buildOn Board Member Fulfills Dream of Giving Back Through Seattle Chapter
Randi Hedin, a member of buildOn’s National Board of Directors, spearheaded the buildOn Seattle Chapter in 2009. She met buildOn COO Marc Friedman back in 1998 when they both served on another board in Connecticut Marc was gearing up with a buildOn (then Building With Books) fundraiser, and Randi was intrigued. “I remember saying, ‘What’s going on? What are you attending?’” Randi said. Then a couple of years later, she attended her first buildOn Dinner and became smitten with buildOn CEO and Founder Jim Ziolkowski’s vision. Randi contributed to buildOn during the annual fundraising events, but didn’t get more involved because she was working full-time and was raising two young children.
“I thought, someday, if I ever have time,
I really want to help and do whatever I can.”
– Randi Hedin
That day happened in the fall of 2007, when Randi and her husband Andy made a life-changing decision to move their family to Seattle and start a business. “My husband said, ‘You know that organization you’ve been interested in; could you set up a meeting with Marc?’” After Marc gave his presentation to the two, right then Andy and Randi decided right then to sponsor a school in Mali and travel together for the groundbreaking of it the following year. During the same meeting, Marc asked Randi if she would head up a chapter in Seattle and – not knowing anyone – she did!
Fast forward to the present: Randi’s been on six trips to build schools with buildOn; the chapter has raised money to build seven. And that’s just the beginning. The group is developing high school chapter programs in the region (it just started one in Renton High School), meeting with more companies to garner support for the chapter’s annual buildOn Seattle Dinner, and is fundraising to build schools in developing countries and sent local students to help be a part of the process.
Randi is also preparing herself to take buildOn to a higher level by getting her Masters of Law in Sustainable International Development Graduate Program at the University of Washington Law School starting this fall. As buildOn expands and grows, she hopes to help develop the organization in a deeper way through her own education.
“Our family is very big on education,” Randi said. “buildOn’s really allowed me to pursue that more deeply and see the value of it. Rather than just write a check, I’ve gotten to meet people in the program, the kids, the people in the villages and see what a difference buildOn makes; and what a difference each of us can make being part of something wonderfully empowering and transforming.”
Our Seattle Chapter is one of buildOn’s most dynamic chapters. Its mission is to get the word about buildOn in Seattle and to raise money to build schools in developing countries. The chapter’s done so by partnering up with local businesses – such as Seattle restaurant Gobble, which donated $700 to the group thanks to its generous patrons who contributed to a tip jar – and organizing a variety of fundraisers, ranging from wine-tastings and cocktail parties to an annual dinner with an auction. The dozen or so members also volunteer: they’ve sorted and packed food at Food Lifeline, a local distribution agency; and collected books for a book drive and built bookshelves for local adult literacy programs alongside Seattle high school students.
Interested in starting a buildOn chapter in your town? Learn how you can get involved .