Together Center is one of the first nonprofit multi-tenant centers created in the nation. During the late 1980′s, a number of nonprofit leaders discussed the need for a low-cost, centralized home for services. The goals were to meet the multiple needs of clients, overcome transportation barriers and provide the community with a large service mix. In addition, the new Center would keep costs low and create unpredictable but expected synergy and partnerships.
In 1990, four agencies (Friends of Youth, Hopelink, Youth Eastside Services, and Eastside Human Services Council, later replaced by HealthPoint) formed a separate nonprofit agency to achieve this and in 1991 loaned thousands of dollars to the newly-formed Family Resource Center (now Together Center) to purchase a three-building complex in Redmond.
Since that time, a high level of community support has gone into developing the founding vision. Over two million dollars has been donated from private foundations, corporations, and local and federal government to renovate the campus buildings and launch the Center’s innovative project.
TOGETHER CENTER THROUGH THE YEARS
- June 2010: Together Center co-founder J. Howard Finck (a long-time CEO of Friends of Youth) is honored with the Alliance of Eastside Agencies Legacy Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Services for helping to launch Together Center 20 years ago.
- May 2010: Public Health Seattle & King County’s Outreach and Access Program now staffs the lobby on Thursdays from 10 am to 2 pm to assist people with access to State programs and with other information and referral needs.
- December 2009: The City of Issaquah approves funds for the Center to conduct of feasibility study related to a human service center in the Issaquah area. A January survey shows significant interest in the project.
- August 2009: A major milestone is reached as Eastside Cultural Navigator Program moves from its first shared space in Together Center offices to its own offices off the main lobby.
- June 2009: The Alliance of Eastside Agencies staff award for nonprofit excellence goes to Together Center Operations Manager Paula Matthysse for her roles in increasing access to services by a diverse community and benefiting the Eastside’s nonprofit community.
- May 2009: Major project to replace all HVAC units provides an additional 15% in energy savings and helps the Center become modern and green. This project completes a series of major replacements (roof, interior lights and HVAC) costing $540,000 over four years. 81% is paid with community support.
- January 2009: Homeless Advocate Vets Edge is added to the lobby part-time to assist the growing numbers of homeless.
- June 2007: After a massive plumbing leak, plans to re-layout the Center are expedited to better meet the information and referral needs of all customers, particularly the homeless, domestic violence survivors and immigrants.
- February 2007: To help immigrants and refugees access services, the Center became primary host to “cultural navigators,” who assist families in Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Indian languages. Navigators share the Together Center administrative offices.
- November 2004: Together Center leverages the property to lower costs to 18 agencies on our campus. After completing a three year capital drive, the Center refinances using a one-of-a-kind amortization schedule and passes the benefits to tenant agencies.
- July 2003: Karen Bates takes the helm for a project to increase program dollars at 18 health and human service agencies by the simple means of paying off the Center’s mortgage. The Kirkland City Council voted to spend $10,000 from its discretionary fund to support the campaign, and the Paul G. Allen Charitable Foundation pledged to match donations.
- February 2003: Family Resource Center was awarded the 2002 Non-Profit Breakthrough Award at the Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce Business Award. The Award honors an organization that made significant strides towards accomplishing their mission. The Family Resource Center was selected as the award’s inaugural recipient because of its support and encouragement of other charitable organizations.
- May 2002: Together Center receives the 2002 Evergreen Award for nonprofit excellence from the Evergreen State Society, now part of EA the Nonprofit Alliance, for its campaign to benefit its agencies with a capital campaign to lower debt
- February 2002: Together Center is honored with the 2002 Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit Breakthrough Award at the Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards.
- December 2001: Family Resource Center this year celebrated ten years of service and the successful launch of the Eastside’s human services campus. At the ten year mark, the innovative nonprofit organization has grown to be a significant model for others looking to match its success in easing access to community services and keeping costs low.
- March 2000: US Bank removes guarantees by four founding agencies. We’re all grown up and on our way!
- September 1999: A partnership with Eddie Bauer allows FRC to arrange classes at the software training facilities of Eddie Bauer University. Over the next year 106 staff from 30 organizations will receive low-cost training, most taking more than one class.
- June 1999: Free telephone service is added to FRC’s main lobby thanks, at first, to a Department of Social and Health Services program. Today, two free public phones are in active use.
- November 1998: The last for-profit tenant moves out, and FRC is now a 100% nonprofit campus.
- April 1998: The Center holds its first Eastside Volunteer Fair to provide a “one-stop” venue for volunteer opportunities. More than 30 nonprofits participate. The event becomes a yearly standard for the Eastside. With a move to Crossroads Bellevue, the Fair now has approximately 50 agency participants yearly
- November 1997: The mortgage loan is refinanced through Washington Health Care Facilities Authority, saving $359,667 over the life of the loan, which is passed on to tenants in the form of lower lease rates. Because the Center is a unique campus and accomplished what is normally done only by very large institutions, the WHCFA names the refinancing WHCFA’s “Unique Deal of the Quarter.”
- June 1997: A lease rate survey is taken of comparable real estate, which underscores that FRC’s low-cost lease structure continues to greatly benefit agencies. By 2000, there is a marked increase (25 – 55%) in Eastside lease rates (with no Center increases), which continues today. Approximately $220,000 is saved yearly by agencies through lower leases alone.
- December 1995: FRC receives $348,250 from the State of Washington capital budget to reduce its mortgage, thereby allowing the Center to repay its founding agencies.
- June 1995: Together Center receives the 1994 King County Housing and Development Partner Award. Then King County Executive Gary Locke notes: “The Family Resource Center embodies a vision of human service collaboration and co-location that is a model for others.”
- April 1993: New campus agency association meetings provide a forum for working on collaborative goals.
- October 1992: An open house is held to thank contributors who have donated $600,000 to date. The Center is now home to ten agencies.
- November 1991: Community Health Centers of King County (now HealthPoint) replaces EHSC as a founding agency and assumes its responsibilities.
- May 1991: A failing three-building strip mall in downtown Redmond is purchased for $1.6 million. The Cities of Bellevue ($100,000), Redmond and King County make initial financial gifts. The four founding agencies loan $315,000 for closing costs and guarantee the loan.
- November 1990: Articles of Incorporation are filed on 11/13/90, and the Center gains its 501(c)3 nonprofit corporate status.
- 1990: Four agencies commit to launch the Center: Friends of Youth, Multi-Service Centers of North and East King County (now Hopelink), Youth Eastside Services and Eastside Human Services Council (EHSC).
- Mid 1980s: A study conducted by the Eastside Human Services Council (now defunct) identifies the advantages of collaboration for social service agencies (along with the inherent difficulties of that collaboration). Approximately 14 different agencies gather in the late over several years to discuss if and how a central hub for nonprofits might be formed.