Helen Banks Routon can remember the day, five years ago, when a massive shipment of boys’ and girls’ sweatpants arrived at Eastside Baby Corner, the Issaquah nonprofit where she serves as director of development and community relations.
“It was a thrilling moment,” Banks Routon said. “I can’t begin to tell you how good it felt.”
Banks Routon remembers seeing the bundles — the nickname for the packs of clothing set to go out to needy kids — she was about to send out and noting that there were no pants in them. So, she made a call to Issaquah-based Lake Washington Partners. Soon, she had pants, and plenty of them. The feedback she received from those caring for the recipients also thrilled her:
“(He) woke up early to get dressed into his new clothes and he spent last night folding and refolding — with huge satisfaction …”
“Amazing what a bag of clothes can achieve for a 12-year-old boy. We think of barriers to success and something as simple as ‘looking good’ could be the make or break for some kids.”
Banks Routon obviously called the right firm. A family-run real estate company, Lake Washington Partners is headed by Jordan Lott, who got into real estate the same way he got into philanthropy — it was passed down through his family. Lott is a third-generation Realtor and a third-generation giver who models his personal ethos after his father and his grandfather.
“I worked with my grandfather, and he was incredibly philanthropic,” Lott said. “He was involved in a lot of the same charities that I am today, and he absolutely instilled that in me — my father, my brother, myself — it is very much a family value for us.”
One of Lott’s earliest memories of his grandfather giving his time was as a volunteer driver, shuttling the neighborhood children to school each day.
“He was a van driver for the Jewish Day School in the early 1980s,” Lott said. “He did it because it was a way to help the school and to be a part of his grandchildren’s lives, and it was just a nice way to give back.”
As Lott raises his two young daughters, he makes sure they also see those charitable behaviors from their father.
“I am incredibly grateful that I can provide for my own children,” Lott said. “I also recognize that there are families out there that need help and can’t provide those same things, so Eastside Baby Corner is just a really efficient way to help those families in need.”
In addition to Eastside Baby Corner, Lake Washington Partners — a seemingly small business but actually one with offices in eight states that has built and managed more than 7 million square feet of real estate — sponsors other area charities such as Bothell’s Kindering Center — which provides education and therapy for children with diverse abilities — and the Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer.
Moreover, Lott encourages his employees to give to their own favorite charities and matches their donations. Employees also are given time off to volunteer for causes such as Northwest Harvest, which endeavors to nourish the hungry throughout the state. — JK