Shopping with kindness | The JOLT News Organization, a Washington-based nonprofit


By Mary Beth Harrington, CVA

I know a lot of people have a love/hate relationship with Amazon, but here’s a way to use your purchases to help others.

Recently I received the following notification from Amazon…

This is the quarterly notification to let you know that AmazonSmile has made a charitable donation to your selected charity, ____., in the amount of $16,119.22 as a result of qualifying purchases made. By you and other customers between January 1 and March 31.”

Believe me, the $16,000 donation wasn’t the result of all my purchases, but I suspect I contributed to a lot of them. What is AmazonSmile? AmazonSmile is easy to support your favorite charity every time you shop. There is no cost to you; all you have to do is sign up with your Amazon account (go to for details). According to the Amazon website (and what I can tell), when you shop with AmazonSmile, you’ll find the exact same low prices, huge selection, and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus additional that AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your qualifying purchases to the charity of your choice. You can choose from over a million organizations to support.

Currently, Amazon has made the following donations:

  • Over $355 million to US charities
  • Over $403 million to charities around the world

Olympia Independent Music History Project

The City of Olympia Heritage Commission has launched a two-year project to document, preserve and present the history of Olympia’s late 20th century independent ‘indie’ music scene, with a focus on the 1980s until the early 2000s.

According to the City of Olympia, to complement this effort, city staff have hired a research team to support this work. Elaine Vradenburgh of Window Seat Media, in collaboration with Kelsey Smith of Lefty Copywriting, has already begun reaching out to community members and digging into local archives.

The team brings knowledge of the local music community, strengths in oral history and historical research, and creative ideas and vision. “Music is never made in a vacuum,” says Smith. “We hope to highlight the unique climate in Olympia that influenced our musicians and produced the inspired and supportive creative hub that persists today.” Community members can look for the duo as they host an open house at the Capitol Theater at Love OlyFest this Saturday, August 27.

To stay informed about this and other arts, culture and heritage news, click here to sign up for email notifications from the City of Olympia.

Take a walk on the historic side

The Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum are offering a walking tour of the Bigelow neighborhood and Workingman’s Hill this Saturday, August 27.

Led by OHS and BHM Board Member Paul Parker, the tour will begin at 11 a.m. from the Bigelow House Museum at 918 Glass Avenue NE and continue to Budd Inlet.

After walking up Olympia Avenue and visiting its many historic homes, the walking tour will head towards Puget Street.

From here, tour participants will learn a bit about Workingman’s Hill and see some of the historic buildings and properties uphill from the Bigelow Historic District.

The group will then descend past Bigelow Springs and return to Bigelow House at 12.30pm for refreshments and a brief programme.

Dress for the weather and be prepared for moderate walking.

Note: For security reasons, participation in the tour is limited to the first 25 people who arrive by the time the tour begins at 11:00 AM. Questions: email

Volunteer opportunities:

  • Volunteers are always needed for LoveOly – Summer Fest. To complete the volunteer survey, please click here.
  • Bloodworks Northwest is on duty until September 4 with the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC). In order to be able to respond to any emergency, an adequate blood supply must be available locally and blood donations are consistently lower during the summer months. To see if you can donate, click here.
  • Do you have a background in customer service or customer relations? Concern for Animals is looking for volunteers who can help us operate the phones. For more details on this and other volunteer opportunities with Concern for Animals, click here.

Solicit your ideas

If you know of a nonprofit that’s doing something great, celebrating a success, needs amazing volunteers, or hosting an event, let me know! This column (aside from a little education) celebrates nonprofits!

Mary Beth Harrington, CVA (Certified Volunteer Administrator) lives in Tumwater. She travels the country speaking at conferences and for individual organizations articulating issues facing nonprofits. Send your ideas to


Comments are closed.