Tri-City charities competing for donation

By Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldMarch 18, 2014 

Seven Tri-City charities have a shot at receiving up to $37,000 in donations as part of the Windermere Foundation Charity Challenge.

But the bulk of that amount depends on Tri-Citians casting votes each day now through April 4 for Pasco's Community Action Connections, also called CAC.

The Pasco nonprofit is a finalist for $25,000 that is being offered as part of the foundation's celebration of its 25th anniversary, said Dave Retter, owner and broker for Windermere Real Estate/Tri-Cities of Kennewick. In total, the foundation is donating $125,000 in five regions.

The Pasco charity is competing with four other charities from Wenatchee, Spokane, Coeur d'Alene and Helena for the $25,000. Whoever gets the most votes will receive the dough.

"We are the most benevolent city of all of them," Retter said.

"We need to vote every day," he added, because it is the final tally that will determine the winning charity. It takes less than a minute to cast a vote.

The Pasco nonprofit used to be called the Benton Franklin Community Action Committee, and its former name is what is listed on the Facebook voting.

The Kennewick Windermere franchise that Retter owns nominated seven Tri-City charities for the Charity Challenge. The Seattle foundation committee decided to nominate Community Action Connections to be a finalist for the donation.

The Kennewick Windermere also is donating $12,000 from its own coffers to the seven local charities, no matter what happens in the challenge, Retter said.

The other six charities are Safe Harbor Crisis Nursery of Kennewick, Kennewick teen homeless shelter My Friends Place, Richland's Elijah Family Homes transitional housing program, the Tri-City Union Gospel Mission, Therapeutic Innovations and Recovery -- which runs a Kennewick day shelter called Ken and Teresa's Place -- and the Tri-Cities Diaper Bank.

Community Action Connections helps homeless and low-income families, which is right in line with what Windermere prefers to support with its donations, Retter said.

Community Action Connections helps low-income Tri-City residents pay energy bills and avoid eviction. The local nonprofit also can help families in need receive diapers, necessary prescriptions, coats and some emergency supplies, shelter, first-month rent and deposits, as well as apply for food stamps and childcare for homeless parents.

"I hope that we can get the Tri-Cities behind this thing," Retter said. "It would be a nice boost for the Tri-Cities."

If the Community Action Connections wins, they have decided to donate $5,000 of the $25,000 to the other six local charities the Kennewick Windermere nominated, he said. When the $12,000 from Kennewick Windermere is included, each of those charities would receive $2,833.

To vote, go to www.facebook.com/windermererealestatetricities and click on the Charity Challenge. Or vote at www.windermeretricities.com.

-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com

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