Building a Strong Community—
It’s one of the core values our company was built upon.
Our restaurants forge a strong bond with our communities through fundraising for local charities, as well as giving our time and energy to build better communities. We strongly feel that each of us has a certain obligation to help make our world a better place, and we are privileged to serve and give back to the communities we so deeply care about.
Even though we have donated over $3,000,000 since our inception and have supported numerous local charities, the organization in which we have an ongoing commitment to is the Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission (UGM), where you will find our AQUA by El Gaucho and El Gaucho Seattle teams joyfully serving lunch to 250 people on the third and last Wednesday of every month. It started two years ago when Paul Mackay, El Gaucho Hospitality owner and long-time UGM supporter, asked his restaurant General Managers to tour the downtown UGM men’s shelter. Due to Paul’s generosity to UGM, he was named 2007 Cornerstone Humanitarian of the Year by the Washington Restaurant Association. At the same time, the General Manager at AQUA by El Gaucho, Chris Sparkman, heard from Governor Chris Gregoire that if every Washingtonian gave just one hour to charity, we’d have nearly 7 million volunteer hours to give to local organizations that desperately need aid. That struck a chord, and the commitment to serving lunch once a month was established. El Gaucho Seattle followed close behind.
Since 1932, the Mission has dedicated its efforts to compassionately helping those in need with services in education, spiritual development, and basic life essentials. We strongly believe in their mission, to “serve, rescue, and transform those in greatest need,” and are proud to partner with them to help restore hope in our community.
Our AQUA by El Gaucho team recently toured Hope Place, a 3-year-old women’s and children’s shelter in the Rainier Valley. On the outside, the structure looks like an apartment high-rise, and the inside is cheery with brightly colored painted walls. On the inside, it provides security for women and their children in need of a safe place. The building can accommodate 100 women, in addition to their children up to age 18 (most shelters only allow boys up to age 12). For the women lucky enough to be accepted, two tracks are offered for the initial 90-day recovery program: addiction, and domestic violence. 90% of the women qualify for both. Women in the program can choose to stay on for another year to continue with additional recovery and training.
Also included in the complex is a teen center, which services over 500 at-risk youth every week through after-school tutoring programs and counseling. The counselors also focus on working with gangs and identifying elementary school children who might be on the path to gang involvement, because, by middle school, it’s generally too late.
UGM is privately funded, and relies completely on volunteers and donations. Their annual fundraising event, Catalyst, will be held October 4th, at Fremont Studios. El Gaucho Hospitality will be providing food for the evening, in addition to donating live auction items. Will we see you there? Please join us for an incredible evening, raising money for a very worthy cause. If you cannot attend but would like to make a donation, please visit their website at www.ugm.org.