Building community & creating multi-vocal spaces

Melissa Poe, anthropologist and Solid Ground supporter, shares her thoughts about why she gives to Solid Ground – and why she’s excited to attend our 10th annual Building Community Luncheon on Friday, May 6!
Melissa Poe
Melissa Poe, anthropologist & Solid Ground supporter

Like charitable organizations elsewhere, Solid Ground helps alleviate poverty and suffering by providing direct services to individuals and families who are struggling with economic and other types of hardship. Providing meals, housing, transportation, counseling and other emergency services to people in need is as critical now as ever.

What sets Solid Ground apart, however, is not simply its effective and ongoing delivery of food, shelter and services, but the organization’s commitment to fight root causes of social and economic injustices. You know the saying: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Solid Ground takes this direct service and empowerment model of charity and goes one step further by asking: Why is there hunger and poverty? Who experiences disproportionate poverty in our communities? And how can we affect change at institutional levels to end poverty?

When I give financial support to Solid Ground, I know that my small contribution is multiplied threefold by this dedicated and visionary organization.

I had the privilege of attending my first Solid Ground Building Community Luncheon in 2010. The luncheon gave me an opportunity to learn about the breadth of programming and hear moving personal stories from individuals who have received services over the years.

This year, I look forward to hearing from a local voice, Dan Savage. Mr. Savage has been a fierce, outspoken advocate for LGBTQ people and frequently raises questions about institutional injustices. As anyone who has read his relationship and sex column in The Stranger weekly newspaper knows, he can also be controversial. When thinking about the potential learning lessons that Savage’s recent “It Gets Better” project – where he takes off his columnist hat and dons a social service hat to offer hope to young people who may be facing crippling despair because of bullying and bigotry – might offer to a community of people dedicated to alleviating suffering and ending poverty, there are a couple of things I hope to reflect on.

First, community building. Over 10,000 videos have been submitted to the “It Gets Better” project. Multiply the number of videos by the number of people who produced and viewed them, and we are witnessing an enormous outreach effort to save lives and elevate happiness, potential and positivity for people, especially young queer people.

My second reflection is space. The project has created space for diverse voices to communicate their personal stories. It’s a space for creating, sharing, healing from trauma, and celebrating cross-generational and cross-cultural connections. 

Building community and creating multi-vocal spaces where people can heal, thrive, be nourished, and find home in the biggest sense of these words, is the common thread here. And it’s why I’m grateful to be able to attend Solid Ground’s annual fundraising luncheon once again.”

You can visit our Building Community Luncheon webpage to register to attend the event, or contact Megan Locatelli at or 206.694.6862 for more information!


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