Homeless People and Advocates Camp Out at the Gates Foundation

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October 12, 2011; Source: KPLUIn an effort to raise awareness among philanthropists about the need for their attention on basic issues of survival in times of high need, SHARE/WHEEL, a consortium of  Seattle based organizations run by and advocating for homeless people have bunked down in front of the Gates Foundation. They chose Gates for its high visibility.

In its statement SHARE/WHEEL wrote: “We have decided to do it here because it will shine a light on the corporate foundation that should be doing more for poor people in its own community.”

David Bley, the director of the Pacific Northwest Initiatives at the foundation responded, “We are deeply committed to addressing homelessness in the Puget Sound region. During the past decade, in partnership with non-profits, and state and local governments, we’ve helped to create more than 1,400 affordable apartments for families emerging from homelessness. We support efforts in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties to move families more quickly into permanent housing and to provide them with the employment and other services they need in a more efficient and streamlined way.”

One wonders if the staff will stop to talk on their way in and out.—Ruth McCambridge

  • Floyd Rheos

    I think it’s shameful that a foundation with $69 billion in assets – making it the largest in the world – thinks 1400 affordable apartments over a 10 year period is an accomplishment. It’s comments and thinking like that that gives philanthropy a bad name.

  • Anon

    Agreed. What a drop in the bucket. Clearly the foundation needs to–AND CAN–do a lot more. Shameful–especially that they seem to think that’s enough.

  • AKandrew

    homeless in Seattle is quite a bit better than the people they are helping in Africa and Asia

  • AndyM

    What is shameful is that people and organizations are trying to hurt and shame an organization giving more money than any other group in the world to important causes it has chosen to target – chosen because of importance to the founders and ability to make a difference – here in the US and around the world. While the goal here is an important one, the chosen method is just plain wrong.

  • Jordan

    Despite my own involvement in nonprofit fundraising, I find something fundamentally undemocratic about the whole process. So we let the richest people in the world decide what is important based on their personal whims and agendas? Where money should flow and who deserves help? And we don’t say peep about it because technically they are “giving” it? It’s sort of a perilous arrangement we’ve consented to here. I commend SHARE/WHEEL as they try to speak a bit of truth to power in whatever form power takes.