The duo joins United Way to fight existing challenges exacerbated by the global pandemic and help the organization build a community where people have homes, students graduate and families are financially stable
SEATTLE, Sept. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Way is honored to announce the co-chairs of the 2020-2021 fundraising campaign. They are Ethan Stowell, founder and CEO of Ethan Stowell Restaurants, and Steve Hooper, Jr., president of ESR. They co-own the company.
Stowell, who co-chaired the campaign in 2017, said he has been impressed by the work United Way has been doing for the community since COVID-19 hit the region earlier this year.
"It seems to me that United Way is always doing something that has the ability to grab me and impress me. That's one of the reasons why I wanted to do this again," Stowell said.
Hooper said this was the right time for him to help out.
"I'm thinking about the future—did I do everything I could do in this time to make a difference? Will I be proud of the work I did? I think this is a great way to do that," he said.
Stowell said that, in the past, he held "fun and great" entertainment events to raise funds and engage the community. This year will have to be different due to the pandemic.
Stowell said he is working with several local restaurants on a series of virtual gatherings where guests and donors get to cook with some of Seattle's best-known chefs, including himself.
"We're going to bring a little fun to a hard time, so we're going to try to do a bunch of events," Stowell said. "I felt like we have to do something that's going to help out the restaurant community as a whole, so we came up with this idea of supporting restaurants and supporting local businesses by doing events."
Stowell said he's worried about the coming eviction crisis and the racial disparities in housing.
"I'm talking about the eviction crisis that's going to be coming our way and the systemic racism in homeownership and affordable housing. I think it's a big deal," he said. "The governor has done a great job stopping evictions for a while, but that doesn't mean rents aren't due and that they're not piling up on people's plates."