Joe Fugere and Jeff Lewis, husbands and co-owners of Tutta Bella, were quick to say yes when they were first asked to make an in-kind donation to a Bailey-Boushay House (BBH) fundraising event. Since then, they’ve happily made several contributions to BBH fundraisers for auction items and raffle prizes.
“We get dozens of requests from nonprofits every month and we try to help as many as we can. We were happy to donate a gift card to Bailey-Boushay House to raise money for their staff and patients. It was more than a corporate gift, it was deeply meaningful and personal to us,” Jeff says.
Learning about Bailey-Boushay House at the height of the AIDS crisis
As Jeff watched the HIV/AIDS crisis unfold in the early 1990s, he wanted to help. He first volunteered at a medical center in Houston, then was introduced to BBH by a physician friend when he moved to Seattle.
"It was incredible to see how BBH went so far beyond providing medical care. They built a community and created a home for people who had nowhere else to turn. Their care was as personal as it was medical,” Jeff says.
Over the years, Jeff saw Seattleites embrace Bailey-Boushay House and watched it become a pillar of acceptance and trust for those with HIV/AIDS.
“Bailey has a special place in the hearts of a lot of folks who’ve had loved ones with HIV/AIDS, when other places may not have been as welcoming, compassionate or caring. That support has resonated with my friends, family and many in our community,” Jeff says.
A second meaningful connection with Bailey-Boushay House
Fast forward 20 years, when the couple received heartbreaking news: Their close friend had an aggressive form of Parkinson's. They were relieved to learn that a familiar organization would be there for her.
"It was great to learn that BBH had evolved to care for people with all kinds of devastating diseases and that our friend could go there. We knew BBH would be her family,” Jeff says. “I know community support has been a driver for their expanded capacity. By expanding their care, Bailey is expanding their love.”
As Tutta Bella has grown, Jeff and Joe have been intentional about reflecting their values and the values of their employees in every aspect of the organization.
“Each year Tutta Bella grows, we’re able to give more to the community and we also empower our employees to help direct giving to places like Bailey-Boushay that have a great impact on our community,” Jeff says. “Giving back connects our team beyond the food we create. So this gift comes from the whole Tutta Bella team.”
Reflecting back on his 30-year connection to Bailey-Boushay, Jeff is especially impressed with their ability to serve so many people with varying needs. With Tutta Bella’s donations, he hopes that the clients, residents and staff know that the community cares about and believes in Bailey-Boushay House.
“Bailey opened its doors to people who were outright rejected by society and sometimes their own families. There were few places in our country willing to step forward to care for so many vulnerable people in need of compassionate, complex care. It’s historically significant to Seattle and our country,” Jeff says. “We must value Bailey and make sure it’s always here.”
Corporate donors play a crucial role in Bailey-Boushay’s ability to sustain programs, staff and facilities. Learn more about opportunities for corporate philanthropy on our foundation website.