A brief history of Assistance League of Seattle

1962: Assistance League of Seattle was chartered as the 31st chapter of the national organization. On October 1, 1962 the charter was presented by Mrs. Alfred B. Wilcox from Assistance League of Santa Barbara at the Olympic Hotel.

1964–present: The thrift shop opened (originally called “Bargain Fair”) and made $9,000 in its first year.

1967-1971: The Shopping a la Carte project stocked carts with small drug and sundry personal items which were taken to convalescent homes where shut-ins bought items at cost. Also, favors and special treats were given on holidays and birthdays.

1967-present: Funds for Futures, now called Financial Aid for Education, provides tuition and books to individuals, regardless of race, age, gender or religion, who are unable to qualify for college funding from any other sources. It is restricted to King County community colleges and vocational schools.

1977-1984: The Maurice Cottier Aid for Fine Arts was established in honor of our first president to help promote the arts in Seattle. Donations were made to the Seattle Symphony, Northwest Boys Choir, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

1980-1986: Stuart Hall, a transition home for teenage girls, provided clothing, personal and household items, recreation, field and shopping trips, as well as needed friendship and caring.

1989-present: Operation School Bell® working with the Seattle School District Family Support Worker program to provide new school clothing to children in grades K through 5 considered at-risk or economically disadvantaged.

1984-1996: Project for the Rehabilitation of Children (known as EEU) was a research and teaching arm of the University of Washington. Assistance League of Seattle provided volunteer docents for guided tours, explaining procedures to visitors who came from around the world. An “Award of Achievement” from the National Disabilities Organization of D.C. was received in 1984.

1999-2007:  We created the “professional group,” a new membership category geared toward working or professional members who have more limited availability to volunteer.

1999-2000: Purchased the property at 1415 N 45th St and the professional group took on the special project of remodeling it to become our new Operation School Bell building. Prior to this purchase, Operation School Bell was in the basement of the Thrift Shop at 1419 N 45th St.

2001-2002: Reduced the mortgage on our original Thrift Shop property from $200k to <$19k, and paid it off a few years later.

2002: Celebrated our 40-year anniversary with a proclamation from Gov. Gary Locke.

1999-2008: Kids on the Block was a puppet presentation made to children grades K-6. Using professional scripts and scenarios to suggest ways of dealing with a myriad of problems facing today’s children – i.e. divorce, handicaps, bullying, learning disabilities, mental health, etc. The life-size puppets were operated by volunteers.

2008-present: The Enrichment Scholarship Program helps fund tuition for deserving students in grades 6-11 to attend extracurricular enrichment classes of their choice in areas such as music, art, mathematics, leadership, debate, journalism, computer science, and similar fields.

2012: Celebrated our 50-year anniversary with a proclamation from Gov. Christine Gregoire.