Feature Story

It Starts With Yes: Join Our Great Big Yes for Kids!

YES module image

On November 15, Seattle Children’s Guild Association joined supporters in unveiling It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s, a fundraising campaign with a bold vision to ensure that more families can count on hope, care and cures ‒ now and into the future.

This campaign is the largest in Seattle Children’s history, and we began preparing for it in 2010. The overall goal is $1 billion, and the Guild Association aims to contribute $150 million toward the total. Even though we publicly unveiled the campaign this November, all giving since October 2010 counts toward the goal. You have already contributed an impressive $90 million! Together, we can raise the final $60 million.

“We are where we are today thanks to guild members, and we’re so incredibly grateful to you for all you do for Seattle Children’s,” says Aileen Kelly, executive director of the Guild Association. “Our guilds always rise to meet the needs of families, and with It Starts With Yes, we are calling on everyone to continue that good work for generations to come. With your support, we’ll be able to achieve revolutionary advances in child health and wellness and meet our goal to say yes to every family!” Read more.

Campaign Priorities: How Your Support Makes a Difference

Odessa Brown provider and family

When Seattle Children’s opened its doors in 1907, the founders had a clear mission for the hospital ‒ to care for every child, regardless of their ability to pay. It Starts With Yes calls on you to help us continue and build on this enduring goal to assist families in need; expand necessary healthcare and research facilities; and invest in clinical programs to revolutionize children’s healthcare.

This campaign is about seizing the moment! Seattle Children’s is uniquely positioned to transform childhood health in crucial areas, for kids here at home and around the world. With your support, we plan to turn research gains we’ve made over the last decade into better treatments and cures; to expand necessary healthcare and research facilities; and to invest in clinical programs to advance children’s healthcare ‒ all while continuing to serve every child who needs our care.

All gifts to Seattle Children’s support the campaign, but these are areas of special focus:

Saying yes to every child and family

With this campaign, and with your partnership, we are advancing our core mission to care for every child. Seattle Children’s is calling on you to help continue and build upon our enduring goal, allowing the hospital to continue to provide about $120 million a year in financial assistance for families in need; expand necessary healthcare and research facilities; and invest in clinical programs to advance children’s healthcare. You can help ensure that illness doesn’t take away a childhood ‒ and help us envision a future without childhood disease.

Delivering on the promise and power of immunotherapy

We’re building on what we’ve learned ‒ and we’ll keep refining treatment approaches until T-cell immunotherapy brings cures to all kids with cancer. To expand Seattle Children’s T-cell immunotherapy research capabilities, a portion of the campaign will help fund Building Cure, a 540,000-square-foot research facility in the heart of downtown Seattle. We will accelerate research for dozens of childhood diseases for which immunotherapy holds great promise, including cancer, diabetes, sickle cell anemia and HIV. The new facility will also expand Seattle Children’s ability to manufacture cell therapy products, such as T cells for cancer immunotherapy, so more children can be helped each year ‒ 1,000 versus 150 currently. The Cure Factory, a state-of-the-art manufacturing center, will be the largest manufacturing center of cell therapy products in the country.

Launching a new era for community health and wellness

The campaign will find new and innovative ways to keep more children healthy and out of the hospital. One of those ways will be to build a new Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) in a location that will better serve more children in need. OBCC has been at the forefront of delivering equitable health to Seattle’s children for decades, and this one-of-a-kind health innovation hub will expand on this success by bringing clinicians, researchers and families together to address the social, economic and environmental roots of illness.

Unlocking the mysteries of the developing brain

We will invest in recent, dramatic advances in precision medicine, personalized for each child, to more effectively diagnose and treat a wide range of brain disorders ‒ such as epilepsy, autism, brain tumors, ADHD and other mental and behavioral health issues.

Say yes with a legacy gift!

The campaign will also focus on ensuring families can count on us today and always through legacy gifts. Every gift to It Starts With Yes ‒ of any amount ‒ helps a child. Legacy gifts, such as including Seattle Children’s in your will or as a beneficiary of a bank account, will help us be poised to meet the unique needs of future generations of kids. The Guild Association has a campaign goal to add 325 more guild members to the Guardians’ Circle, a group honoring those who have included Seattle Children’s in their charitable estate plans.

Why I Say Yes: Carter Stevenson

Carter Stevenson“I say yes to Seattle Children’s to ensure that someday soon doctors everywhere will be able to answer ‘no’ when asked, ‘Does my child still have cancer?’ I feel honored that I get to play a small role in the life-changing immunotherapy work being done at Seattle Children’s.”

‒ Carter Stevenson, Team Becca Guild

Other News

Guilds Fund Hope: Building Care Takes Healthcare Into the Future

Funding Hope award supports newest hospital expansion

Building Care rendering 

Building Care is one of several new Seattle Children’s building projects that are part of It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s.

The Seattle Children’s Guild Association 2018 and 2019 Funding Hope award says yes to the next phase of the hospital’s master building plan by rallying behind Building Care. Each year, the association directs a small portion of its annual fundraising monies to priority research and hospital needs ‒ offering hope as new patient needs emerge. The award of $5 million over the next two years will fund Building Care as part of It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s. It will be the newest addition to the hospital’s Seattle campus, providing patients with the most advanced pediatric treatments for decades to come.

The 300,000-square-foot, eight-story building will break ground this fall and will house the new operating room suite, Heart Center and laboratory, as well as a new outpatient cancer center and infusion unit, which will connect to the inpatient Cancer Care Unit. Building Care will be located over the current River parking lot and will include underground parking. It is scheduled to open in 2021.

Why do we need Building Care?

“As the population of our region continues to grow, Building Care will help us meet the needs of more families,” says Seattle Children’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jeff Sperring. “Research is at the heart of Seattle Children’s mission and finding potential cures in a lab is not enough. It’s important that clinical facilities are designed to support transforming research advances into real therapies, integrating research and patient care.”

Building Care will provide additional needed space for Seattle Children’s doctors to treat patients participating in clinical trials and research studies. And because our hospital campus has been built over time, some older areas cannot support today’s care practices and technologies. Building Care’s flexible spaces are designed to serve our patients and care providers for the decades ‒ and cures ‒ to come.

Why I Say Yes: Suzi Latham

Suzi Latham“Starting a new campaign is exciting and exhilarating full of dramatic turns and new heights like a roller coaster. The key to taking on a new lofty goal is knowing that every volunteer can’t do everything, but everyone can do something. Get involved and enjoy the ride ‒ it’s worth it!”

‒ Suzi Latham, Friends of Costco Guild

Bargain Boutiques Update

Bargain Boutiques update photo

For the seventh year in a row, Seattle Children’s Bargain Boutique stores have devoted a fall promotion to raising funds for the lifesaving research conducted by Dr. Mike Jensen and his team at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Together, the six Research Champions stores have raised a total of $220,000 for innovative immunotherapy research, which is showing promising results for a cure for some forms of cancer. Last fall, they were happy to join forces with It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s, for which immunotherapy is a top priority.

“We are excited to continue to say yes to this important cause until we bring cures to all kids with cancer!” says Eva Campbell, director, Seattle Children’s retail. “Our staff, volunteers and shoppers are behind it 100%!”

Learn more about cancer-research fundraising at the Bargain Boutiques, or visit a store near you.

Why I Say Yes: Cynthia Huffman

Cynthia Huffman“Saying yes to Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic means ensuring that all children have equal opportunities to benefit from that mission. When we talk about supporting all children and families ‒ especially the most vulnerable ‒ what we are really talking about is investing in the growth and well-being of our community. How can you not say yes to that?”

‒ Cynthia Huffman, Friends of Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic Guild

Say Yes to New Members and the Annual Meeting!


Do you know someone who would be a great guild member? Invite them to our annual welcome brunch. And we hope to see all of you at a very special annual meeting in May ‒ when we will highlight how you say yes in celebration of It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s.

“The ever-quickening pace of medical advances in tandem with our mission, vision and world-class expertise leads us to believe that Seattle Children’s is uniquely positioned to revolutionize child health. With you by our side, we believe we can say yes!” says Dr. Jeff Sperring, Seattle Children’s chief executive officer, pictured with his wife, Amie. The Sperrings are lifetime members of the Guild Association.

Guild Association New Member Open House

Guild Association Annual Meeting and Luncheon Celebration

  • Friday, May 11
  • 9:30 a.m., project display tables open
  • 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., luncheon and program featuring keynote speaker
  • The Westin Seattle, 1900 5th Ave., Seattle, WA 98101

If you have questions or need more information, please email us.

Why I Say Yes: Shireen Singh

Shireen Singh“Saying yes to Seattle Children’s is saying yes to hope, care and cures for thousands of kids in our immediate community, and millions beyond.”

‒ Shireen Singh, Kare4Kids Guild

Awards Honor Our Shining Stars

Woman and child

Each year at the Guild Association Annual Meeting and Luncheon Celebration, one exceptional guild member and one outstanding guild are recognized for their extraordinary dedication and commitment to the mission of Seattle Children’s. Submit your nomination for the Anna Clise Award and Chairman’s Award online, or call to request forms from Emily Downing at 206-987-6928. Nominations are due March 19.

Why I Say Yes: Cilla Joondeph

Cilla Joondeph“Our guild has been together supporting Seattle Children’s for more than 50 years! We are no longer managing major fundraisers, yet each of us can say yes to improving the lives of children now and in the future by remembering Seattle Children’s in our wills.”

‒ Cilla Joondeph, Milnora de B. Roberts Guild

Leaving a Legacy: Shifting the Philanthropy Paradigm

Nancy Cahill

Nancy Cahill has been a fan of Seattle Children’s since she was four years old. Her first memory of the hospital is the gentle care and reassurance of the Emergency Department nurse who treated her after a backyard tumble. Despite needing several stitches, Cahill was treated so well that she’s had positive feelings for Seattle Children’s ever since.

That accident was her first and only time as a patient, but there are many ways she has engaged with the hospital throughout her life, including visiting the Emergency Department with her own two girls on a couple of occasions. When she was a child, her mother, Ann Cahill, was an active member of the Florence Ewing Guild. Nancy Cahill grew up helping her mom sell candy canes and calendars to raise money for uncompensated care.

After finishing law school, she finally had room in her life for volunteer work and it felt natural for Cahill to join a guild. She and several friends became charter members of the Frances W. Nordstrom Guild, which has raised more than $4 million for uncompensated care over the last three decades.

In 2004, she found a unique way to merge hospital philanthropy work with her expertise as an estate planning lawyer by becoming a founding member of Seattle Children’s Legacy Advisors. This group of estate planning professionals ‒ including attorneys, CPAs, financial advisors and insurance experts ‒ is passionate about educating their clients about the role of philanthropy in sustaining the vital services of Seattle Children’s. Cahill is also a member of the Legacy Council, the governing body for this group of 300 advisors.

Inspiring legacy giving

“Before we formed this council, I was already talking to clients about donations to charity because it has always been important to me,” says Cahill, who reminds those seeking estate-planning advice of the importance of modeling philanthropy for their children, and that it makes good sense to include organizations that are important to you during your life in your long-range financial plans.

She is trying to change the paradigm in which financial advisors think it’s appropriate to talk about charity only if a client brings it up first.

“I believe that a rising tide floats all boats, so the more we can encourage professionals in these fields to talk about charitable giving, the more all charities will benefit,” she says. “This increases the chances that someone new will include Seattle Children’s in their estate plan ‒ and all boats will rise with the tide.”

Cahill, who included Seattle Children’s in her estate plan 20 years ago, is a champion of what she sees as often-overlooked giving options with tax benefits. Naming the hospital or another charitable organization as the beneficiary of a retirement account, such as a traditional IRA or 401(k) funded with pretax dollars, eliminates income and estate taxes on that asset. She adds that people can easily change such beneficiary designations whenever they like, and adjust how much is earmarked for philanthropy as their needs change.

“Most people think about funds in retirement accounts as what they will use for their care and well-being for the rest of their lives ‒ as supplemental monies apart from what they want to pass along to heirs,” Cahill says. “I ask people to consider what they want to do with retirement monies upon their passing ‒ it’s one easy way to leave a legacy for favorite charities.”

Legacy giving: A priority for It Starts With Yes

Legacy giving is a priority for It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s, comprising a third of the total goal of $1 billion. The Guild Association has a campaign goal to add 325 new guild members to the Guardians’ Circle, a group honoring those who have included Seattle Children’s in their charitable plans. For more information about how you can be part of the momentum to meet the unique needs of future generations of patients and their families, email Jessica Breitbarth, or call her at 206-987-4977.