Supporting Educational Levies is Good for the Community, Good for the Economy

by msjones

This month Seattle voters will cast their ballots on Propositions 1 and 2, levies to support Seattle Public Schools. These levies are critical to providing our district with the funds they need to educate our kids. We encourage you to vote YES on each of the levies to ensure every child can get a quality public education.

If you haven’t been following the levies, here are the basics. Proposition 1, the Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy, covers the operating gaps the State currently does not fund. For example, the State funds nine nurses, the district employs 63. Proposition 2, the Building Excellence V (BEX V) Capital Levy, funds the construction of new buildings, design for future schools, and equitable technology investments in classrooms. The list of projects to be completed by BEX V can be found here. has been making our own investments in local schools over the last few months. Our network of tech and innovation workers want all kids to thrive. We volunteer, raise flexible funds, source school supplies, and help connect education to work. We do this because supporting local public education is critical to maintaining a healthy community and strong economy here in Seattle.

Let’s make sure young people in our city get the education they deserve. Vote YES on Propositions 1 & 2 and make sure to return your ballot by Tuesday, February 12th.

If you want more details about the levies, make sure to look at Seattle Public Schools levies page. hosts State Representatives to discuss their priorities for the upcoming legislative session at Amazon

by msjones

On January 11th at noon, a number of tech and innovation workers from across the community gathered in an Amazon conference room – both to engage with each other, and to hear some of their State Representatives talk about Democratic Caucus priorities for the upcoming legislative session. The session was purposefully modest – no fancy presentations, giant banners, or tv cameras. The Lunch & Learn was simply that: have some food and engage in a dialogue.

Representatives Lauren Davis (District 32), Nicole Macri (District 43), and Noel Frame (District 36) were on hand in part to talk with their constituents. But underneath that was, we think, a real desire to hear from Seattle’s sometimes “elusive” innovation economy worker. Our ilk has grown rapidly over the past decade and while policymakers and elected officials know we are here, they don’t always know how to find venues where they can offer thoughts and receive important input. CEO Nicholas Merriam and Amazon executive Eileen Sullivan led the conversation which included a broad range of topics, providing these Democratic Representatives an opportunity to highlight their priorities, especially the “must address” issues for the upcoming session. As they spoke a few themes emerged:

  1. Mental health and addiction have a domino effect across the community. They noted these issues exacerbated already challenging problems and must be stemmed using more aggressive services as well as more funding to support these services.
  2. Updating laws to reflect current technology. While the companies across Seattle and the state may be at the cutting edge, the state government is not. Specifically, Rep. Frame noted that many of the current laws have not kept pace and there is a real need to connect the ubiquity of today’s devices, services and uses with how law enforcement and others intersect with the private, public and personal arenas.
  3. Affordability was an overarching theme specific to lower- and moderate-income residents. It included affordable housing, childcare, healthcare, and student debt. Rep. Macri noted they specifically plan to push on housing policy throughout the session.

Following their moderated conversation, audience members asked a few questions. They only had time to discuss two of them: 1) What can we do to promote a more progressive tax structure? and 2) Public safety and security in areas like Ballard feels in decline. What can we do about it?

Attendees were encouraged to reach out to their own representatives if they supported a more progressive tax system while Ballard public safety was more of a Seattle City Council question – yet they also gave both personal and policy guidance to the questioner.

Following the event, many participants had a chance to ask one-on-one questions with the Representatives. Participants left knowing more, at a deeper level about what some of their elected officials are going to prioritize and how they could support those issues if they wanted too. This is what is all about.

Our next member exclusive Lunch & Learn will be at Vulcan on February 1st where we will talk to experts about educational funding including McCleary and the upcoming Seattle School Levies.

Member exclusive events, like these, are just one benefit of becoming a member. To learn more about how your company can join, visit our membership page.

Holiday Food Insecurity for Students, How to help, and looking forward to 2019

by msjones

As the year comes to a close, I am proud in our strides to bring to life. We launched at the end of September with great support from industry and the broader Seattle community. We raised more than $45,000, facilitated 150 volunteer hours, sourced 15+ large boxes of supplies, and connected Science on Wheels to the schools we support with Communities in Schools of Seattle. We continue to strengthen relationships between community leaders, educators, and the innovation economy.

2019 promises to be an exciting year as we deepen our work in the community and build civic education with our memership. Plans are in place to update a teacher’s lounge and host teacher appreciation events with other student-focused events in the works. We are also excited to share the start Member Exclusive Lunch & Learn programming, where innovation workers can gain exposure to issues in our community.

Join us as we continue to build partnerships and establish programming that deepens the connection between our innovation economy and local community.

Have a joyous holiday and new year!


Nicholas Merriam CEO

Puget Sound Business Journal Opinion: by CEO Nicholas Merriam CEO Nicholas Merriam recently wrote a piece for PSBJ on the issue of increased food insecurity for students during the holiday season. In it, he highlights the great work of Food Lifeline in addressing food insecurity in our community and shares how Communities in Schools can help you make a difference.

Read the full PSBJ Article

Help Stop Student Hunger During the Holidays supports Communities in Schools of Seattle by connecting volunteers, relationships, and resources. Students in their network who rely on free and reduced lunch are at an increased risk of hunger during the holidays. Making a small donation to fund a gift card for their family can help reduce their food insecurity.

Help stop Seattle student hunger this holiday season!

Welcome new member Rover! is delighted to welcome Rover to the membership! Founded in 2011, Rover is the world’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers. Rover connects pet parents with dog people who’ll treat their pets like family. Welcome aboard Rover!

Visit their website!

Take our survey – You can be part of the solution. is here to help you navigate and take action on these issues. Working with member companies we provide innovation workers – like you – straightforward ways to digest the issues then become part of the solution.

Tell us what issues you want to help tackle.

Bridging the Local Economy with Community

by msjones

Welcome to the brand new e-newsletter and thank you for subscribing! is where the innovation economy creates local community impact. We help you stay informed on pressing social issues in Seattle and provide straightforward paths for you to take action.

The membership is made up of more 60,000 local innovation workers from a dozen world-class businesses. Working together, we will bolster and support impactful solutions to some of our city’s most pressing problems.

Nicholas Merriam CEO
Did you see our Geekwire Article?
As tensions rise in booming Seattle, tech industry steps up civic engagement

greenlight: partners with Communities in Schools of Seattle to build bridges with Seattle Public Schools

On September 20th, organized 35 employee volunteers representing founding member companies to participate in the first day of action at Aki Kurose Middle School in south Seattle. volunteers worked with Communities in Schools of Seattle and Aki Kurose Middle School staff to distribute free school supplies at a pop-up store for students. Volunteers also met with students to share their own career stories, then helped students map out some post-secondary goals. The event was celebratory, including fun activities like soccer, music, pizza and ice cream, and an engaging exhibit from the Pacific Science Center.

Prior to the event, ran campaigns with member companies to raise awareness on the challenges some Seattle students face. members and their employees donated 15 boxes of school supplies, contributed more than $45,000 to Communities in Schools of Seattle, and registered for regular in-school volunteer opportunities.

We invite you to help us support our local schools and students.

Learn about the greenlight initiative.

Take our survey – You can be part of the solution.

The last few years of incredible economic growth in Seattle has propelled our city to world-class stature. Some of the world’s most recognizable brands call this place home, bolstering individual prosperity for many. However, this growth has also exacerbated some pressing social challenges we face: housing affordability, homelessness, traffic, public education. Each issue is complex and nuanced. is here to help you navigate and take action on these issues. Working with member companies we provide innovation workers – like you – straightforward ways to digest the issues then become part of the solution.

Tell us what issues you want to help tackle.

Welcome new member Pacific Science Center! welcomes its first nonprofit member, the Pacific Science Center. As a local hub for science, technology, and innovation for the past 56 years, the Pacific Science Center is deeply rooted in the community and excited to be a member.

Pacific Science Center will deliver Science On Wheels to all greenlight elementary and middle schools. Each school will enjoy a day-long event with interactive workshops, live stage shows and portable exhibit sets that build excitement for science, math, engineering and more. Greenlight High Schools will be invited to Discovery Corps, where participants are exposed to numerous aspects of science, math, and technology through a system of training and assessment leading to increased responsibility, pay, and skill. members can volunteer at these in-school programs.

Email us if you want to volunteer.

A Successful Launch at Aki Kurose Middle School!

by msjones

35 volunteers from seven member companies joined us last Thursday. We appreciate that you stuck with us through the schedule change as we started our work with Seattle Schools. Our first campaign raised more than $40,000 for our partner Communities in Schools to support students and provided thousands of dollars of school supplies. We hope that you learned something new, made friends with a student, or high-fived a teacher for being awesome.

The feedback from Aki Kurose’s staff has been wildly positive. Teachers and administrators alike, were deeply appreciative of you sharing your career path with students. The supplies were definitely a hit with the students, closely rivaled by Blitz. And who doesn’t love pizza and ice cream?!

Check out our recent press on Geekwire and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Perhaps this experience sparked your interest in doing something more to support our local public education system. Here’s what you can do:

Your Feedback: Please take 90 seconds to fill out this survey so we can provide fantastic additional experiences.

Volunteer Regularly: sign up here to learn more about volunteering regularly with Communities In Schools of Seattle.

Donate: contributions get kids more extracurricular activities or can be used to address family emergencies that keep them from learning.

Thank you again for supporting schools in our community,

Nick CEO