GiveBIG is a defining moment to change lives

GiveBIG is an inspiring day of giving on May 9 — there's no better time to transform more lives with your gift in support of Seattle's Union Gospel Mission. 

We're here for anyone who needs a helping hand. We connect everyone who comes to the Mission with hot meals, safe shelter, and other critical essentials. We provide homeless people with access to services. Our addiction recovery programs provide the physical, mental, and spiritual healing people need to rebuild relationships and reengage with society.

DOUBLE your impact — starting April 26

Thanks to a generous matching grant, your GiveBIG gift to Seattle's Union Gospel Mission will be DOUBLED to help twice as many homeless people in our community. 

Starting on April 26, you can schedule your GiveBIG gift in advance for maximum impact! You'll receive a confirmation email and your gift will be processed on May 9.

Your GiveBIG gift helps people like Spenser


Spenser hugged his knees a little tighter.

How long had he been in there? Probably hours. Still, he was used to the musty smell of the closet. And the darkness wasn’t so bad, once his eyes adjusted. His ears strained to hear any sound. All was quiet . . . but he didn’t dare even take a peek outside the door. He was afraid of what his mother might do to him if she caught him out of the closet.

Maybe she’d come after him with the broom handle. Like she did when that kid took his bicycle. She made him go and fight for the bike. And the other kid was much, much bigger. When he didn’t want to fight anymore, his mom told the big kid he could keep the bike. Spenser sure didn’t deserve it. Spenser’s eyes burned with tears at the memory. But he didn’t let them fall.

Instead, anger and hatred welled up from somewhere deep in his soul. His jaw clenched and his hands balled into fists. He wanted to hit someone.

At 52 years old, Spenser could still feel the old bitterness rising inside him as he recalled how his mother “trained” him to be a “real man.”

For Spenser, the abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother was just the beginning. Things were about to go from bad to worse. “My mom used to give me alcohol all the time,” Spenser recalls. “I probably started drinking regularly when I was 12.”

With frightening speed, Spenser turned into a very volatile, very angry young man. “I couldn’t walk away from trouble,” Spenser says. “Because if [my mom] found out, it would be even worse. She trained me to be violent, not to back down. It really messed me up in the head. Dangerous, no fear . . . and with the alcohol . . . I wasn’t a very nice person.”

Spenser’s only saving grace was he did have a strong work ethic. At 14 years old, Spenser got his first job, washing dishes.

Nowhere to go, nothing to lose

Now in his early 50s, Spenser has spent a lifetime doing hard, physical work. His work ethic remained strong, but his body not so much. That’s how he found himself living in his car, addicted to alcohol and painkillers.

When Spenser made the decision to come to the Mission, he had two DUIs and a jail stint to his name. Of his healing, Spenser says, “It’s been a slow process. There was no, wake up one morning, oh my gosh, I’m cured.”

The scars you can't see

Past trauma and abuse leave invisible scars. That’s why part of the healing process at the Mission is helping people overcome emotional and mental health issues. Like depression . . . post-traumatic stress . . . and rage.

Part of Spenser’s healing process has been dealing with his past and his violent tendencies. It’s still a struggle, as Spenser freely admits: “I’m not violent anymore. But in certain situations I feel like I’m not handling it right because I should be hitting this person. I control it. But it still really eats at me like that wasn’t the way a man would’ve handled it.” 


“The Mission gave me a place and an environment where I could add some type of value.”



Your GiveBIG compassion will transform lives

Spenser has spent the last two years moving forward on his daily journey to achieve peace and stability in his life. “I have a son and a daughter and a granddaughter. All they’ve ever known about me is being drunk. I’d like to make changes for them . . .” But most of all, Spenser shares: “I just want to have some peace in my life. Just to have peace.”

Thousands of broken individuals will come to the Mission this year. And like Spenser, many will be on the brink, ready to throw in the towel, unless they can find something to live for. Your GiveBIG gift not only feeds a hungry soul, it has the power to change lives.

Chance to win $2,500 GiveBIG award

One special GiveBIG donor will be chosen by The Seattle Foundation every hour over an 8-hour period, starting at 11:00am on May 9. The donor will receive an additional $2,500 award for their nonprofit. Donations made up to that point, including scheduled gifts starting on April 26, will be eligible to win.

Do you have questions? Get in touch with Alex — or (206) 432-8423.

What’s better than transforming 1 life?
Transforming 2!

Matching Grant DOUBLES your gift