Bellevue LifeSpring is thrilled to announce and give a warm welcome to our new incoming President and Chair of the Board, Ken Russell. Ken is a long-time Eastside resident, CPA, and owner of Bookkeeping Done Right LLC. To many in the Bellevue LifeSpring community, Ken Russell needs no introduction. Inspired by a friend 17 years ago, Ken got involved with Bellevue LifeSpring in 2004. Over the years, Ken has been an integral part of Bellevue LifeSpring’s growth and development.
“When I first heard about Bellevue LifeSpring, it was at a time where I felt like I had worked a good part of my life, and I was searching for a meaningful way to give back. When I heard about the Bellevue LifeSpring mission, I knew it would be a good avenue for me to make a real impact in the community.”
Over the years, Ken has invested his time and resources in Bellevue LifeSpring, serving as a board member, participating in various committees and volunteer events, and chairing the Bellevue LifeSpring Downtown Circle. Given his financial background, Ken makes a significant impact when it comes to growing and sustaining the organization. He has served on the Budget and Finance Committee, the Governance and Board Development Committee, the Endowment Committee, and as the organization’s treasurer.
“I’ve always been grateful to be involved with Bellevue LifeSpring. I think I’ve served on every committee this organization has had,” laughed Ken. Ken is inspired by Bellevue LifeSpring’s mission to serve students and families right here in the Bellevue School District. “The fact that our mission supports Bellevue children is very important to me. I live in Bellevue, I love Bellevue, and I’m passionate about ensuring that all our students have what they need to make it to high-school graduation day.”
As the new board president, Ken’s goal is to effectively move the organization forward so that Bellevue LifeSpring can continue to meet the community’s growing needs. “I’ve made it a point to focus my energy on supporting the financial growth of the organization because I know how important it is to our ability to serve the community,” shared Ken. “From my perspective, it’s of high importance to analyze our funding and see how we can best use it to make the biggest impact possible for Bellevue’s children and families.”
Ken reflected on the power of neighbors helping neighbors and how the poverty that exists here in Bellevue can be eradicated. “We can solve this issue,” exclaimed Ken. “The money is there. The bottom line is we have to raise more money to help more children. That’s where I want to focus my impact on as the Chair and President of the Board.”
Ken is inspired by the support from local businesses and community members during the COVID-19 pandemic. He hopes that this level of support will become sustainable and continue in the coming months and years. “In my eyes, the pandemic isn’t over. We have a variant that is spreading like crazy, and we have local families that are still suffering from the economic impacts of the pandemic that need our immediate support,” shared Ken.
Over the past year and a half, Bellevue LifeSpring has focused its services on emergency food and rent support. Ken appreciates how the organization is able to be nimble based on the changing needs of the community. “As an organization, we’ve taken steps to ensure we are very targeted with our programs. When we saw the need for food and rent support skyrocket during the pandemic, we focused our funding on providing a greater number of food vouchers and emergency rent payments to meet the growing need.”
As a leader, Ken shared his belief in the importance of constantly going back to the table and reexamining if Bellevue LifeSpring’s programs are adequality meeting the community’s needs. From there, he says it’s essential to make the necessary adjustments so that Bellevue LifeSpring can fulfill its vision of closing the graduation gap for Bellevue’s low-income students.
When asked why he chooses to give where he lives, Ken shared, “We all want to live in a thriving community that is safe and accepting of all people. When you invest in bettering your community, it helps everyone.”
Ken reflected on the children impacted by Bellevue LifeSpring programs and how they are the future leaders of our community. “I think about the student who doesn’t pass a class and can’t afford the summer school fees to make up the credits. With Bellevue LifeSpring’s support, they are able to have the opportunity to make up their class and move on to graduation. This student is now on the trajectory to potentially become an employee of mine. If this student didn’t have the support they needed to make it to graduation, it could be difficult for them to break out of the cycle of poverty. When all of our children have the chance to thrive in their education, we make our community a better place with a brighter future.”
Bellevue LifeSpring looks forward to Ken’s strategic leadership of the board and working with him on furthering Bellevue LifeSpring’s vision for the children of Bellevue.