Potlatch Fund 20th Anniversary Gala : An Evening of Abundance & Giving
Oct 7th, I had the privilege of attending the Potlatch Fund’s 20th Anniversary Gala in Tulalip, Washington.
If you’re not familiar, Potlatch Fund is an incredible Native-led nonprofit organization that provides grants and leadership development to Tribal Nations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Their philosophy is centered around the idea of generosity, which fit appropriately into their gala theme this year, “Abundance & Giving”.
We started the evening with a 15 minute shuttle ride from the Tulalip Resort located in the mid-Puget Sound region of Washington to their Gathering Hall, getting to know the other guests on the way. A chance connection discovered between a guest from Montana who flew in for the event and my boss, a long-time patron and the one who’d graciously invited me to attend on behalf of our company, created this impression of wonder and magic that would continue through the night.
The sky was clear & blue and we arrived in time to enjoy a dreamy sunset over Tulalip Bay; a beautiful and appropriate segue into the evening ahead. The attendees, consisting mostly of members of some of the several hundreds of Native tribes across the United States, were dressed in an array of getups: some in gowns, cocktail attire or dapper suits. Many wearing bespoke pieces representing their native tribes, all intricate and beautiful. But worn most of all, big, warm, genuine smiles.
After mocktails and mingling over a silent auction offering up a variety of drool-worthy items such as original art pieces, handmade jewelry, vacations and other experiences, guests were led single-file into the Great Hall with traditional drumming and singing, which was something else to take in. The Great Hall certainly lived up to its name with its towering wood pillars, some carved from 140 year old trees.
Delicious smells from the buffet tables wafted over as soon as we were inside and we were reminded again of the evening’s theme: “Abundance & Giving”. Wild mushrooms, grilled fishes and meats, enormous fresh berries piled high in the tossed green salads, finished off with decadent chocolate cakes, fruit tarts and coffee.
For the rest of the evening, we had the opportunity to hear about the Potlatch Fund’s mission and its successes, where it started and how far the organization has come in its 20 years of operation. Rebecca Miles, Potlatch Fund's Director of Operations shared something that struck me in particular, about how the number of grant applications that had come through the past year had outweighed the amount of funds to go around. “So, what did we do?” She asked rhetorically. Well, what they did not do is award grants only to a selected some and leave out the others. Instead, they spread out all that they had available to reach each and every one of them. No one was left out of getting a piece of the pie, they just got a smaller piece. There it was affirmed again: abundance & giving.
It was evident, in listening to those who’s lives have been directly impacted by this organization that the Potlatch Fund is truly a gift to the community - to all communities. If you would like to learn more about the Potlatch Fund and ways you can contribute, you can visit them on their website: https://www.potlatchfund.org/.
Alexis Rose Taylor