Doug Baldwin is a man with many interests. He’s a star Seattle Seahawks wide receiver, a former YouTuber, and now, a full-fledged philanthropist. The Doug Baldwin Foundation and the City of Renton have received $1.5 million in funding from Washington state’s 2018 Supplemental Capital Budget, enough to begin the construction of the Family First Community Center.
The center will serve youth and families in the Cascade/Benson Hill area of Renton. That specific location was chosen for its high population of children and youth, its diversity, and the fact that it has been historically underserved and is in serious need of recreational facilities. The center will provide health, recreational, and educational services. Baldwin expressed his reasoning for selecting the project and its location on his charity’s website.
“Community centers not only provide athletic and educational activities, they are the building blocks for character building opportunities,” Baldwin explained. “These opportunities are being denied to many of the youth of today especially in the Cascade/Benson area.”
The City of Renton and the Doug Baldwin Foundation first teamed up in 2016 to start planning the Family First Community Center, which will cost approximately $15 million to build. The state’s $1.5 million contribution was the last portion of funding required to start construction. Renton City Council earmarked $4 million to help get the fundraising campaign off the ground. Renton School District is expected to provide land for the center, conveniently located next to Cascade Elementary School.
“The City of Renton has acquired $10.5 million for this project, enough to get started and break ground,” Deputy Public Affairs Administrator Preeti Shridhar told 425 magazine. “We’ve hired a project manager and an architect. The next step will be creating a construction timeline. The mayor’s goal is to begin construction before the end of this year.”
While public contributions to the center have been essential, private contributions have also made a difference.
“What’s making this a reality is a huge commitment from the business community,” Renton Mayor Denis Law stated.
First Financial Northwest Foundation donated $3 million. The Renton Rotary raised $90,000. Starbucks and Car Pros have also made significant contributions. In addition to a large donation from the company itself, ATS Automation has pledged to match employee contributions dollar for dollar. Tom and Karen Easton, owners of ATS Automation, additionally contributed $75,000 of their own funds. Several other private donors have also given money to the campaign.