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Fundraiser Shows WA Businesses the Benefit…of a Benefit

April 10, 2007


Businesses are always getting hit up for charitable donations, but in Seattle, the Chow Foods restaurant group decided to take the lead by raising money and awareness for the war-torn region of Darfur in the Sudan. They recruited other restaurants and bars around Seattle, and last Tuesday, 80 small businesses donated 25 percent of every check to Mercy Corps, the international aid organization with local roots and 200 workers in Darfur. Jeremy Hardy of Chow Foods says “Dine for Darfur” not only raised money and awareness, in some places, it doubled business.

"People will choose a business that is responsible, and people who demonstrate that the same things that matter to the community also matter to the business. It also engenders a loyal clientele base."

Hardy reports that they raised about $60,000, and that any business can plan a similar one-day fundraiser. From civil wars to natural disasters, he says people often want to help, but don’t know what to do, and this gives them an easy way to contribute.

Hardy adds that “Dine for Darfur” was not only a big hit with customers, but a morale-booster for staff members as well.

"People came up and hugged our hosts and hostesses, and people at the front door were so thankful to have something to do because people hear about it, but it’s so far away, and it’s so atrocious. They wouldn’t be able to do anything, to take any action. So we were hoping that we could provide a lightning rod for the community."

The group has a Web page at www.dinefordarfur.org. Learn more about the situation in Darfur on the Web site of Mercy Corps, www.mercycorps.org.

Chris Thomas/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WA