The 2021 Multi-Service Center luncheon raised over $95,000, allowing the nonprofit to support the local community in finding help, hope and change.
Nearly 190 people attended the fundraiser, with several people also joining virtually, at the Federal Way Preforming Arts and Event Center on Oct. 21.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the MSC has seen an 11% increase in households seeking food and energy support services from the nonprofit, and many of those households are new customers. There has been an 88% increase in the nonprofit’s housing stability programs, such as rent assistance, said CEO Robin Corak.
Keynote Speaker Omari Amili’s shared his story of growing up in poverty and how he changed his life trajectory. Amili — now an author, lecturer at the University of Washington Tacoma (UWT) and father of six — grew up in a household of “chronic instability” due to his parents’ addiction to crack cocaine.
He attended over 15 schools before dropping out in the sixth grade, he said, then becoming a product of the school-to-prison pipeline.
“There was no help that led to hope,” he said. Amili was involved in a bank fraud scheme, resulting in 30 felony convictions. He spent 36 months in prison and another 36 months on probation.
He earned his GED, and enrolled in Pierce College, then moving on to graduate from UWT. Amili said he was living in hiding until he embraced his past, his story.
“Learning changed everything about my life,” he said. “I am not to be defined by the worst things that I’ve ever done.”
Amili focused his graduate research on preventing recidivism through post-secondary education and created a workshop for others to follow a similar prison to college pathway that he did.
“I am defined by the turnaround that I’ve made,” he said.
The MSC provides several resources to help with social mobility, such as housing supports, education and other necessary resources to live a stable life.
The Multi-Service Center’s Help, Hope, Change award was presented to Dan Bogart and to the family of Dennis Hulse, in memory of Hulse who died in August.
Bogart is senior vice president and commercial banking division director for Banner Bank. He has served as a Multi-Service Center board member for 14 years and was a past board president.
Hulse served on the MSC Board of Directors for 15 years and was chair of the MSC Fund Development Committee. He was also president and partner at Laurus Financial Group. As a dedicated community servant, Hulse also participated in the Kiwanis Club of Federal Way, the Bridging a Gap (BAG) program and St. Luke’s Foundation, among others.
For more information about the Multi-Service Center, visit mschelps.org.