FareStart’s 31st Annual Gala

November 2, 2023

Our Annual Gala Auction & Dinner held this past Sunday, October 29 at the Seattle Convention Center was a beautiful celebration of student transformations, our vibrant and supportive community and the exciting work that lies ahead. Together we surpassed our goal, raising over $1.8 million to support FareStart’s work and mission.

New CEO Patrick D’Amelio shared some  reflections on his first 100-plus days at FareStart: “In my very short time here, I’ve learned that what makes FareStart truly special is the sense of community it fosters. We create a supportive, inclusive, and empowering environment where people can find their confidence and feel a sense of belonging.”

And that sense of community reaches well beyond FareStart’s kitchens and training programs. “I’ve heard time and again how much this community loves FareStart,” said Patrick. “Our mission and work resonate deeply. Our approach is unique and powerful. We combine the worlds of food and social impact in a unique way that benefits both our program participants and the larger community.”

Patrick shared his vision for the future of FareStart: “It’s time to return to our roots as a nonprofit social enterprise  -- a holistic model that addresses the root causes of homelessness, poverty, and food insecurity. Moving forward, we are focused on two key and interconnected priorities: the first, ensuring a high-quality student experience; and the second, growing our social enterprise businesses.”
Patrick elaborated on the critical importance of social enterprises for FareStart --- not only to provide delicious food to the community -- but also to serve as classrooms for our students as they participate in our on-the-job training programs. “So as our social enterprises grow, we can expand our job training programs to support more students.”

Guests enjoyed a fun and spirited night of bidding on nine truly exceptional and unique auction items, including seats at the table for FareStart’s first Guest Chef Night since the pandemic. Over 40 tickets were sold to this very special event, which will take place in January and features Chef Melissa Miranda of Musang, named one of the best new chefs in the nation in 2022. If you weren’t able to attend the Gala, keep a lookout for future Guest Chef Night events (we plan to host at least 12 of them in 2024).

Finally, we had the great honor to hear FareStart graduate Chelsea’s (she/her/they) very personal and inspiring story of transformation in a powerful video that received a standing ovation. Chelsea overcame traumatic and debilitating obstacles in her life to forge a new future for herself and her family because, as she said, “I wasn’t going to give up on myself.”

You can watch the video here and read her story here.

This evening would not have been possible without our generous sponsors: Amazon, BECU, Nayamode, Microsoft, Cornerstone Architectural Group, Boeing, Griffis Residential, Symetra, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Charlie's Produce, BizX, Alaska Airlines, Deloitte, Holman, KPMG, Bargreen Ellingson, Fidelity Investments, MOD Pizza, PCC Community Markets, Starbucks and U.S. Bank.

Our heartfelt thanks to our hardworking auction committee, Board of Directors, volunteers and staff; to our big-hearted donors and sponsors; to our exceptional food partners Taylor Shellfish Farms, Elliott’s Oyster House, Chef Brady Williams of Tomo, Chef Rachel Yang of Revel/Joule/Paper Cake Shop, Chef José Chavez of the Seattle Convention Center, and Chef Rachael Coyle of Coyle’s Bakeshop; and to our very own FareStart chefs and students; and to you, the FareStart community, for supporting our transformational work.

Together, we can create a world where everyone has a seat at the table, where everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.