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Friends of Third Place Commons 

Description

Friends of Third Place Commons is an effective organization with the significant mission of providing accessible community space and creating opportunities for people of all ages, regardless of their income level or physical abilities. With a moderate budget, small staff, and devoted volunteer base, we coordinate 800 events every year, serve at least 1000 people who use the Commons daily, and another 7,000 who shop at our weekly farmers market.  All of our programs are free-of-charge.

Mission Statement
Friends of Third Place Commons enriches and supports vibrant community connections by - providing and maintaining the Third Place Commons space, where the community can host its many and diverse activities, programs, and events, keeping them free to all; - presenting the local community farmers market; and - reaching out to civic, arts, and social service entities to maximize their impact on quality of life.
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Friends of Third Place Commons
PO Box 82355 
Kenmore 
WA
98028 
(206) 366-3302 

Constance Perenyi 
Executive Director 

Programs

Friends of Third Place Commons Programs

Friends of Third Place Commons offers a wide variety of activities for children and families. For infants, toddlers, and their adult caregivers, we partner with the Center for Human Services to provide weekly interactive early learning activities. We make our community stage available at no charge for students and teachers from north end and eastside schools to present concerts, dance recitals, and theater events. Friends partners with the King County Library System on special family entertainment events, a weekly writing group for adults, Pizza and Books for young readers, and anime and writing workshops for teenagers.

In 2005, Friends of Third Place Commons responded to community requests by opening the Lake Forest Park Farmers Market. Throughout the economic downturn while other local farmers markets experienced declines in sales , we welcomed more shoppers than ever, as many as 8,000 per week. We welcome community nonprofits and merchants from the Town Center at Lake Forest Park to do outreach in our community tent. 

With grants from funders such as 4Culture and Humanities Washington,  Friends of Third Place Commons offers special programming to the community, ranging from our first World Music Festival in 2008 to Native American Storytelling in 2011.  Every program is free of charge, and is promoted to a wide diversity of participants.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

As sponsors of the Lake Forest Park Farmers Market, Friends of Third Place Commons is committed to increasing  the accessibility of fresh, nutritious, and local food for everyone in the community.  In 2008, Friends received a venture grant from United Way of King County to develop and test a new food assistance program at the Market.   After a successful pilot phase, Friends has received regular funding to help put healthy food on the plates of our neighbors in need. 

Market Bucks are $2 coupons that are used to buy food directly from the farmers at the market.  They are distributed through partner agencies such as the Shoreline School District, Hopelink, Center for Human Services, and the Shoreline /Lake Forest Park Senior Center.  Recipients are already screened, and each agency is aware of their needs and of their ability to travel to the market.  With solid infrastructure to support the program, Friends carefully tracks distribution and redemption numbers.

The program emphasizes good nutrition as it increases access to fresh fruits and vegetables for people who are struggling to feed themselves and their families.  Because the project is community-based, it helps create or reinforce other safety nets by raising awareness of services offered by our partner agencies. Already a model throughout Washington and beyond, the program has gained national attention.  Friends is frequently asked to consult with agencies and other markets interested in food assistance programs. 

In 2011, the program was funded by United Way and Church of the Redeemer in Kenmore, and we redeemed over $15,000 worth of Market Bucks during the season.  As we begin the 2012, we are seeking new funders so we can continue to make the Lake Forest Park Farmers Market accessible to our hungry neighbors. 

Evaluation


Friends of the Third Place Commons (FTPC) manages Third Place Commons in the Lake Forest Park Towne Center shopping mall. It supports activities, events and entertainment at Third Place Commons; facilitates community participation of events; expands partnerships among interested groups; and hosts a weekly farmers market adjacent to the Towne Centre.

Best Practices
FTPC collaborates with organizations in the community to bring entertainment and resources to residents of Lake Forest Park. Activities include children's concerts and programs, senior activities, dance recitals, health/fitness fairs, community arts, school presentations, candidate forums, picnics in the park, and youth sports registrations.

Accessibility and Cultural Competency
FTPC is working to create community connections in a suburban setting that does not have many vehicles to encourage interaction between residents. They have grown steadily and have a calendar full of events and programs.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

DateAmountPurpose
There are no recent grants awarded to this organization.

Financials

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