2023 Grant Champions & Their Causes

The Winner of Our 2023 First Place Grant in the amount of $119,175 is…

About Key to Change
Key to Change, a Black-led non-profit, provides world-class music instruction to underserved youth and students of color in South King County. Founded in 2017, the organization has grown rapidly and now serves hundreds of talented and hard-working students. To build on our successes, we request funding to expand our impact in South King County’s school districts by providing more support and instruction to underserved youth and their teachers. Additionally, we urgently need to hire a woman of color who is a stringed instrument expert with a deep understanding of our communities’ needs and to create employment opportunities that address the lack of diversity in the music industry. Ultimately, we fill the gaps left by underfunded public school music programs that cannot offer access to exceptional music education, not because of a lack of student talent but because of a lack of resources. We provide a variety of programs and services, including: instrumental lessons, merit- and need-based scholarships, summer classes, performance opportunities, instruments, leadership development, and masterclasses with leading (inter)national musicians. Despite the challenges COVID posed to education, we successfully transitioned to online lessons, boosting our enrollment by 233%. We have maintained an astonishing 90% retention rate since resuming in-person classes. And our students are reaching new heights this year, appearing as guest soloists with the Seattle Symphony, Northwest Symphony, Federal Way Symphony, on Classical King FM, and at Benaroya Hall. Your investment will create more transformational musical and human experiences for deserving students who are traditionally denied access.
PYP Grant Champions for Key to Change: Linda Floyd 
Linda Floyd grew up in Victoria, B.C. and currently lives in Seattle. She graduated with a BA from York University in Toronto and traveled the world extensively in her 20s before settling in Dubai where she worked as a television and radio announcer for Dubai television and an associate producer for Star TV. When she returned to Canada she worked for the Immigrant Services Society in Vancouver and continued work with immigrant and refugee populations when she moved to Seattle in 1998. While living with her family in India from 2007 – 2009, Linda volunteered with organizations working to improve the lives of women and girls in underserved communities. When she returned to the U.S. in 2009 she co-founded the Kiran Anjali Project, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting projects in India that provide high quality education and support for girls and young women furthest from economic justice. Linda has served on various boards including the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund which honors President Obama’s mother, a graduate of Mercer Island High School, by providing scholarships to young women graduating from Chief Sealth International High School, Mercer Island High School, and Rainier Beach High School.

PYP Grant Champions for Key to Change: Jody Kris 

Jody moved to Mercer Island in 2011 with her husband, David, and two daughters, Hannah and Audrey, relocating from Washington, DC where she had practiced as a lawyer for 18 years – first as a Department of Justice legal fellow and a law clerk on the DC Court of Appeals and the US Supreme Court, and later in private practice at law firms for 16 years. She litigated criminal and civil cases involving regulatory or criminal investigations by the federal government at both the trial and appellate levels, and represented financial institutions in complex civil disputes. After moving to Washington, Jody resigned from private practice to concentrate on developing community ties here. She sought volunteer leadership positions at various Mercer Island and greater Seattle non- profits, including Girl Scouts of Western Washington; MIFC Board member and girls soccer coach for two teams; girls basketball coach at the MI Boys and Girls Club, a 6 year MIYFS Board member of the MIYFS Foundation, and as a volunteer for the Mercer Island schools, PTAs and the band program. She is also active in Do The Work, promoting racial equity education and fellowship.

The Winner of Our 2023 Second Place Grant in the amount of $59,587.50 is… 

About Hamlin Robinson School

When a student is struggling in school, families often don’t know where to turn. The experts at their student’s school may not be trained to understand the issue and have few resources to offer. Parents can feel isolated in their journey, scared for their child, and worried that they don’t know how to help. For approximately 20% of the general population, struggling in school can be linked to a language-based learning difference, such as dyslexia. However, early diagnosis of dyslexia is often limited to students whose families know how to advocate for screening and/or have the financial means to afford diagnostic evaluations. Access to screening is an equity issue.
Hamlin Robinson School (HRS) is the only non-profit school in the state of Washington exclusively serving the unique academic and social/emotional needs of students with dyslexia. This is our area of expertise. As part of our program, we also offer fee-based literacy screening services to non-enrolled families.
Grant support will allow HRS to offer free STAR Early Literacy Screening (English and Spanish), with reports and guidance, for students in King County. HRS will develop and offer free training workshops to King County educators whose schools utilize STAR and who need additional training with using and reporting on assessments. HRS would also utilize grant support to develop and implement outreach and marketing to King County families and to educators in regard to these free services. Through these efforts, Hamlin Robinson School can equip and empower families and educators.
PYP Grant Champion for Hamlin Robinson School: Shannon Leversedge
Shannon grew up in Ontario, Canada and currently resides on Mercer Island with her husband and three children. With a passion for sport, she graduated with a B.A. in Sport Management from the University of Victoria. She joined crew and rowed for UVic. developing a love for rowing. Shannon began her career in Ballarat, Australia where she helped organize and execute the Australian Master’s Games before returning to Victoria, British Columbia to work at the Canadian National Sport Center assisting athletes with relocation and local needs for seven of Canada’s National sports. She decided to go back to the sport she loved and became the National Team Manager for Rowing Canada. In this role, Shannon traveled extensively around the world managing multiple national teams at World Cup and World Championship events culminating in her participation at the Olympic Games in Athens Greece. After meeting her husband, Renton, she moved abroad to Switzerland where she worked for KPMG before moving to Hong Kong for nearly three years where they welcomed their first born daughter. Since calling Mercer Island home, Shannon has served on the Sunnybeam Preschool Board, Parent Advisory Committee member as well as lead coach for Girls on the Run at Lakeridge elementary school, Parent Edge committee member and Hamlin Robinson School Parent Association Chair. In her free time, Shannon seeks travel and adventure, enjoys time and good food with family and friends, and walking her dog, Vesper.

The Winner of Our 2023 Third Place Grant in the amount of $19,862.50 is… 

About The Healing Center
The Healing Center provides support, in a group setting, for people of all ages who have experienced the death of an important person in their lives.  For children and young adults, the loss can be any important relationship.  For adults and seniors, we support partner loss.  All of THC’s grief groups are therapist-led and their goal is that participants have a place to share and be heard, to listen and support one another, and to find a safe community of others who have experienced the death of their important person.  The Healing Center also endeavors to educate the greater community about the grief process and the needs of a grieving person in order to reduce the isolation, fear and stigma of grief.
The Healing Center does not collect any revenue from our clients.  Our work is 100% donor and grant funded.  Organizations like PYP Seattle are what keep THC open!
PYP Grant Champion for The Healing Center: Julie Yee
Julie Yee is a Philadelphia native who lived in San Francisco for five years before moving to Seattle in 2000. She has been committed to philanthropic service over the past two decades in a variety of roles including fundraising, board leadership and nominations. Organizations have included the King County Bar Foundation, WA Women Lawyers, Seattle Public Schools (APP@Lincoln and Sandpoint Elementary), Lakeside School and the Seattle Metro chapter of NCL, Inc. When she is not volunteering, she advises clients in her estate planning practice and handles operations for a closely-held real estate venture. She received her B.A. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, J.D. from Seattle University and LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Washington. Julie currently resides in NE Seattle with her husband and three children, and enjoys trying new recipes, gardening, tennis and yoga.