Meet our oldest donor, Joe Epler

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When you meet Joe Epler, you see a man who has led a rich and fulfilling life.

At 103 years old, Joe served on the Millionair Club Charity board for 25 years and is still a faithful donor to our organization. Recently members of the Millionair Club Charity board of trustees and staff helped Joe celebrate his 103rd birthday.

When Board President Dan Keto asked Joe why he’s always made it a priority to volunteer during his busy life, Joe says “I can think of only one word – need. There is lots of opportunity to help people in need, but most people don’t recognize it. The Millionair Club Charity always knows the need.”

Born in 1911 in Sherwood, Oregon, Joe was the oldest of five children. When his family struggled through the Depression, Joe left school at age 18 to help support his family. His life took many turns, and he’s had careers as varied as being an aviator to working at the Seattle Fire Department.

But this amazing entrepreneur and family man always found time to help others who are less fortunate. This heart of service brought him to the Millionair Club Charity.

“I have been on many boards of non-profits over the years.  But my 25 years working on the Millionair Club Charity board stands out,” Joe says. “The program has dramatically changed the lives of many over those years and continues to do so.”

Urban farming initiative gets attention

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When we invited the press to come visit our facility and see our Hydroponic Demonstration Garden on display, it generated a lot of positive media attention. See a summary of what the media had to say:

Puget Sound Business Journal

Entrepreneur’s garden idea sprouts in a Belltown basement

An entrepreneur’s 3-year-old dream of operating farms on the roofs of big warehouses and other commercial buildings is raking root at Seattle’s Millionair Club Charity.

There, hundreds of plants are growing…

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Daily Journal of Commerce

Millionair Club starts farm in its basement

You could be taking a bite out of urban poverty when you dig into a salad in Seattle…

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King 5 News

Millionair Club creates hydroponic farm at Seattle shelter

A Seattle charity organization is now in the urban farming business.

The Millionair Club Charity has created a hydroponic farm in the basement of its Seattle shelter.

Farm Manager Chris Bajuk said hydroponics is by far the most environmental form of farming…

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KOMO News

Charity grows food for homeless in a Belltown basement

The Emerald City has goats, chickens and all kinds of urban farming going on – and now a nonprofit that feeds the homeless is jumping on the bandwagon.

It’s happening at the Millionair Club in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood.

Club members serve more than 90,000 meals a year to the homeless and now, instead of buying fresh produce, they’re growing it right in their basement…

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Nonprofit Quarterly

Urban farm grows opportunity in Seattle basement

The Millionair Club in Seattle has, since 1921, been offering jobs and other support to people who are homeless and unemployed. They also provide more than 90,000 meals a year to the homeless, so a year-round “kitchen garden” is a handy thing to have…

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Letter from Executive Director Jim Miller

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Dear friends and supporters of the Millionair Club Charity,

It’s been a fulfilling year at the Millionair Club Charity thanks to our donors, volunteers, staff and community supporters.

I’m very pleased to report that in 2013 we helped 89 of our workers rebuild their lives by getting them into regular employment—that’s an 85 percent increase over 2012! More than 400 workers went out on daily work assignments, providing them with confidence and practical on-the-job training. We’re also excited to tell you that 50 men and women who were homeless are now in housing, thanks to assistance from our staff. We helped prevent another 15 individuals from losing their current housing. And, eight more of our participants have received financial assistance to get into permanent housing soon.

A big focus for us last year has been to wrap as many services as we can around our workers to help set them up for success. We expanded our Clothing Closet, where workers can get appropriate clothing for a variety of jobs and also for interviews. We have added new trainings for our workers in a range of practical topics, including many involving worker safety on the job site. More than 500 of our participants received our wraparound services last year.

I like how Ben, one of our workers, summed it up to our staff last summer, “The Millionair Club Charity is everything you need to get back on your feet.”

Our goal for 2014 is to grow our programs with a new focus on social enterprises that can get our workers more quickly on a path to regular good paying jobs while providing the Millionair Club Charity with greater financial security. Our annual goal is to move 100 people into regular employment and to help 100 men and women who are homeless find stable housing in 2014.

I’ve been pleased to see that poverty and income inequality are increasingly becoming national topics of discussion. As we focus on how we can make a greater impact in our local community, we are continuing to look for new ways to partner with other organizations to better meet the needs of people experiencing unemployment and homelessness in the Seattle area. And, we are continuing our programs that provide two hot, nutritious meals to hundreds of people every weekday and shelter space to 80 homeless individuals in our building every evening.

We look forward to a rewarding year of helping people rebuild their lives. Thank you for your continued support.

Happy New Year,

Jim Miller

Executive Director

Wellness expert discusses the importance of positive health to our participants and staff

Dr. Kyle Bergquist (l) and Kevin Vandenbosch (m) speak to a participant about their wellness services.

Dr. Kyle Bergquist (l) and Kevin Vandenbosch (m) speak to a participant about their wellness services.

Earlier this morning participants and staff at the Millionair Club Charity were treated to listening to Dr. Kyle Bergquist speak on the subject of positive mental health.

Dr. Bergquist, a chiropractic physician at Seattle Physical Medicine (located on Fairview and Denny), spoke on the relationship between physical pain and the emotional and mental stress in our lives. Participants were later offered the opportunity to sign up for a wellness exam and x-rays at a very affordable rate of $25.

“I am honored the Millionair Club Charity invited me to speak to their participants this morning on the importance of positive mental health. I am a firm believer that finances should never get in the way of someone pursuing quality healthcare,” Dr. Bergquist said.

Also representing Seattle Physical Medicine was Kevin Vandenbosch, a licensed massage therapist.

Frequently the Millionair Club Charity invites experts in areas such as health and wellness, smoking cessation, veterans assistance and meditation to speak to our participants and offer them advice and services they otherwise would not get anywhere else.

We are thankful for our community partners and volunteers who give their time and expertise to the Millionair Club Charity.

We would also like to take this opportunity to invite people in our community who believe they have something they can offer our participants. Whether you work in healthcare, counseling, employment services or have connections to these types of organizations, please give us a call at 206-728-5627. Let’s start a dialogue!

Dr. Bergquist and Kevin Vandenbosch with Rhonda Kopelli, director of employment and training at the Millionair Club Charity.

Dr. Bergquist and Kevin Vandenbosch with Rhonda Kopelli, director of employment and training at the Millionair Club Charity.