PLATINUM2024

We Heart Seattle

We Heart Seattle offers a concierge menu of services to quickly solve problems for individuals and the community at large.

Seattle, WA   |  https://weheartseattle.org/

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Mission

We Heart Seattle is an action-based, boots-on-the-ground movement that organizes trash cleanups in our public spaces and offers a helping hand to those in need. Through our direct civic engagement we lead the way to a more compassionate and healthy community. To meet these goals, we: *Organize regular volunteer trash cleanups in public spaces *Offer individualized assistance to those in need *Create a sense of community in real civic engagement w/ people who don't expect someone else to help neighbors in need *Utilize all available safe housing, shelters, & treatment facilities for anyone who is ready *House our neighbors quickly *Clean up litter & eradicate graffiti *Develop great partnerships with like-minded stakeholders *Work cooperatively with city and county employees and leaders

Ruling year info

2021

Founder and Executive Director

Andrea Suarez

Board Chair

Beth Bunnell

Main address

2324 1st Ave Apt 503

Seattle, WA 98121 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

I Heart Downtown Seattle

EIN

85-3654192

NTEE code info

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2020.
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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We Heart Seattle offers a concierge menu of services to quickly solve problems for individuals and the community at large. The main problems we tackle are: 1) remove large quantities of debris in public spaces that public or private services cannot or will not clean; 2) build trust with and solve problems for people living rough who want to make changes in their unsheltered living situation; 3) build a movement of residents who stay informed and civically engaged.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Seattle Litter Pick Events

Activities are led by volunteers, and several contract service providers with lived experience:
*Organize regular volunteer trash cleanups in public spaces
*Create a sense of community by welcoming everyone to be involved in real civic engagement
*Build a network of people who no longer walk by neighbors in need and areas needing repair while expecting someone else to help
*Clean up litter and eradicate graffiti
*Develop great partnerships with like-minded stakeholders
*Work cooperatively with city and county employees and leaders

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total pounds of debris collected

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Seattle Litter Pick Events

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

2023: held 94 debris cleanup events 2022: held 101 debris cleanup events 2021: held 108 debris cleanup events 2020: held 13 debris cleanup events

Number of people no longer living in unsafe or substandard housing as a result of the nonprofit's efforts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Homeless people, Ex-offenders, Victims of crime and abuse, Substance abusers

Related Program

Seattle Litter Pick Events

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Number of community events or trainings held and attendance

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Seattle Litter Pick Events

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Volunteers meet to clean debris in difficult terrain, such as ravines and homeless encampments. Average participation: 12-20 community volunteers & 2 paid staff with homeless living experience.

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Seattle Litter Pick Events

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Community volunteer hours spent cleaning debris in difficult terrain. This activity builds layperson awareness and empathy for people in homeless encampments. Figure excludes Board volunteer hours.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The challenges surrounding Seattle’s urban spaces is well documented, as is the homelessness crisis that results in thousands of people living outdoors, while rendering community spaces unusable for their intended purposes. To address this, We Heart Seattle (WHS) – an action-based, boots-on-the-ground organization – mobilizes hundreds of volunteers for debris cleanups in public spaces and offers resources to the unhoused neighbors we meet along the way.

This unique form of community harm reduction is typically located in difficult-to-access yet highly valuable public spaces that city workers cannot or will not access for several reasons.

WHS achieves dramatic outcomes when measured as a whole, yet these outcomes are achieved by restoring individual public spaces and focusing outreach support to individual people living in those public spaces. Each urban environment or greenspace we restore builds upon the next; each person we assist in moving from homelessness to safe & humane indoor living makes the citizenry stronger.

WHS measures its impact in the following ways:

• Number of debris cleanup events held, tallied by site, zip code and date
• Pounds of debris removed at each debris removal event
• Number of volunteers and volunteer hours contributed to each debris cleanup event
• Number of teams and individuals fulfilling their community service hours with WHS
• Number of people assisted out of dangerous, inhumane situations into safer living conditions inside
• Number of in-depth outreach client engagements, as measured by stipends provided
• Number of people with recent homelessness experience WHS brings on staff (providing meaningful work and compensated with fair wages)

The WHS program involves the following main components, and most of these activities occur somewhat in parallel with cleaning and maintaining a specific park, playground, greenspace, alley, sidewalk, vacant lot, or commercial zone.

Strategy 1: Debris Cleanup & Waste Management as Harm Reduction:
After assessing a degraded public space recommended by community members, a debris cleanup event is scheduled; large numbers of volunteers work 2-4 hours to bag thousands of pounds of waste; WHS rents a truck to haul the debris and hazardous waste to the transfer station, else WHS moves the bagged waste to a location where Seattle Public Utilities can collect them. Some sites are so large and degraded they require 2, 5, or even 8 major debris cleanup events to restore the site. A site steward volunteer is established.

Strategy 2: Outreach and Housing Pathway Activities:
Outreach teams start removing debris from encampments, approximately 25% of the people living there pitch in to help us clean the space they inhabit. In appreciation for their volunteer labor, WHS offers a basic needs stipend in the form of a gift card. We return daily. The Outreach Team continually offers resources that might remove barriers. This includes finding resources to fulfill basic needs like getting a paying job or accessing benefits to establish income. Case Management services are often held in local cafes and restaurants, enabling the client to feel relaxed in a clean, quiet, professional setting. Other common locations are business and government offices while enrolling for benefits, employment, or housing. Transportation is provided. If the client decides they’re ready to move off the streets, we assist them - including in some cases referring people to treatment service providers, employment agencies, transportation, and various housing providers.

Strategy 3: Common Barriers WHS Outreach Team helps people overcome:
We help people get employment through contracted labor arrangements with UpLift Northwest (upliftnw.org, FKA The Millionair Club). We help people establish sobriety to qualify for housing by referring them find a treatment provider who can accomplish this, often on the same day they request it. We provide transportation to wherever they need to go to remove barriers and move into housing.

In 2023:
1) We signed up 440 brand new volunteers for trash clean-ups we now have 1000+ active volunteers.
2) We logged 3,500 person-hours for trash removal and graffiti cleaning.
3) We acquired the paid services of 21 people with lived experience as part-time debris cleaners and outreach staff.

Over our first three years, weve paid living wage hourly rates to 31 hard-working people with a recent history of homelessness, by partnering with a local nonprofit organization that provides dignified jobs and job-readiness services to men and women experiencing poverty and homelessness.

In short, we are volunteer-led and scales to meet the needs of our community.

In September of 2023 we reached two major milestones: we celebrated our 3-year anniversary AND we announced WHS has removed over 1 million pounds of trash from Seattle public spaces.

2023 Impact:
Community Impact: We Heart Seattle restored trails and parks across the city, inspiring sustainable civic engagement and working to restore public safety while advocating for policies that will make the city a safer and more beautiful place for all.

Debris Removal Impact: Through community stewardship we maintain the public spaces we clean for the long term. At our current capacity, we are averaging nearly 30,000 pounds of litter removed per month.

WHS embraced Mayor Harrells One Seattle Day of Service in May, arranging for over 100 dedicated WHS volunteers, ages 11 to 85, to clear over 10,000 pounds of accumulated trash and debris from the Queen Anne Northwest Greenbelt. This was a highly publicized example of a large WHS cleanup.

Civic Engagement Results: To help grow volunteer support overall, we foster community partnerships for larger scale group litter picks, such as corporate day-of-service volunteers and community groups. This engagement model is proving very successful. Volunteers remain THE driving force behind WHS debris cleanups, and per-event participation remains vigorous.

Successful Individualized Outreach and Impact: We Heart Seattle recognizes the interconnectedness of the work we do with those experiencing homelessness and offers recovery-oriented outreach to those we meet during cleanups who also struggle with mental health disorders and drug addiction.

WHS observes that Housing First alone is not sufficient for all situations. Fortunately, WHS offers a concierge menu of services to quickly solve problems for individuals in unique ways.

In November 2023 we learned of a man who completed inpatient detox care but struggled to find housing that would accept him, because of his blindness. There is no public funding for high-barrier (clean and sober) housing, so he needed funds to pay rent. He enrolled in Social Security Disability Income to which he is entitled, but it takes up to 90 days for SSDI to come through. This man was destined to be discharged to homelessness. WHS is providing the gap rent until he starts receiving SSDI, and he is now stabilizing in his new home. He is connecting with other people in the house and attending medical appointments and recovery groups. He demonstrates the drive to make positive changes in his life.

Over our first three years of operation, we established contact with thousands of people living outdoors, and helped 200+ people move off the streets.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, we connect with clients daily or weekly over long periods of time - in-person or by text

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback

Financials

We Heart Seattle
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

We Heart Seattle

Board of directors
as of 03/16/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Beth Bunnell

I Heart Downtown Seattle

Term: 2021 - 2024

Andrea Suarez

I Heart Downtown Seattle

Rebecca Laszlo

I Heart Downtown Seattle

Beth Bunnell

I Heart Downtown Seattle

Stephen Morse

I Heart Downtown Seattle

Michael Shellenberger

I Heart Downtown Seattle

Maria McManus

I Heart Downtown Seattle

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/4/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/04/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.