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UW alumna Elisha Logue started the Innovator’s Network

UW alumni Elisha Logue, left, started the Innovator's Network.

A new way to donate and help fight cancer has come, and with it comes the full support of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The Innovator’s Network strengthens the ties between donors and scientists to fund the future of cancer research. It was started by Scott Hutchinson, great-nephew of the center’s namesake, and UW alumna Elisha Logue as a way to get a younger demographic to begin donating. 

According to a 2008 report, people in their 30s and younger were donating just 1 percent of the total amount received by the center each year. By connecting with potential donors 45 and under, the Innovator’s Network can create a bond that will grow as the people become more stabilized in their life. In order to make joining the Innovator’s Network easier, the group organizes events such as happy hours to fit into the lives of younger individuals. 

You can watch this video to see how the network is committed to getting new donors involved with the new group. 

“The (people) we are looking for, they really want to give—but they may not have felt they could make a big difference on their own,” Logue says. “And they may still be searching for that thing they feel connected with, and want to give to. This generation is about giving back and involvement—and it’s about networking with people of other backgrounds we wouldn’t have known otherwise. Social interaction is important to us.”

Read more…

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Five UW alumni raising money for cancer at The Madhouse Project

At the University of Washington, five great friends came together: Phil Friedman, John Fiala, Mitch Morando, Brad Newcomer, and Kurt Shintaffer. After graduation in 1996, they lived together near campus in a house dubbed “The Madhouse” before moving on, and out, to the rest of what life was bringing their way.

From playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers to attending graduate school, they left Seattle behind. But when eight years had passed, they had all returned and were looking to give back in a meaningful way. Thus was born The Madhouse Project, a Seattle charity that has been operating since 2005 in support of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Every year, this influential group of UW alumni, along with Randy Tennant, a friend of Friedman’s from the MBA program at UCLA, organize the Night Out for a Cure cocktail fundraiser to donate to the SCCA. Since its inception, the Night Out for a Cure has progressed from raising more than $16,000 in a single night to more than $150,000.

To learn more about the project and its five UW alumni directors, visit The Madhouse Project site.

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UWAA President talks budget on KCTS 9 Connects

This past Friday, UW Alumni Association President Colleen Fukui-Sketchley met with KCTS 9 Connects to discuss the University of Washington and the difficulties facing our state’s higher education budget.

To see Colleen’s interview, skip ahead to the 17-minute mark.

Please note the interview is longer than what we have access to above, so once the clip stops click the bright green button to go to the KCTS 9 site and finish the interview. It’s about seven minutes long.

Colleen was also quoted in this story from The Daily about UW Impact, a civic advocacy resource that helps Huskies speak out for the UW and higher education. UW Impact is mobilizing alumni and i’s building serious momentum right now. It is part of the independent, nonprofit UWAA and does not represent the views of the University of Washington.

To learn more, visit UWimpact.org. Colleen, you are the best!

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UW alum Ken Hughes and the JaK’s Grill community

UW alumni Ken Hughes of JaK's Grill (Harley Soltes)The story of JaK’s Grill is the story of community.

Ken Hughes and his business partner, John, both UW alums and the principal owners of the popular JaK’s Grill family, started the restaurant in 1996 in the Admiral District of West Seattle. They were hands-on from the beginning, bringing in their own equipment and building their own stuff, including the wood benches that are now a staple of the JaK’s experience.

Today, there are three JaK’s Grills: the original in West Seattle—albeit in a new location down the street—and two additional spots in Issaquah and Laurelhurst. Opening in Laurelhurst, with its close proximity to the UW campus, was like coming home for Ken and John. “It’s a nice place to celebrate a victory,” Ken says. “We’ve had some bad years recently, but I see a lot of Cougars buying after the Apple Cup.”

The two Huskies, both economics majors at the UW, wanted to excel at customer service and aimed to become “the Nordstrom of neighborhood steakhouses.” Ken is proud of the restaurant’s local roots and the fact it supports roughly 100 employees who work in the JaK’s community.

“It feels good giving people a place to work, especially at the UW,” he says. “We see a lot of really good young people working their way through college.”

Last year, the JaK’s team opened the Sunset Alehouse in Issaquah that is Husky-themed. It’s not your traditional bar, but a hybrid with “a little pub feel, a little alehouse feel.” So far, the restaurant has given the loyal JaK’s following a place to enjoy in addition to their favorite Grill.

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UW’s workplace giving campaign raises $2 million

George Washington statue at the University of Washington
Every year, the state of Washington’s Combined Fund Drive raises millions of dollars for local charities, and the University of Washington plays a major role in that effort.

Our annual workplace giving campaign, the Combined Fund Drive ended Dec. 10 and UW faculty and staff raised a record-breaking $2,044,404. I was lucky enough to serve as a campaign coordinator for the UW Alumni Association and University Advancement. This was an honor indeed, and I am proud of what we accomplished.

Peter Kelley, assistant editor of UW Today, caught up with Campaign Manager Kerri Everly and penned a nice story on this year’s wrap-up. Everly said the UW’s fundraising represents 36 percent of the total raised throughout the state. Northwest Harvest was the top charity to support for UW employees, while the UW Foundation and University Food Bank were also popular gifts. All told, there were more than 2,800 charities to choose from, and many rely on the Combined Fund Drive to support their annual budgets.

“It was a tough year this year but people are really still supporting their beloved charities,” Everly told UW Today. “That makes it even more special, that the UW community stepped up in that way.”

Read the full story here, and make quick work of this week’s Dawg Treats:

  • Nathaniel Greenberg, a doctoral candidate at the UW who is studying in Egypt, offers his views of the uprising from his Cairo neighborhood. A great read from The Common Language Project as published in the Seattle Times.
  • The UW is partnering with Intel and the U.S. military to help scientists experiment with designs for faster, more energy-efficient optoelectronic chips that compute using both electrical impulses and photons of light. Sounds impressive.
  • A study by the UW, University of British Columbia and University of Wisconsin looked at more than 1,600 college students and discovered that many depressed students are being missed. According to researchers, one out of every four students who visits a university health center has the signs of depression.
  • The Dream Project, founded at the UW to help low-income and first-generation students get to college, was awarded a $972,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    Read more…

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Alumni vote on top reasons to love the UW

Red Square at University of Washington
Last week, we asked UW Alumni Association staff and friends on Facebook to help us out with a membership project.

We’re on the way to 60,000 members—a new record for our organization—and we’re focused on telling the stories of why alumni, friends and fans love the UW.

Here’s what everyone decided upon, in no particular order. There were about 15 choices, and this is the top six including a write-in vote for “beautiful campus,” which I can’t believe we left off the list in the first place. Kudos to you guys for adding what is obviously a top reason to love the University of Washington. Your favorite reasons to love the UW are:

  • You went there.
  • Husky football, basketball and other sports.
  • UW drives 70,000 jobs in Washington and is the third largest employer in the state behind Boeing and Microsoft.
  • The UW is researching the critical issues of our time. Kidney dialysis, color TV and the Hepatitis B vaccine are all products of UW research.
  • UW educates nearly 100,000 people and UW Medicine treats more than 1.4 million patients each year.
  • Is there a more beautiful campus in the United States?

And here are a few more write-in votes:

I picked up valuable life skills beyond the classroom.

Where would you be without it?

The BEAUTIFUL campus!!! (And a super cute mascot.)

Read more…

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Rep. Gabrielle Giffords surgeon is a UW alum

UW alum Peter Rhee is Rep. Gabrielle Giffords surgeon

Dr. Peter Rhee, who holds a master’s of public health from the University of Washington, is a 24-year military surgeon who has treated hundreds of battlefield injuries during stints in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That experience, the Los Angeles Times reports, played a definitive role in his ability to treat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and direct care for 10 other victims following the horrific massacre Jan. 8 in Tucson that has since captivated our country. Last night, during the memorial service for the six killed and more than a dozen wounded, President Obama told the nation that Giffords “opened her eyes” for the first time, and doctors feel her recovery from a gunshot wound to the head, is a “miracle.”

Rhee is chief of trauma at University Medical Center in Tucson. He also spent five years as the director of the Navy Trauma Training Center at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he would sometimes treat 30 gunshot wounds a day. Rhee told the Los Angeles Times of his battlefield casualty care: “Did it prepare me? I would say of course it did. And that makes it so that when we have a mass casualty of 11 people here, it’s really not as bad as it can get.”

From all of us in the UW’s alumni community, thank you Doctor.

You make us proud.

Photo by AP.

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UW 360: Law students exonerate innocent people

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This is an amazing story of redemption and hope.

In 1997, University of Washington Professor Jackie McMurtrie started the Innocence Project Northwest at the UW School of Law. Since then, her team of students has helped exonerate 15 wrongfully convicted people. One of them was released on Christmas Eve 2008 and spent the holidays with his family rather than in a jail cell.

UW 360 explores the Innocence Project Northwest in this stirring video. For more on McMurtrie and the Innocence Project, read this Q&A from Columns magazine.

Also in January’s edition of UW 360:

By the way, this is Blog Down to Washington’s 100th post. Thanks for reading!

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