Ep. 025 – WestSide Baby – Nancy Woodland

Ep. 025 – WestSide Baby – Nancy Woodland

This week’s guest is Nancy Woodland, the Executive Director for the non-profit WestSide Baby in White Center. WestSide Baby serves all of Western King County and partners with the community to collect and distribute essential items for local kids (ages birth-12 years old).

Topics & Ideas Discussed in This Episode:

  • W.S. Baby works directly with 127 local social service agencies to get essential items to children.
  • The more efficient their systems and organization is, the more kids they can serve.
  • The process: Social workers place their order for their families, the 50+ regular weekly volunteers fill the orders and then W.S. Baby distribute the filled-orders back to the families
  • W.S. Baby has been around for 16 years, having been founded by Donna Pierce.
  • Nancy has been there for 10 years.
    • She has a law degree from Loyola University as part of their first Child Advocacy program and practiced law in WA State doing child neglect and abuse cases for 4 years.
      • In that, she saw that in a lot of cases, it’s not that the parents don’t want to care for their children… it’s that they can’t because they don’t have the simple tools to take care of their kid (like diapers).
      • Joined the W.S. Baby board of directors in 2005.
      • in 2006, she took over the role of Executive Director, from the founder and visionary of W.S. Baby, Donna Pierce.
  • Biggest changes in the last 10 years:
    • Grown their staff, grown their regular volunteers (from 6 to over 50 each week), expanded their spaces and expertise and scaled to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
    • Being open to opportunities that open them to be able to serve more kids.
  • W.S. Baby serves 500+ children per week & 35,000 kids across King County… and is only possible because of the communities support.
  • W.S. Baby is entirely supported by their fund-raising efforts – 77% of funding is from regular individuals in the community and the rest is by generous corporate and foundation support.
  • Community Partnerships: Trinity West Seattle has recently partnered with WestSide Baby as a “Mission Partner” – sending regular volunteer groups, help with financial support & act as a collection site for needed children goods.
  • For the first time, W.S. Baby is going to have Billboard advertising (4 billboards next week
    • Located in Ballard on 15th, Capital Hill on Madison, Rainier Valley & West Seattle on Delridge.
  • The biggest challenges at W.S. Baby –
    • Not having enough: They can’t fill all the needs
      • They can only fill 47% of the request for car seats and while they give out 1.25 million, yet, if they diapered all the kids in King Co. living below the federal poverty line that are of diapering age… that number is 22 million.
    • Having too much of one thing or having unusable items “donated”, that they then have to get rid of (like a moldy stroller or worn out clothes).
    • Keeping the staff and volunteers from burning out – Sometimes the best we can do is enough.
  • If we want to help those in need, start with listening to them, asking what they need and then providing that… as opposed to what we think they need.
  • Their greatest strength – Nancy want’s to hear how they can do better and is willing to try new things if it means they can serve more families.
  • W.S. Baby’s growth goals are always related to serving more kids: They want to raise awareness around King Co, because that is who they serve & to be able to open a couple more branches to collect donations, be sorted and sent out (meeting their volunteers and clients where they are).
  • The best advice they have ever received – “Sometimes the best we can do is enough” and be open to learning all the time.
  • W.S. Baby has two major fund-raisers every year:
    • March 12th Benefit Tea (1/3rd of budget comes from this event)
    • Fall evening cocktail party event (more casual).


How you can make a difference:

  • Financial donations – “Donate Now” button on their site – During the month of December (through Christmas day), all financial donations of $250 or more will be matched by a donor.
    • Volunteer – “Get Involved” button on their site.
    • Have your own donation drive – Already having a holiday party, ask everyone coming to bring a pack of diapers and then drop them off at a WestSide Baby collection center.
  • Most regularly needed items:
    • car seats, portable cribs, clothes (particularly boys size 5-12), new underwear, socks and pajamas.

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Tags: Seattle, West Seattle, Sea Town, Sea-Town, Business, Entrepreneur, Community, Neighborhood,  Small Businesses, Local, Christian Harris, Nancy Woodland, WestSide Baby, non-profit, charity, White Center, volunteer, children, kids, King County, diapers, strollers, clothes

2 thoughts on “Ep. 025 – WestSide Baby – Nancy Woodland

    1. It was truly my pleasure Nancy! Loved hearing your story and more about WestSide Baby and the awesome work you guys are doing. I’m looking forward to continuing to partner in serving our community together.

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