We Want to Give Back

The team and arena’s ‘One Roof Foundation,’ officially launched, is committed to end youth homelessness, create access and opportunities through hockey to BIPOC youth and elevate voices in communities disproportionately affected by climate change 

By Bob Condor

The sunlight was strong and bright inside the Kraken’s arena preview center Tuesday evening. So were the smiles on the faces of team and arena employees and special guests attending a small, social-distanced reception to celebrate the official launch of One Roof Foundation.

One Roof Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena. Its name signifies the Kraken and Oak View Group organizations working together to unify with Seattle and the Pacific Northwest region. The foundation will connect across the tangible touchpoints of welcoming physical spaces at both the arena and team’s training center, emotional togetherness created by sports and entertainment and purpose-driven financial resources.

“We just became an official team,” said Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke, beaming his signature grin and noting last Friday’s declaration from commissioner Gary Bettman that the Kraken have fulfilled all expansion team documentation and payments to gain formal status as the league’s 32nd franchise. “It’s only right to become an official foundation.”

Leiweke welcomed guests from community action groups ranging from YouthCare to the YMCA of Greater Seattle and more. He confided that yes, he “wants to bring the [Stanley] Cup back to Seattle” but the vision to start One Roof Foundation is what supremely motivated him to join the Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena efforts.

“We want to give back,” said Leiweke moments before his presentation of the One Roof name and  brand mark. “A big motivator for I think many of us is the impact we can have on community. One of my primary reasons I came back [to Seattle] was to launch a foundation that has purpose and serves.”

Perhaps smiling brightest at the event were Mari Horita and Annemarie Scalzo—even before the proceedings officially began. Horita, Kraken vice president of community engagement and social impact, will become executive director of One Roof. 

Scalzo, Kraken director of community partnerships and programs, has been working diligently and relentlessly behind the scenes since she joined the team in August 2019. Her colleagues with the Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena—and more than a few guests—recognize her tireless contributions to making this day happen. 

“It’s a huge day,” said Horita, one of Leiweke’s earliest executive hires. “It’s something we have been working on since the beginning. It is unusual to build the foundation in parallel with the team and arena. From day one, the priority of our leadership and ownership is to give back.”

Horita explained One Roof’s work in and of the community will be focused on three pillars:

+ Helping to end youth homelessness through a wholistic and long-term partnership with local nonprofit YouthCare. 

+ Creating access and opportunities in and through hockey for underserved youth with a focus on BIPOC youth and communities.

+ Elevating voices of and investing in those communities historically disproportionately affected by climate change.

“We believe that every person’s well-being is dependent on every other person’s well-being,” said Horita, who remarked to the gathering that she is heartened by the commitment to community among all employees of the team and arena. “If you’re not OK, I’m not OK. Issues like homelessness, racism and inequity of opportunities affect all of us, not just a small group … We can change lives, especially those of young people, really move the needle. It’s one of the many things that keeps us all working so hard and driving forward.”