This is your midsummer nonprofit roundup


By Mary Beth Harrington, CVA

Lots of local nonprofit news this week, so let’s get to it!

Make your vote count!

Did you get your Thurston County ballot? The primary election ends Tuesday, August 2, so now is a good time to check the Thurston County League of Women Voters website for candidate information.

The League of Women Voters of Thurston County is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to encourage informed and active participation in government, increase understanding of key public policy issues, and influence the public policy through education and advocacy. Our Thurston County organization is a volunteer-run organization that currently has over 160 members. Anyone aged 16 and over can become a voting member. Click here for more details on the organization.

And click here to see the Candidate Forums video on the primary races for

  • District 22 House Legislative Seats,
  • House District 35 Position 2,
  • Congressional District 10, and
  • Secretary of State.

Local volunteer opportunities

Relay for Life

Relay For Life is the world’s largest volunteer fundraising event and supports the efforts of the American Cancer Society. Relay For Life in Thurston County will take place this Saturday, July 23, from noon to midnight, at North Thurston High School.

Participants and volunteers are always needed for the event, but even if you’re not volunteering or racing, everyone is always welcome to cheer on local survivors in the first lap of the day. Caregivers of cancer patients (currently or previously diagnosed) then join the Survivors. In addition to the race, there will be local performers and as night falls, bags of luminaria will circle the track as part of the memorable luminaria ceremony. Pre-register by clicking here – and avoid the queue when you arrive.

Eradicate the Yellow Archangel!

Did you know that the invasive plant species Yellow Archangel can be spread through yard waste? To eradicate this and other invasive plant species, Olympia Parks and Recreation will be hosting a volunteer work party this Saturday, July 23 at Springwood Parcel (formerly Zabel’s Rhody Garden) located at 1500 Springwood Ave NE (see map with this story ). All applicable local and national Covid-19 safety guidelines will be followed. Be sure to dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes or boots that can get wet and muddy. Volunteers 14 and under must be accompanied by an adult and any youth under 18 without an adult present must have an online waiver electronically signed by a parent/guardian. Please arrive 10 minutes early to park and register. For more information, please call 360-753-8365 or email

Olympia Music in the Park and LoveOly SummerFest

The team is looking for volunteers to help with their events. Orientation for Music in the Park will be held weekly at 12:30 p.m. at 615 Washington St SE, Olympia, WA 98501 (Sylvester Park) and Volunteer Orientation for LoveOly Summer Fest will be held next Wednesday, July 27, from 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. . : 45 h The orientation will be recorded and made available to those who cannot attend at this time.

For more information on volunteering for Music in the Park Click hereand for more information on volunteering for LoveOly Summer Fest Click here.

Local arts events

  • The Olympia Film Society, the Women of Color in Leadership Movement with Media Island International will host a film screening of Buffalo Soldiers: Fighting on Two Fronts followed by a Q&A with director and producer Dru Hole this Thursday, July 21 at the Capitol Theater located at 206 5e Avenue SE in Olympia. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the film screening will take place at 7:00 p.m.. According to the film’s description, in 1866, six all-black cavalry and infantry regiments were created after Congress passed the Army Organization Act. They became known as the Buffalo Soldiers. Buffalo Soldiers: Fighting on Two Fronts explores the often contradictory role played by the Buffalo Soldiers throughout American history, with particular emphasis on the colonization of the American West. The event is free; however, donations will support The Women of Color in Leadership Movement, a group cultivated as a safe space for women of color to discuss issues, events and experiences that uniquely affect them. For more information on this event, Click here.
  • The Percival Plinth Project continues throughout July. The baseboards at Percival Landing host a new selection of loaned sculptures each year from local and regional artists. This year eighteen sculptures were installed along Percival Landing and are now on display. A community vote is currently underway and the city will purchase the sculpture that receives the most votes for permanent display at a venue in Olympia. Sculptures not awarded the public prize are available for purchase after the exhibition. The public vote takes place in July on Engage Olympia.

Local Fundraising Effort: Puget Sound Estuary

Yesterday was the first day of the national 2022 “A Thriving Community” fundraising challenge. This month-long fundraiser supports the Puget Sound Estuary Mission through a community-supported grant application. A community thrives is a USA TODAY NETWORK grantmaking and crowdfunding program running July 18 through August 12, 2022. The initiative is part of the Gannett Foundation and supports nonprofit organizations with projects focused on the community building. If the Estuarium can raise $3,000 by August 12, it will be eligible to potentially receive a grant from the reserve of 2 million available funds. This year, they applied for funding to support internships that will help expand the organization’s service to Southern Sound communities as well as allow speakers to share their expertise through exhibits and programs. For more information on this fundraiser, 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


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