The Nicest Place in Washington: Kitsap Peninsula

"Picturesque Pacific Northwest"

For a period of 24-hours, no place in America has greater community spirit.

What if you could take all of the giving energy in a place and cram it into one insane day? That’s what the people of Kitsap Peninsula have done, and it has been a boon to hundreds of local nonprofits in this place known for giving back.

An easy ferry ride from Seattle, this semi-rural corner of Washington State boasts one nonprofit for every 250 residents—charitable giving per capita that far exceeds the national average.

“Volunteerism around here is a huge thing,” says Jan Gardner, who works for a local Christian school. “One day a year the whole county goes out and does outdoor cleanup, and employers are encouraged to give their employees the day off.”

Enter the Kitsap Great Give: For a 24-hour period in April, contributions come pouring in, and in a spirit of friendly competition, groups gather in restaurants and bars to watch the leaderboards in real time. Last year, receipts totaled nearly $1.5 million—about five dollars for every man, woman, and child on the peninsula.

It makes an enormous difference for some nonprofits. The Kitsap Humane Society, always one of the leading recipients, has raised more than $340,000 from the Great Give over the past five years, including $76,000 in 2019, which represents 15 percent of its budgeted philanthropy for individual support.

“It’s a very generous community,” says Rhonda Manville, the Humane Society’s marketing director. “It’s such a privilege to live in an area that cares so much.”

With more than 300 nonprofits vying for donor dollars, a few could be overlooked. Not in Kitsap.

“The Great Give closes at midnight,” says Kol Medina, CEO of the Kitsap Community Foundation. “This year, at about 11:30, I got a call from a woman who said, ‘Hey, I just noticed there are 15 nonprofits that haven’t received any donations at all. I want to donate $25 to each one.’ Those specific nonprofits meant nothing to her personally. She just wanted to make sure no group left the event empty-handed.”

—The Editors

The Nomination

The beautiful Peninsula, located near Seattle. Lots of things to do from outdoor recreation, to wine tastings. You’re just a ferry ride to Seattle, with half of living cost. We have some of the greatest schools in Washington state. It’s a great place.

kitsap washington nicest placeNorbert Eisele-Hein/imageBROKER/Shutterstock
The immense natural beauty of Kitsap Peninsula pales in comparison to the beauty of its residents’ generosity.

The Kitsap Great Give is 24 hours of online giving where you can donate to as many nonprofits as you like in a single transaction! Last year, the Kitsap Great Give raised $1.48 million. This year the goal is to raise at least $1.75 million for local nonprofits. You are the key to reaching that goal and giving this amazing gift to local nonprofits! You and the thousands of other residents in Kitsap can go do this.

The Squamish Foundation gives $5 million away each year. Community Foundations bring together people who care about their communities. They facilitate philanthropy by partnering with donors to build permanent endowments and other funds from which they support community projects. Because community foundations focus on building permanent endowments, they are able to address long-term community challenges as well as immediate needs.

This nomination came through ourpartnership with Nextdoor, the world’s largest social network for neighborhoods.