Saying Goodbye to a Very Special Friend

Last month we said goodbye to a dear friend of Mary’s Place. Donna Stirton helped shape Mary’s Place into the organization that it is today. Donna was an active member of Plymouth Church and instrumental in obtaining our first Change Grant from Plymouth.

She was a founding member of the Mary’s Ministry Team in the late ‘90s, treating Mary’s Place women like they were her own daughters and sisters, and one of the first volunteers to prepare meals on Saturday’s. Donna ensured that meals were special and every table was decorated and festive.

Donna became a professional floral designer, and as Mary’s Place grew, she took on the task of creating beautiful floral arrangements for nearly 100 tables at our annual fundraising luncheon, a huge task that she took on happily each year. Donna served on various committees over the years and in 2017 was recognized as Mary’s Place Volunteer of the Year.

Donna always had a smile and a kind word for everyone. She was passionate about Mary’s Place and found her calling here; working, loving, and caring for all of the women, children, and families.

Thank you, Donna. You will be missed.




We did it!

We are thrilled to announce that together, our community raised $2,174,740 to ensure that No Child Sleeps Outside! THANK YOU to the over 3,000 individuals and more than 50 local businesses and organizations that came together to help us BEAT our $1.5 million goal, and bring hundreds of families and children inside to warmth, safety, and hope!

The Starbucks Foundation announced a campaign launch gift of $250,000, as well as an additional grant of $250,000 to match customer donations raised online and via the Starbucks mobile app. Since joining the campaign two years ago, The Starbucks Foundation has contributed more than $2.5 million.

The Schultz Family Foundation, also a major sponsor of last year’s campaign, announced a $250,000 grant. This support will expand upon the success of work launched last spring with Schultz Family Foundation funding that focused on helping families exiting from Mary’s Place obtain safe and stable housing. In 2017, as a result of this funding, Mary’s Place’s helped 280 families obtain safe, stable places to live.

Last year’s successful No Child Sleeps Outside campaign allowed Mary’s Place to open three new family shelters in White Center, Shoreline, and Northshore that have provided services for over 500 families.

This year’s $2 million will provide for continued operation of these new shelters to bring an additional 800 family members inside to warmth, safety, and stability, and move more than 300 families into permanent housing.

We are so grateful to our community for coming beside us to help ensure that No Child Sleeps Outside in our community!

No Child Sleeps Outside 2017

It costs just $14 to provide a child with one night of food, shelter, and stability.

How many kids can you keep warm and safe tonight at

DSC_1581-EditTwo years after our city and county declared a State of Emergency on Homelessness, the number of families with children sleeping outside in tents, cars, and doorways continues to grow. The need is greater than ever. Tonight, hundreds of families, mostly single mothers and an estimated 1,200 children, are sleeping outside. The weather has turned cold, wet, and dark. These families have no safe place to sleep this winter.

On November 15th, Mary’s Place partnered with local businesses and organizations to kick-off the 2017 No Child Sleeps Outside crowdfunding campaign with a goal to raise $1.5 million by December 31.

 The 2017 campaign goal of $1.5 million will make it possible for us to bring over 800 additional children and their families inside (over 107,000 bed nights) and connect them to a housing advocate, and move 300 families to permanent housing.

Please join us in this holiday season challenge by donating and sharing the campaign with friends and family!

 Just go to from any mobile device or computer to donate.

Girl Scouts at Mary’s Place – Let’s Go Camping!

Mary’s Place has a Girl Scout troop that meets weekly to learn, sing, play, and get some time away from thinking about anything else but being together with friends! The troop is made up of girls of all ages! Recently, KIRO Radio’s Rachel Belle visited a troop meeting and talked to the girls about how they came to Mary’s Place, what they like about Girl Scouts, and the one thing they’d love to do most: GO CAMPING! Check out her story here: Homeless girls join their first Girl Scout Troop at Mary’s Place

UPDATE! The troop has scheduled their first overnight camping trip for early September and we need some supplies! Can you help make this trip possible? We have a list of items to make a camping trip possible for 20 girls, donations have already started coming in here’s what we still need:

  • $100 gift cards for groceries

Items can be donated or you can order and send directly from our Amazon Wish List!

Cash donations (make yours in honor of Scouting) will help us buy supplies and any extra will be used to start a fund to support troop activities for girls and boys in the future!

ANOTHER UPDATE! We have received all the camping items on our list, thank you so much!!  We could still use some help making sure the girls can buy food for their camp out! We’ve started a Scout Fund to make sure we can support this trip and  future scouting endeavors going forward, we’d like to expand our scouting program to other shelters!

Shelter and Housing Solutions – Real Estate Professionals Meeting

Homelessness is a crisis in our community. With your help, it’s a crisis that our community can solve. You are invited to join us on Wednesday, August 16 from 8-9 am to learn more about how, together, we can bring every child, every family, inside to safe shelter tonight, and permanent housing tomorrow.
Mary’s Place is an established leader in solving family homelessness and has a proven solution, and a scalable plan to bring 750 homeless families sleeping outside in to warmth, safety, and stability. We need your help to put that plan into action.
Discover how Mary’s Place can bring life and watchful eyes to empty buildings with our temporary family use.
Learn how Mary’s Place can connect landlords to hardworking, grateful families who can turn apartment buildings or single-family houses into stable homes. Mary’s Place is there to support landlords and families!
Please join us on Wednesday, August 16 at the South Lake Union Discovery Center (101 Westlake Ave N) and be a part of this important conversation. We’ll serve coffee at 7:45 am and start at 8:00 am sharp.
Immediately following the meeting at 9:00 am we will give an optional tour of Mary’s Place in The Regrade. This former hotel, on loan to us from Amazon, provides emergency shelter for 300 family members each night, and housing, employment, and wellness resources during the day.
Please feel free to contact one of us, or Mary’s Place executive director Marty Hartman at (206) 621-8474 if you have any questions.
Kris Richey Curtis, Kinzer Partners
Dan McGrady, Pemco Insurance
Jessica Clawson, McCullough Hill Leary
Diane Sugimura






Amazon to Build a Permanent Mary’s Place Family Shelter Within Its Seattle Headquarters

First-of-its-kind facility will provide 24/7 shelter and services for more than 200 homeless women, children, and families each night

SEATTLE – May 10, 2017 – Mary’s Place announced today that Amazon will donate more than 47,000 sq. ft. of space within Amazon’s newest headquarters building as a permanent home for a Mary’s Place Family Shelter. This first-of-its-kind partnership will include 65 rooms, which will shelter more than 200 homeless women, children, and families each night.

“To have a permanent downtown Seattle location within Amazon is a game-changer for Mary’s Place and the families we serve,” said Marty Hartman, Executive Director of Mary’s Place. “We’ve loved being Amazon’s neighbor, and now the opportunity to move into their headquarters permanently is truly a dream come true. This unique, first-of-its-kind shelter will remind families that they matter and that their community wants to help them succeed.”

Watch footage of Amazon’s surprise announcement to Mary’s Place Executive Director Marty Hartman

“Mary’s Place does incredible, life-saving work every day for women, children, and families experiencing homelessness in the Seattle community,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “We are lucky to count them as neighbors and thrilled to offer them a permanent home within our downtown Seattle headquarters – Amazon employees and Mary’s Place residents will move in together in early 2020.”

In April 2016, Amazon provided Mary’s Place with temporary use of a vacant building on its growing urban campus – a former Travelodge hotel. Amazon upgraded and decorated the building and included utilities for more than 200 family members while awaiting construction of a new building. Construction at 2213 8th Ave is scheduled to begin in the fall, and Amazon will work with Mary’s Place to temporarily move the families to another former hotel across the street as it builds this new, permanent home.

The new Mary’s Place shelter will include a family resource center similar to those at Mary’s Place Family Centers in North Seattle and White Center where more than 40 local nonprofits and teams of community and corporate volunteers join Mary’s Place staff onsite to provide services and work with families to help them secure permanent housing and employment.

Amazon employees are frequent visitors and volunteers at the existing shelter – bringing meals, organizing arts and crafts projects, throwing parties for the families, and more. By sharing permanent space with Mary’s Place, Amazon employees will now have even more opportunities to volunteer and support the organization and the families they serve.


About Mary’s Place: Mary’s Place empowers women, children, and families to reclaim their lives by providing shelter, nourishment, resources, healing and hope in a safe community. They operate several family night shelters that work to place families in stable housing by providing employment, housing, financial, and wellness resources. More info is available at,, Press Contact: Linda Mitchell, Director of Communications,, 206-334-4687

About Amazon: Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit and follow @amazonnews.

Amazon Holiday Engagement Opportunities!

No Child Sleeps Outside crowdfunding campaign – get a team together to help us raise $1.5 million in 45 days! We CAN bring more children and families inside to warmth, safety and stability this winter! Need help setting up your team page? email

Help us fill the Santa Store!  Santa needs your help! His list of Mary’s Place families has doubled this year. Boys, girls, moms, and dads who have left behind homes and traditions are hoping to find joy and peace this holiday season. And there is something you can do to help! Our Holiday Wish List is here – you can shop and drop in bins on the Amazon campus, or ship directly to Mary’s Place! Gifts should arrive by Dec 16 to make it in time for our Holly Jolly Party for Mary’s Place families!

Winter Clothing Drive: the weather is cold and our families and children need warm winter coats, hats, scarves, gloves – and socks! You can help by holding a Winter Clothing Drive for Mary’s Place!

Decorate a shelter for the holidays! We need supplies and/or teams to bring the Merry and Bright to our area shelters.

A Home for the Holidays: Enjoy a night out with the Amazon Symphony Orchestra and guests a cappella group Vocally Self-Critical at A Home for the Holidays, a benefit for Mary’s Place on December 14 at the Amazon Event Center. Search “Mary’s Place Pops” on Amazon Wiki for info! More details:

Brooks Fun Run: Get a team and put on your best Holly Jolly gear and join us for this fun 3-mile Holiday Fun Run! Saturday, December 9 starting at 9am. We’ll finish the run with raffle prizes, burgers from Dick’s Drive-In, and Brooks is donating 10% of sales to the No Child Sleeps Outside campaign from Dec 3 through Dec 10. Register here!

We always welcome volunteers and our kids could use help with homework! Email if you would like to help!

Nick’s Story

To my friends in Seattle who drink coffee, and let’s be honest it’s pretty much all of us I just want you to please take a second and give the article a read and maybe watch the video and get a little closer look at some of our neighbors.

These people aren’t always the bad, the lazy, or the uneducated sometimes it’s real genuine people who have come up against tragedy in life. It can range from a building being sold to a property developer, a owner raising rent because the new tech employee can afford the new price and you can’t but all that matters to the landlord is money in the pocket, or as it was 3 years ago for my family a medical tragedy.

Some of you may not realize this but a little over 3 years ago I had spinal fusion surgery after waking up paralysed in the middle of the night. During this time my family became homeless because my wife had to take medical leave to take care of our two boys, once that was over she sadly had no job to go back to and we ended up loosing our apartment. They lived out of our car, low cost hotels, and friends couches while I was in rehab learning to walk again. Sadly we all know the hospitality of friends can’t last forever, eventually with the promise of a job we moved to Seattle to find even worse housing obstacles then Albuquerque had. Once here the cycle started again and I ended up back in the hospital but thanks to the love and compassion of Mary’s Place when I came out of the hospital this go round we had a stable place to live together as a family.

Mary’s Place has been a blessing to our family in so many ways, they gave us a place to live and to heal when we needed it the most and during that time we met new friends and learned about ourselves and the human spirit. Thanks to them we were able to spend time together as a family in a safe environment while taking advantage of all the resources they offer to find permanent stable housing.

Mary’s Place is a place of stability for my family even today as my beautiful wife Charlotte Wheelock has taken the opportunity she earned through hard work and dedication and run with it as she is now Mary’s Place Housing and Wellness coordinator. She now gets to give what was once given to us…. HOPE.

So please if you can once December rolls around give the loose change (or more!) at your local King County Starbucks to Mary’s Place. After that maybe give your time and volunteer as they can always use tutors or some one to play with the children so parents can have a precious 5 minutes to themselves.

Thank you for a moment of your time and Happy Holidays,


Last week’s news about homelessness

Last week (Sept 7) the City of Seattle released summaries of two reports from homelessness consultants that make recommendations for how the city and county address this crisis in our community. Some of the key findings and recommendations, include:

  • focus on programs that give people short-term help to return to permanent housing faster, rather than transitional housing
  • provide 24×7 facilities like the San Francisco Navigation Center model that lowers barriers to shelter and offers services that are tailored to the needs of homeless individuals and families
  • institute a more efficient process for assessing the needs of people without homes and determining what help they should receive

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced the “Pathways Home” plan that addresses many of the report recommendations and includes a goal to move 500 unsheltered families indoors by the end of 2017. We are excited and hopeful for these changes, and grateful for the resources and focus that our community is committing to solving this crisis.

As the largest provider in the region, Mary’s Place has a proven track record of success. We have been working with families experiencing homelessness since 1999. We opened our first emergency night shelter in 2010 to bring families inside, together, to warmth and safety at night.

051016_023-bvhToday, with your help, Mary’s Place operates six crisis response family shelters that provide refuge and community for 400 family members experiencing homelessness. Last week, we got 133 school-age children enrolled and off to school! We do this in loaned buildings awaiting development, for $14 dollars per person/per night. Our intent is to make a stay at Mary’s Place as short as possible. Within 48 hours of arriving at a Mary’s Place shelter, our advocates are working with families to address barriers and develop housing and financial stability plans.

We doubled our capacity in 2016 and still our shelters are full nearly every night, except when we have been constrained by bureaucratic intake policies. We were pleased to be able to work with the county to change that process and ensure that no bed remains empty when there are children sleeping outside.

We know that wraparound services are key to moving families forward. Our Family Center in north Seattle is a 24×7 shelter for 100 family members that provides beds, meals, showers, and laundry, as well as individualized counseling and services from Mary’s Place Housing & Wellness Advocates and access to more than 40 co-located service providers.

We support the goal of reducing barriers to shelter. Our shelters accommodate all types of family configurations, including juliassingle moms, single dads, extended families, and now families with pets – allowing families to stay together during this challenging time in their lives. But we also take the safety of our families and children very seriously. Providing a safe haven for children, domestic violence survivors, and vulnerable families is our priority.

As a partner with the city and county on the goal of ending family homelessness, we have made it a mission that NO CHILD SLEEPS OUTSIDE and continue to work and build until that is achieved, but it will require all of us working together. We are proud to partner with leading companies and organizations in our community to provide a roof, basics, and safety to vulnerable parents with kids each night.

You are what makes this possible! We could not continue to expand, to open more shelters, and to bring in more families without your faith and support. Watch for exciting news from Mary’s Place in the next few months about our plans, and how you can help!

If you have any questions, I hope that you will contact me or Mary’s Place Executive Director, Marty Hartman. I welcome your ideas and feedback.






JJ McKay, Board Chair
Mary’s Place