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Puget Sound Business Journal: Refugee Artisan Initiative aims to raise $1M for new HQ space

Puget Sound Business Journal: Refugee Artisan Initiative aims to raise $1M for new HQ space

See in: Puget Sound Business Journal


The Refugee Artisan Initiative aims to raise $1 million to build its new headquarters, said Ming-Ming Tung-Edelman, a clinical pharmacist at the Polyclinic and executive director of the RAI.

The Seattle-based nonprofit, which employs refugee and immigrant women and puts to work their sewing skills to fashion custom items, operates out of donated space at 12545 Lake City Way NE in Seattle. Tung-Edelman said she expects it will be demolished in a couple of years.

Tung-Edelman said the organization is looking to build out a 4,000-square-foot space in the same Lake City neighborhood. She hopes to raise the money within the next two years before the nonprofit's current space closes for a yet-to-be-proposed development, she said. The capital campaign is still in the planning phase, with early support from neighboring stakeholders, she said.

"It's going to be a very exciting year to see that area of growth," Tung-Edelman said.

The Children's Home Society of Washington began donating the space to the RAI in July 2019.

The RAI, which Tung-Edelman founded in 2016, last year pivoted to sewing masks during the Covid-19 pandemic. In all, it made 80,000 masks upcycled from 100% cotton sheets that were donated from California Design Den, a bedding company.

The Business Journal recognized Tung-Edelman last year during the Health Care Leadership Awards as a community champion. Due to the need for masks, of which 10,000 RAI donated, the nonprofit's revenue soared to more than $500,000 in 2020.

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