Ballard Gives Black makes a big difference

Last Friday, Nov. 29 was Black Friday, and while many corporate businesses all over the nation were reaping profits en masse, Ballard businesses were tucking way portions of their sales for local non-profits.

Christy MacDonald, owner of Secret Garden Books, said she will be donating portions of her Black Friday sales to Page Ahead Children's Literacy, a non-profit that has provided books and literacy services to more than 650 thousand at-risk children in Washington since 1990.

According to the Ballard Chamber of Commerce, when shoppers buy locally, three times the revenue remains in your community and non-profit organizations receive an average of 250 percent more support from local business owners than they do from non-locally owned businesses.

Something like the Give Black program started last year with Market Street Shoes giving a portion of Black Friday sales to a local non-profit. The campaign now has spread to 18 merchants participating.

Here is a list of all the non-profits receiving funds from Ballard Gives Black:
Soulumination, Seattle Animal Shelter, Cancer Lifeline, Childhaven, Ballard Boys and Girls Club, Bristol Bay United, Page Ahead Children's Literacy, Red Cross Typhoon Haiyan Response Fund, Ballard Food Bank, Heroes for the Homeless, Dress For Success and United Way.

The Ballard News Tribune caught up with MacDonald on Black Friday.

“Its been very steady. We’ve never had much of a day with Black Friday, but we’ve been busy,” said MacDonald.

“At this merchant meeting several months ago we were trying to imagine what a holiday program would look like in Ballard and someone just turned ‘Black Friday’ on its ear and said, ‘Ballard Gives Black,’ and we all went, ‘Yes!”

The bigger picture, explained MacDonald, is that there has been a steady following from Ballard Merchants Association, which is now folded in with the Ballard Chamber.

“The coolest part about this is now for a year there has been a regular merchants meeting on the first Wednesday of every month. People have been coming to meetings and pitching in, sharing the work and funds, and it has really come together,” said MacDonald.

The merchants came together and organized the Ballard Gives Black event, where each merchant had a choice in how much to give and which non-profit to give to.

“It’s Ballard and we are all independent businesses and no one wants to march to the same drummer, but we do like marching together and being a colorful parade,” said MacDonald.

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