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Raising over $100,000 one step at a time

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Photo courtesy of Access Walk  

The team behind Access Walk, a new nonprofit with a mission to fund organizations that provide safe access to abortion, held their first fundraiser last Sunday at Volunteer Park. Participants walked as many 1K laps as possible, and were encouraged to set a personal fundraising goal of $100 per lap, and $1,000 in general. The event garnered over $100,000 for Cedar River Clinics, a series of facilities in Washington offering abortion services, birth control, and Trans care.

Jeff Pyatt, founder of Access Walk, says the idea sprang from family conversations following the Dobbs v. Jackson case that overturned Roe v. Wade. After discussions with his daughters, the Pyatt family took on the startup costs, so 100% of donations could go to whichever beneficiary was chosen. The money will not be paying for the medical procedures, but it will fund efforts related to access, like transportation and lodging, for people who have to travel outside of their state to secure an abortion.

"The fundraising has been better than we thought," Pyatt said.

Photo courtesy of Access Walk  

Two hundred and thirty-three individuals and 31 teams registered for the walk. For those who weren't walking, a community space with vendors, a stage, information booths, and a beer garden covered Volunteer Park's amphitheater area. Future Primitive Brewing's employees offered a beer called "Their Body, Their Choice." The company was originally sold out of the beer but brewed more specifically for the Access Walk.

"Not only did they brew the beer for this event, but they rebranded the logo and put our QR code and our branding on all of their cans. I can't thank them enough for the amount of support they've given us," said Meg Zapalowski, director of donor engagement at Access Walk.

Photo courtesy of Access Walk  

She also said the community space was part of creating an inviting atmosphere organizers wanted. "Even spectators who are walking by..., who maybe don't know anything about the event," Zapalowski said. "We wanted to really invite the community."

Activity in the community space looked sparse, but Pyatt said that the turnout was as anticipated.

"We were told for our first year to not have too high of expectations," Pyatt said. "We met the turnout expectations that we were told we [should] have."

There was also a small handful of protestors, who held signs visible from the community space but who did not otherwise disrupt the event. Pyatt said he thanked the protestors.

"If we have protestors, that shows we're legit. I'm a firm believer in the First Amendment and they have a right to their beliefs. I think they're wrong, [but] I have to honor that they have as much right to be here as I."

Pyatt and other organizers are looking to do it all next year, eventually expanding to cities outside of Seattle and other states.

"Once we get Washington set — and it may take two or three years — we'll go to Boise and Birmingham," Pyatt said. "We are going to make Volunteer Park look small. We're going to raise a lot of money. We are starting a movement that is going to be heard nationwide."