THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING EVENING OF HOPE
More than 300 community leaders came together for The Seattle Hotel Association’s 22nd Annual Evening of Hope gala, raising over $579,000.
The Seattle Hotel Association designated StolenYouth as the beneficiary of its philanthropy work for three years. StolenYouth is a local nonprofit committed to ending child sex trafficking in Washington state. The association recognized the co-founders of StolenYouth for starting the organization in early 2012. The Evening of Hope opened with a proclamation by Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, declaring Feb. 2, 2019, as the Seattle Hotel Association Evening of Hope.
Sheri Schultz, president, and co-founder of the Schultz Family Foundation introduced the 13 co-founders of StolenYouth and celebrated their vision. She said, “On any given night in Seattle, almost 500 children are bought and sold as a commodity. They are disconnected and vulnerable. Many are homeless. I am honored to support the founders of StolenYouth in their pioneering work to end child sex trafficking, one of the most important human rights issues of our time.”
Speaking on behalf of the co-founders, Patty Fleischmann said, “When we first learned about the issue of global child trafficking, we never could have dreamed we would be where we are today, working to help vulnerable children and youth in our own backyard.”
The new funds will support ongoing work in King County and new programs in Pierce and other counties, homeless youth programs, safe shelter and housing, prevention technologies, job training and educational opportunities.
“It was a magical evening,” said Pam Norick, StolenYouth’s president. “We are so grateful to the Seattle Hotel Association. The funding received from the Evening of Hope gala will allow StolenYouth to provide services to victims and survivors of child sex trafficking and allow us to invest in new technologies, training and other preventative measures.”
Kyra Doubek, a survivor of child sex trafficking, spoke poignantly to the attendees about her recovery from “the life,” when she was being trafficked, as she escaped an unstable home environment. She said, “to each and every one of you, from the deepest place in my soul, thank you for supporting StolenYouth and believing in the mission to end the exploitation of children in Washington state—a child like I once was, and never got to be.”
Seattle Hotel Association President Shannon Sheron said, “The Seattle Hotel Association is proud to support the important mission of StolenYouth in protecting our community’s at-risk children and giving them hope.”
During the past 22 years, the Seattle Hotel Association has enjoyed being a devoted community collaborator in helping to raise the essential funding for many of Seattle’s nonprofits, such as Lifelong, Susan G. Komen, Plymouth Housing Group, Pike Place Market Foundation, Seattle Police Foundation and Mary’s Place. By leveraging the combined influence of downtown Seattle hotel members, the gala has raised $10.43 million to date.