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2019 Donor Spotlight — Kjersten Johansen

posted by: Shannon Wong, February 12, 2019

In 2018, we were able to engage with 1,247 individuals in the Seattle area because of the strong community we have behind us. Kjersten is part of that community, and has been a long time donor and supporter of the Seattle Community Law Center.

After years of attending SCLC fundraisers, Kjersten became determined to get involved with the organization as a volunteer because of her passion for the SCLC mission and because she knows that by getting involved she can make a difference in the lives of our community members. Kjersten understands first hand the barriers SCLC clients face, and she wanted to do something to help. As stated by Kjersten, “I believe that the homeless situation in Seattle is pretty brutal and after having dealt with our government programs for both my mother and my ex-husband, I am amazed that anyone can navigate it.”

SCLC created the Disabled Homeless Advocacy Project when we realized that homeless individuals had an incredibly difficult time navigating the Social Security System. Kjersten knows how difficult this process can be even for someone with stable housing and a strong support system. As a result, she decided to dedicate her time to help others who may not have had the ability to navigate the Social Security system on their own.

In addition to being an incredibly dedicated volunteer at SCLC, Kjersten, a donor for many years, recently became an Investor Donor. When asked why Kjersten gives she said, “I 100% believe in the cause, and to me it is one of the most impactful organizations. The dollars that you put in directly results in moving someone out of deep poverty. It’s not like you’re supporting them for the rest of their lives. You are supporting a transition. And, to me, that is so impactful, your money is really making a difference.”

On average, SCLC spends $760 to help one client. Although SCLC engaged with over 1,200 individuals last year, we know there are many more in our community that need our help. According to Kjersten, the decision to give was easy for her. She is hopeful others will consider the difference they can make in our community, too. She stated, “I think everyone should give, because it matters. It makes an impact. And, it matters to your heart and soul.”

Kjersten makes our community a better place by serving as a proud member of our Fundraising Committee.  Being a donor is important to Kjersten, but says that the Fundraising committee gives her a different kind of reward. She explained, “being there, talking to people, sharing ideas, and being passionate about what really matters is what gets me more excited about it. It’s great to give, and I feel good about myself when I do. But, when I volunteer and show up I feel great when I go home.  I leave thinking,  ‘we are going to make a difference and it is going to be wonderful.’ I am building friendships with people who care about what I care about.”

We are grateful for Kjersten and our strong group of supporters that allow us to plan for a future with more economic stability, more access to justice, and a better future for all of our community members. When asked where Kjersten hopes to see SCLC go in the future she said, “I think that SCLC, of all of the organizations that I have come into contact with,  is doing such a transformational thing and is so deserving of having the ability to make a gigantic impact. So, publicity is really what I want to see and we will be able to come back and say look at how many people are off the street. And then we just keep going on…If you get a formula that works and you figure out how to do it and you can get people participating in it, you can fix it. Maybe we could fix the problem.”

Kjersten, thank you for being a part of the Seattle Community Law Center. You are extraordinarily talented, passionate and an inspiring voice in our community. Your contributions make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities seeking financial stability and we appreciate you.  Keep an eye out for Kjersten at SCLC events and out making an impact in our community!

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