January 17, 2017 Mitchell Derrey

Season of Giving: Part 5

The final chapter in this blog series has taken a year to write. On one hand, it was a tad bit embarrassing to leave it unfinished, but on the other hand, it took that long to research, reflect, locate, and commit to an organization in which we could truly make a measurable and meaningful difference.

Our journey towards this final chapter can be read here, but we will provide a synopsis through an excerpt from Part 4:

We started off this blog series by asking ourselves a couple of questions:

  1. Is there ever an off-season for giving?
  2. What can we do to support charitable organizations when they need it most?

The answer to the first question was a simple, “yes”. The answer to the second was that we were asking the wrong question…

…We were originally thinking about how we could donate, volunteer, or support organizations in the typical ways that are readily available, but realized through talking with Rex that this doesn’t necessarily put our passions to
use. We’ve now begun to think about who we are, what we do, and what we are great at. We are storytellers. We have a platform and a voice. We have a team of people who want to make a difference.

My time with Rex reminded me of the conversations I had with my mentors 12 years previously after teaching art in an orphanage in Sri Lanka. I returned from the trip with the deep desire to move there permanently to
help, which just wasn’t feasible at the time. My mentors were heavily engaged in philanthropy and I inquired of them how they were able to be so extensively committed. Their advice was to be patient, to go out and build a career in
order to have a greater impact later with a more precise focus. Now, I was having the same conversation with Rex which reignited my interest in finding a way to use my resources and talents, now OUR resources and talents, to help

We did a lot of brainstorming and research in 2016, looking for a good fit. We really wanted to find a way to work with Rex further, but kept running into the feeling that we were trying to jump into his passion, instead of finding our own. We kept looking, tried a few different things that felt forced or thrown together last minute and then we found Arc of King County, and the story of how our partnership started!


In our search for an organization to support, we had been paying attention to many philanthropic websites, including United Way of King County. Looking through their volunteer opportunities page, we found a request for design support from Arc of King County. This got us excited, because after all we are a design firm and volunteering the services we are passionate about is a great honor. Our hopes were that we could not just support them, but help
accelerate their great work.

Arc of King County is a nonprofit organization run by knowledgeable professionals in the field of developmental disabilities. This includes, family members and people with intellectual and development disabilities (I/DD), who together advocate and serve people with I/DD and their families. They encompass all ages and all spectrums from Autism, Down syndrome, and Fragile X, to various other developmental disabilities. Founded in 1936, they are the oldest non-profit organization serving individuals with I/DD in the Greater Puget Sound area.

After a few emails back and forth, we met with the organization to discuss how we can serve them. We jumped in and are in the process of branding their annual Gala through print and presentation media. Red Element Studios volunteered to partner up in the effort to build their promotional video. The Gala presented even more opportunity for us to step up and help, as putting on successful events is something we know a little bit about! That hope to help accelerate their work is becoming a reality.

We are so excited to partner with this great organization. The future looks great for this community and we are proud to be using our gifts and calling to help. We are #silverfoxproud!