In 1982, Tully's Coffee Chairman and CEO Tom T. O'Keefe and his wife, Cathy, learned that a child of one of their friends had been born with cystic fibrosis. In response, the O'Keefes helped start the very first cystic fibrosis "guild" in the Seattle area. Along with a handful of other couples, Tom and Cathy set out to raise money to help the research and treatment efforts of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
"We didn't know what we were getting into," recalls O'Keefe with a laugh.
The Guild's first effort, sponsoring a sailboat race from Ketchikan, Alaska to Seattle, raised $60,000. In the following year, a charity auction and dinner put on by the Guild, the Breath of Life Gala, surprised everyone. No one--not even Tom--expected that their first auction would net more than $160,000.
"He was doing this before it looked good," says Dottie Moore, the current director of the Washington Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Today, the Breath of Life Gala is among the largest fundraisers in Seattle. In 2005, the 17th annual Gala raised just over $3.6 million.
It's hard to believe, until you imagine a dinner auction that puts items like these on the block: a grand piano, a 1957 Mercedes convertible, the use of a hacienda in Chile and Dale Chihuly glass sculptures.
Thanks to the involvement of Tully's Coffee, the Breath of Life Gala is now the top fundraiser for cystic fibrosis in the world.
"When Tom started Tully's Coffee he wanted C.F. to be a part of it," says Moore. "C.F. is a part of his business, not an extension of it. Tully's Coffee has really made a difference in the fight to find a cure for C.F."
JUVENILE DIABETES RESEARCH FOUNDATION
How would you like to go fly-fishing with Seattle Mariner Jay Buhner on his ranch? Or take an exclusive flight to Singapore to deliver a brand new Boeing 777? Or receive a card entitling you to free "Lattes for a Year?" All these items were up for bid at the 17th Annual Seattle Guild Dream Gala fundraising event for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (J.D.R.F.), which raised $3.2 million in March.
The J.D.R.F. Dream Gala is not only one of the most popular fundraising events in the Northwest, it has become the template for other Juvenile Diabetes Foundation events all over the country.
"It's a lot of fun...we crafted an event that's different from the norm," says Tom T. O'Keefe, one of the co-founders of the Guild. "It's a mini-auction crossed with some high-end entertainment... It's the dream gifts—the ones money can't buy—that go for the most."
"The mission of J.D.R.F. is to fund research that will lead to a cure of diabetes and its complications," comments Executive Director Deniz Satir, "85 cents of every dollar raised at this event go directly to research."
"Their partnership, passion and dedication to the cause are extraordinary. They continue to be an inspiration to us all," says Satir, speaking of Tom and Cathy O’Keefe.
"Tully's believes in giving back to the community and that filters down to everyone in their company," Satir notes. "It's really important to them."
LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services.
The society’s mission: cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life for patients and their families.
Tully’s has worked with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, supporting them in their mission by providing coffee for events like the Light the Night Walk. Each fall, teams of friends, families and co-workers gather in cities across America and walk in twilight holding illuminated balloons representing survivors and supporters. The annual evening walking campaign celebrates and commemorates lives touched by cancer.
You can hear them before you ever see them. The loud roar of hundreds of Harley Davidsons coming down the street. It's a veritable swarm of big burley men and tough bike chicks in leather riding their Hogs towards a nearby city park. Is it a rally? A rumble? No, it's an annual fundraising event for the Children's Hospital.
The Children’s Ride is currently in its eleventh year. This year’s event, which took place on June 25, 2006, raised an unprecedented $601,000. This is the most ever raised by the Harley Ride and it goes directly to the Guild Association for Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center.
The event is not only a fun ride for Harley Davidson enthusiasts, but there's a raffle for a free motorcycle! This year, Tully’s was a $10,000 sponsor and provided drip coffee in the morning as well as espresso at Pacific Raceways, the final destination for riders.
"The event is a blast," says Wendy Funicello of Children's Hospital, "The motorcycle community is a great group of people to work with...it's very exhilarating!"