Pooling Our Resources 

One Roof Foundation honors interconnectivity of local nonprofit sector with invites to Kraken games via Tide Pool program presented by WaFd Bank. Let the raves begin – By Bob Condor @ByBobCondor nhl.com/kraken

December 11, 2023

“All things are one thing, and one thing is all things … It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.”

– John Steinbeck, “The Log from the Sea of Cortez”

Seattle and Washington state are opportune areas to discover tide pools brimming with sea life, from the city itself (Carkeek Park, Golden Gardens, Constellation Park) up to Edmonds, Grays Harbor, Deception Pass at Whidbey Island and back south to Burien and Tacoma. Kids especially love the adventure of tidal pooling, a chance to spot all sorts of surprises in a diverse and decidedly fluid ecosystem.

Fittingly, there’s another tide pool worth exploring: One Roof Foundation’s Tide Pool program presented by founding partner WaFd Bank. The initiative affords complimentary tickets to Kraken home games to provide a night of its own sense of wonder and discovery for the recipients, staff, volunteers, and donors of local nonprofit and community organizations committed to improving lives here in the PNW.

The Tide Pool program launched during the NHL franchise’s inaugural year on the ice and hosted 137 community organizations last season alone. The name is intentional to emphasize that “it is through interconnectivity of each organism that tide pool can sustain life, sometimes in a harsh environment.”

“We are inspired by the interconnectivity of our nonprofit sector and the amazing work these organizations do to support our community,” said Annemarie Scalzo, senior director, social impact partnerships & programs.

The program has proved a smash hit for recipients of those tickets to attend a sport many have not watched in person and at Climate Pledge Arena, where there is not a compromised seat in the house. The review from community organizations are stellar.

“WaFd Bank’s partnership with the Tide Pool program is another way we can give back to area nonprofits who are doing some of the heaviest lifting in our community,” said Tom Pozarycki, regional president, northern Washington. “We love putting a smile on the faces of their hard-working volunteers, employees, and staff. It’s also another way to highlight some of the organizations supported through the WaFd Bank Foundation and thank them for all they do.”

“We’re super grateful to be a part of this program,” said Kaylia Balinbin, community team manager with Rainier Athletes, a nonprofit committed to linking young middle-grade students with mentors who can provide support, guidance, and an engaging relationship through high school years and beyond. “We have been invited since the inaugural season. We share it out to our volunteer mentors and to our students and families. For the majority of people, it’s their first time they’ve ever been to a game.”

Rainer Athletes works with school districts to establish fourth- and fifth-graders who will pair up with a mentor with the intention to maintain that connection through high school graduation. Sports is a throughline with RA fully sponsoring year-round participation, including extracurricular programs and summer camps. The concept is involvement and growth in both athletics and particularly the classroom, plus a strong emphasis on self-advocacy.

One example about the lasting value of self-advocacy: Balinbin said one high school Rainier Athlete was struggling with classes. While good grades might be “what looks like success,” the mentor realized “showing up for someone” can be the most successful outcome, in this encouraging the student to seek out her teachers to discuss class standing. Those conversations resulted in identifying the student’s lack of self-confidence as the “block” rather than an unwillingness to do the work required, aligning the student, teachers, and mentor in a plan to get the grades up.

One Roof Foundation and Rainier Athletes have an ongoing relationship that allows some fun along with achievement. The students and mentors have skated at Kraken Community Iceplex for outings along with attending games. The feedback about both is, well, brimming with #SeaKraken life.

“Everyone who I’ve talked to loves the intro and the players’ entrance [to the ice],” said Balinbin, who grew up a volleyball player on Mercer Island and knew Rainier Athletes was a calling for her the first time she learned about the organization. “It just sets the tone for the whole game. There’s also an appreciation for the sport … it’s so impressive, we can’t even keep our eye on the puck sometimes. Like, how are people skating backward and jumping over boards at the bench to sub, in and sub out?”

The Tide Pool program crests any number of community groups and populations. For Brian Tanner and the Native-led Potlach Fund, the focus is on indigenous peoples and tribal nations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Potlach is clearly filling a void; Native American communities receive less than one-half of one percent of philanthropic dollars in the U.S., yet these communities experience disproportionately high rates of poverty, unemployment, and disease challenges.

“We’re really appreciative of the opportunity to invite donors to come with us to a game,” said Brian Tanner, director of philanthropic partnerships for the fund who just happened to be wearing his authentic Kraken road jersey in his apartment while talking on the phone on a recent chilly Tuesday morning. “We usually have a gala in the fall and we have supplied tickets to volunteers who help put on the event. This year, we are planning our holiday party around [the game Potlach receives tickets].”

For his part, Tanner switched his career arc from federal jobs to reinvent his work life in nonprofits. He was involved with Potlach before gaining employment and still is most touched by the reactions of fund recipients, including a memorable and near-tears for both men when Tanner talked to the director of an at-times overlooked Native language program with the Quileute Tribe.

Tanner said Potlach invitees who are hockey neophytes were arguably even more thrilled by the trip to Climate Pledge Arena: “For some folks, it was their first time and, they were really excited that and talking about how it’s very different than watching it on TV. There’s just this aura, this feeling, that comes with going to a live game.”

While the varied tidal basins, big and small, across the PNW, feature the likes of snails, barnacles, mussels, anemones (oh, the fluorescent species), urchins, sea stars, crustaceans, seaweed, and even small fish, One Roof’s Tide Pool program offers one visual delight even powerful nature can’t match.

“I know every time Rainier Athletes is shown on the twin boards with a shout-out to all Tide Pool attendees, I get a lot of photos on my phone,” said Kaylia Balinbin, laughing. “Our group is saying, ‘Look, Rainer Athletes on the big screens!’ The feeling of seeing our name in that space is unique and really cool.”

For more information on One Roof Foundation click HERE.