Seattle Foundation Blog

Seattle Lawyer Sings the Praises of Localized Philanthropy.

Paula Boggs translated her love of music into a fund benefitting KEXP radio.

October 31, 2015

Not many can boast a background as wildly varied as that of Paula Boggs. Having attended high school in Germany and Italy, she studied at Johns Hopkins University, where she co-founded the women’s cross-country and track-and-field programs and began training as a U.S. Army paratrooper through an ROTC scholarship. She went on to work in the legal department at the White House, became a federal prosecutor and later was hired as general counsel at Starbucks. Through it all, she was always drawn to music.

So when Boggs, 53, retired from Starbucks, she and her spouse, Randee Fox, opened a donor-advised fund at Seattle Foundation that directs the majority of their giving to an enduring champion of Seattle’s independent music scene: public radio station KEXP-FM. Rather than donating directly to the station, Boggs, of Sammamish, chose to support KEXP through a partnership with Seattle Foundation, in part because of the tax advantages from structuring her giving as a fund. But Boggs says she also wanted to make a statement in support of Seattle Foundation’s mission to build a healthy community, which includes a vibrant arts scene.

“I elected to go with Seattle Foundation because Seattle is my community. What makes us special is the combination of our unique geography, our off-the-charts intelligence and our artistic vibe. No matter who you are, you can always participate in Seattle and find a way to make a difference.”

Boggs could write a book about her myriad life experiences. Instead, she writes songs. In 2005, Boggs enrolled in a yearlong songwriting class through University of Washington’s Professional and Continuing Education program, where she began playing open-mic shows and meeting other musicians. Now, the Paula Boggs Band performs bluesy rock originals at intimate venues throughout the Puget Sound area. AllMusic calls her sound “part Janis Ian and part Carole King, with a wee bit of Tracy Chapman thrown in.”

For Boggs, music is a pastime, but she is sensitive to those for whom music is a vocation. “I realize how special it is to be where I am,” she says. “I’m able to create music and perform it, unburdened by any need to make money from what I do. But I spent a year in that songwriting program with people trying to grab at the brass ring in one form or another. For them, KEXP symbolizes their only hope of being heard.” The experience gave her a greater appreciation for KEXP’s singular role for emerging local artists. She now serves on the KEXP board of directors.

“It’s important that music be discovered by audiences through vehicles other than commercial radio,” Boggs says. “And I want to support that.”

Originally written for an Annual Report by Stuart Eskanzi.



For Philanthropists


philanthropistsArts and Culturehealthy community framework

Related Post

Dr. Cherry Banks sits with her husband with pictures lining the walls behind them, and her daughter, Patricia Banks, sits on a chair in a sleeveless dress with her arms by her side

Bolstering Black Philanthropy in August and Beyond

August 31, 2021

A question—more so, a charge, from Seattle Foundation Chief Engagement Officer Stephanie Bray was shared at the last ‘In Conversation, In Community’ event. “Now that we know, what are we going to do?” Her question came after a poignant discussion about why donors should provide funding to Black-led and rooted organizations.

Dr. Benjamin Danielson Joins Seattle Foundation Board of Trustees

Dr. Benjamin Danielson Joins Seattle Foundation's Board of Trustees

July 15, 2021

Dr. Danielson is a widely respected healthcare professional and advocate of building a greater sense of well-being and equity in underserved communities across the Greater Seattle region.

Children wearing a mask in a parking lot with a red cross van behind them

Using Data to Fill the Greatest Needs for PPE

June 01, 2021

Seattle Foundation Philanthropists Rich Tong and Trang Le leveraged their technology backgrounds to help state and local leaders make important purchasing decisions for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other vital pandemic resources.