Want to Raise Money for a Good Cause: Organize a snowball fight and a snow-fort building competition.


Neil Bergquist, Director at Surf Incubator, a Seattle based community-supported space for digital entrepreneurs, noticed the need for young professionals to get involved with innovative forms of fundraising. After organizing a successful benefit last year for Seattle Public Library’s Homework Help program, he now hopes to raise money for the Boys and Girls club of King County. Berquist and his team are organizing a city-wide snow ball fight and fort-building competition, with hopes that Seattle can support a good cause and possibly snag a Guinness World Record away from the Republic of South Korea for the world’s largest snow ball fight.

Ryan Bourke, a team member, says the manifestation of a city-wide snow ball fight was driven by the desire to create a memorable day for Seattle as well as inspire young professionals to give back. “Giving back to the community is an investment. We see an opportunity to engage young professionals in important social causes, and attractive events like Snow Day, are a great way to engage this demographic.” The Snow Day team chose to donate all proceeds to the Boys and Girls club of King County because, “it aligns with our mission; to raise money for kids by remembering what it’s like to be one."

A city-wide snow day will take place January 12th with registration beginning at noon, followed by a snow fort competition between local businesses. In an attempt to seize a World Record, a massive snow ball fight will take place at 5pm inside of the Next 50 Plaza at the Seattle Center. Following the snowball fight will be a pub crawl in lower Queen Anne.

For more information on Snow Day visit http://www.snow.co/

Editor's Note: Rule Weary in Seattle

Editor's Note: Rule Weary in Seattle

City regulations may be well meaning, but small businesses are feeling put upon.
David Lee founded FareStart in Seattle to train chefs because he believed the homeless would benefit from “the dignity of preparing food as a vocation.” He launched Field Roast, a producer of vegan “meats,” because he considers the mass industrialization of animals as “a blight on our culture.” He has nurtured a caring culture at his SoDo production facility, remodeling the space so production workers have plenty of space and natural light.
So when Seattle passed a paid-sick-leave law mandating a set number of paid days for sick leave, Lee accepted it. But the results have been disappointing.
“For the first time,” he says, “I have employees lying to me. A medical appointment becomes a paid day off.”
The city’s $15 minimum-wage mandate was another challenge.
“It hurts businesses like ours that compete on a national level against companies in places like Arkansas that pay $7 [an hour],” says Lee. But, wanting to do the right thing, this summer Lee boosted the wages of his employees to $15 an hour four years before he was required to do so under the law.
Seattle can be proud that its $15 minimum-wage law has led the way in driving up wages across the country. And because it is being implemented over seven years and at a time when the local economy is strong, there have been relatively few negative impacts (page 20). Similarly, while there may be widespread abuse of sick leave, there is evidence that the ability of workers to take the time off helps prevent the spread of the flu and other harmful viruses.
But each new layer of regulation is an added burden on business. Now the city is adding yet more regulations — one set that will require businesses to set schedules for employees two weeks in advance and yet another that requires landlords to choose tenants in the order applications are submitted. What’s next? 
A requirement that companies hire employees in the order that they applied?
While each regulation may have some logic to it, the cumulative effect is to make it harder for businesses to fulfill their important role as job creators. The rules can be particularly hard on small businesses without the resources to hire staff to deal with the complications regulations create.
Regulations also create bureaucracy. The Seattle Times reported that to enforce a law requiring landlords to select tenants in the order in which they replied, the city would hire two employees at a cost of $200,000 and launch sting operations. Really?
Meanwhile, the city isn’t enforcing basic sanitation laws to prevent the homeless from leaving excrement on city sidewalks. The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience came close to shutting down because an illegal encampment just a block away included “tents serving as drug galleries” that made it unsafe for the museum’s employees and visitors. The problem contributed to the shutting down of the nearby House of Hong restaurant and resulted in negative reviews for the museum on websites like Trip Advisor during the important summer tourist season.
It will be interesting to see if the city’s new director of homelessness, appointed in August at an annual salary of $137,500, can address this expanding problem.
“Clearly, what is happening is that government is forcing business to take on the social imperative,” Lee says.
The altruistic entrepreneur accepts that, up to a point. But the city needs to spend more time attending to basic services. And it has to stop pretending it can solve the world’s problems on the backs of small businesses.
Executive Editor