City of Renton, Doug Baldwin Foundation receive $1.5 million from State for Family First Community Center
Two-year vision of Renton Mayor Denis Law and Seattle Seahawks player Doug Baldwin to build a facility for underserved communities soon to be a reality
Renton, WA: A new community center to serve the families of the Cascade/Benson Hill area in Renton is now a reality thanks to the state allocating $1.5 million in the 2018 Supplemental Capital Budget. The City of Renton and the Doug Baldwin Foundation created a partnership two years ago to build the Family First Community Center, a new community center to provide critical health, recreational and educational opportunities for underserved youth and families in the area. The estimated cost to build the center is about $15 million, and these funds bring the already successful fundraising to the critical mass needed to break ground and begin construction this year.
“This has been a vision that Doug Baldwin and I have been working on for over two years,” said Renton Mayor Denis Law. “Thanks to the tremendous support of our legislators and a phenomenal public-private partnership, we have raised the necessary capital funds to get started.”
The Family First Community Center is a partnership between the City of Renton, Doug Baldwin from the Seattle Seahawks, Renton School District and the business community. The vision of Family First Community Center is to provide youth and families in the area with services such as health and fitness programs as well as educational and recreational opportunities. Renton City Council has authorized $4 million to launch the campaign, and Renton School District is expected to provide land for the center next to Cascade Elementary School.
“What’s making this a reality is a huge commitment from the business community,” said Mayor Law.
First Financial Northwest Foundation was one of the first private partners, and they kicked off the capital campaign with a $3 million donation. Additional donations have been made by Starbucks, Renton auto dealer Car Pros, and ATS Automation. During their company meeting this week, ATS Automation pledged to match every dollar donated by their employees. In addition, several private donors have contributed a significant amount to the center’s fundraising campaign. Renton residents and owners of ATS Automation Tom and Karen Easton have personally donated $75,000, and members of Renton Rotary raised $90,000, the highest amount ever raised. The Boeing Company is working with the Renton School District to provide funding for the educational component once the center is built.
The Cascade/Benson Hill area was annexed to the City of Renton in 2008, and has almost a quarter of the city’s population, with 12 percent living below the poverty line. Twenty percent of the population is 14 years or younger and the community is very diverse. The area has been historically underserved, though after the area was annexed, the city increased police services and also made significant investments in roads and infrastructure. However, there has been no investment in recreation services for family and youth.
“Our youth and families in the Cascade/Benson Hill area desperately need a facility like this,” said Mayor Law. “This project will be built thanks to the strong commitment by both public and private supporters. We have no time to waste—see you at the groundbreaking.”