Commentary: How the MLT Community Foundation empowers residents

Have you ever looked around and thought, “This would be a good way to improve my street/neighborhood/city, but weren’t sure how to go about starting the project? If so, we need your help.

About a year ago, a group of Mountlake Terrace residents who were interested in the future of our city and community started meeting. We quickly came to the realization that while most residents care deeply about this community, many don’t feel empowered to be able to take an active role in shaping our future. These conversations blossomed into a 501(c)3 non-profit organization called the Mountlake Terrace Community Foundation.

The mission statement for the foundation is simple and our plans for implementing this mission are ambitious. The mission of the Mountlake Terrace Community Foundation is to strengthen and build the Mountlake Terrace community. We hope to implement this mission by:

1) Participating in shaping the vision for the future of Mountlake Terrace,
2) Advocating for the citizens of Mountlake Terrace,
3) Preserving and promoting Mountlake Terrace’s history, and
4) Supporting those people, projects, and organizations who share our mission to strengthen and build the Mountlake Terrace community.

One of our first programs will be providing funding and resources for small neighborhood improvement projects proposed by community members. This might be a community garden, public art or whatever other ideas the community may have. Another will be organizing a summer concert series at Lake Ballinger in partnership with the Mountlake Terrace Community Senior Center.  An ongoing effort of ours will be working to give the community a stronger voice when it comes to the vision surrounding the future of our city.

Mountlake Terrace is at a critical juncture and decisions surrounding growth and development today will shape our city for the decades to come. Change can be good, but we need to be careful that in the process we don’t lose what many of us find special about this community. We will work to facilitate communication and collaboration between residents, businesses, city staff and council, and those interested in developing projects in our city.

Most of all, we want to help community members connect to their city and connect to each other. Are you a resident, organization, business owner or other community member who has ideas to strengthen and build our community? Together, let’s make them happen. Find out more about the Mountlake Terrace Community Foundation and get a hold of us at

Mountlake Terrace Community Foundation Board of Directors
Dustin DeKoekkoek
Douglas Hoffman
Adam Bettcher
Rory Paine-Donovan
Lisa Bettcher

–By Dustin DeKoekkoek

  1. Well, I guess this answers my question about who the cryptic organizers of the upcoming “Community Forum” are, correct?

    As a non-profit, your group gives Developer A, owner of company B which is promoting Development C, a way to make a personal tax-deductible contribution to an entity which could use those funds to sponsor ads imploring readers to “Tell your City Councilmember to support Development C! It’s good for MLT!”

    After the recent Prop 1 election I figured Len French would go silent. Your Foundation, which is essentially a special-interest group, may have give him new voice, and for good reason.

    There are a lot of ways to fund small community projects other than through a non-profit. Consider using GoFundMe – you won’t need to work as hard to keep your contributors anonymous that way.

  2. Mr. Kramer,

    I don’t know you personally, but it would have been quite easy for you to reach out to any of us whose names are in the article to find out if any of your assertions have any validity. They don’t. The MLT Community Foundation has no connection with the developers’ forum on Saturday, and we are frankly as concerned as any other residents here about the future of Mountlake Terrace and what this meeting is or isn’t about.

    You may be unfamiliar with the not-for-profit world. We are a 501(c)(3) public charity, and we are forbidden by law from engaging in lobbying activities. We hope to fund our activities by bringing new grants into the community for community-building activities, and with donations from the community which, (as we are a public charity) are tax-deductible. Public charities do not hide their donors but rather thank them very publicly for their contributions to the community.

    Perhaps you could view our website at for further information on our goals. One of our goals is to improve communication within the community. I certainly hope that this is a start so that our public discourse is factually based.

    Douglas Hoffman

    1. Hello Mr. Hoffman:

      I am sufficiently familiar with the non-profit world to have used an example of permitted issue advocacy, which is different from prohibited lobbying, in my earlier comment. As you have demonstrated, the line between advocacy and lobbying is not always a distinct one, and so the IRS has attempted to provide some guidance:

      I see there is an effort on your part to separate your newly formed entity from suggestions of potential political influence, and it is therefore perhaps awkward that the first publicly announced donations to your entity were announced in the comment immediately succeeding yours by, er, a politician. Mr. Richards seems to be correct in his observation that his social media presence isn’t doing him any favors. He doesn’t seem to be helping you much at present, either.

      I’m sure the Lake Ballinger concert series will be lovely.

  3. Dustin DeKoekkoek and Rory Paine-Donovan and the rest of the Board, Welcome to the world of wanting to do good and getting the Raff of nay Sayers. I have been self employed for over 30 years and have taken the waters off a ducks back with the good and bad years. Please do not let these last comments take you away from what you are committed to the city. It is obvious that these comments are not well researched and do not represent any body they have referenced. You can count on the support of Red Onion Burgers and CHEESEBURGERBABIESfoundation. What ever we can do to help let us know. We will write a check for $250 from each entity. As a side note if you would like to book an event at DINING 4 DOLLARS at Red Onion Burgers we would love to write a bigger check. I am hoping that our participation at this level will keep us out of the political field. If you find out that politics is going to be a part of this we will gladly step aside and wish your new commitment to the city with nothing but positive thoughts. Thank You for being the next generation that will help shape the future of Mountlake Terrace. If you are interested I can give you some ideas on how to do some fundraising and getting your mission statement out to the general public. As a side note I am trying to stay out of the Social Media thing because it has not done well for me and my businesses – Seaun Richards

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