effort."
Added Michael Deal, Operations Director of Camp Fire Snohomish: "We've raised anywhere between $50,000 to $100,000 every year we've done it. This is our ninth year now. All of that money goes toward serving low-income children in Snohomish County. Most of it at our camp, Camp Killoqua up in Stanwood. At our camp we have lots of speciality programs, we have an inclusion camp, which is for youth that have developmental disabilities, and we also have a grief camp for kids who have just lost a loved one, a parent or a sibling. So you can imagine those programs are extremely important for those kids. But then also the low-income children, people that wouldn't be able to attend camp normally are able to come because of this program."
Each Spirit of 12 partner is set to work at two games throughout the Seahawks' 2017 campaign, and Deal said those volunteer opportunities can be just as valuable as the funds raised.
"It's an opportunity for our volunteers, our children and parents of our kids, to be able to be part of this amazing organization," said Deal. "It's really cool when we bring our families up here they feel like they're part of the team almost, and they kind of are. They are really proud to represent the Seahawks, they're really proud to represent Camp Fire, and they're coming in and wanting to do the best job they can do.
"It gives the kids amazing skills," he added. "It gives the children an opportunity to make sales, to greet the public, put themselves out there in a role where they normally wouldn't, and in a safe environment because their parents are with them, or their guardian. The skills that kids learn when they have the opportunity to do this is probably just as important as the funding."
Here's a look at the Seahawks' Spirit of 12 Partners schedule for this upcoming season:
- Preseason Week 2 vs Minnesota Vikings: Rainier Scholars
- Preseason Week 3 vs Kansas City Chiefs: Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington State
- Week 2 vs San Francisco 49ers: Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington State
- Week 4 vs Indianapolis Colts: Rainier Scholars
- Week 8 vs Houston Texans: Camp Fire Snohomish
- Week 9 vs Washington Redskins: Outdoors for All
- Week 11 vs Atlanta Falcons: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound
- Week 13 vs Philadelphia Eagles: Outdoors for All
- Week 15 vs Los Angeles Rams: Camp Fire Snohomish
- Week 17 vs Arizona Cardinals: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound
Photos of fans from the ninth day of 2017 Seahawks training camp at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.