The Pike Place Market Foundation is the heart of the Market. By helping our low-income neighbors who work, learn and live in and around the Market, the Foundation helps the Market you love remain a thriving, caring community.
All proceeds benefit our mission to feed the hungry, care for the sick, educate kids, and find homes for those without at Pike Place Market.
To learn more visit http://pikeplacemarketfoundation.org.
The Foundation’s History
The Market Foundation was formed in 1982 to “preserve and enhance the traditions and diversity of the Pike Place Market community.” We accomplish our mission by raising funds to support programs that benefit more than 10,000 homeless, low-income and elderly residents of downtown Seattle each year, as well as Market heritage and public improvement programs, including:
- Operation of the Market’s human service agencies – the Pike Market Senior Center, Child Care & Preschool, Medical Clinic, and Food Bank;
- Start-up of new human service programs, including the Resident Advocate (social workers who assist home-bound clients) and the Senior Wellness programs (a joint project of the Clinic and Senior Center to improve seniors’ health and ability to live independently for as long as possible);
- Development of new low-income housing in and near the Market – including Heritage House (assisted living residence managed by Providence), the Gatewood Hotel (housing formerly homeless individuals managed by Plymouth Housing), and Straley House (transitional housing for street youth managed by YouthCare), and the LaSalle Addition (new senior housing managed by the PDA);
- Public improvements and capital repairs for the Market’s historic buildings; and
- Fresh produce programs benefiting both farmers and low-income people – Market Fresh Coupons (a food coupon program), a Food Stamp Matching Program (doubling the purchasing power of Food Stamp (EBT) shoppers, and FoodLink (a gleaning program that recycles un-sold farm produce to support our Food Bank and Senior Center).
By our 30th anniversary in 2012, we’d contributed more than $17 million to the programs listed above. In the process, we received several awards, including those from the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence and the Municipal League of Seattle. During the summer of 2001, we held Pigs on Parade, our largest event – 170 fiberglass replicas of “Rachel”, our life-sized piggy bank, were adorned by local artists and displayed on downtown Seattle sidewalks. Pigs on Parade was repeated with 100 pigs in 2007, raising $1 million to fund the Market’s Centennial celebration. In 2008, we spawned Citizens for Pike Place Market to run the campaign to pass a $73 million levy to fund a rebuilding of the Market’s infrastructure. Foundation board members raised $400,000 for that effort and the vote was passed with a nearly 62% “yes” vote.
The idea for the Market Foundation began in 1981 following two disastrous events. First, the Clinic was given two week’s notice of the loss of a $150,000 federal grant representing half the Clinic’s operating budget. Within a month, the Child Care received notice that its $60,000 federal grant for playground construction was cancelled, effectively putting a stop to construction of the Center as State regulations require an outdoor play area. Aaron Zaretsky, then the PDA’s director of community development, and Chris Hurley, then Clinic director, called Jean Falls, a member of the PDA’s founding Council for help. Jean recruited Mary Fleming and together they raised the $60,000 needed for the playground within a few weeks. In the process, the four realized the potential of a Market community fund and Jean began to recruit our founding Board members. The new board met for the first time on the Market’s 75th anniversary, August 17, 1982.