Admit it, no matter how hard you’re still working to wrap up before the end-of-December slow down, you’re brain is already reflecting on how 2015 has been for you and how you'll make 2016 even better. As we look back on how our personal and professional lives have fared this year, it’s also nice to look at how much we’ve been able to give. Before we can effectively contribute we have to build up our own resources and relationships. This is only possible by standing on the building blocks that others have established before we arrived. In the case of our tech community, we benefit greatly from the amazing culture and companies that Seattle has been building for generations. Before there were great PNW companies like Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon - and before the emergence of what is now known as "the startup culture," there were the cornerstone companies like Avista, Paccar, Ocean Beauty Seafoods and Nordstrom. Global events, like the 1962 World’s Fair that gave us novel innovations - the Seattle Center, our Monorail and the Space Needle - put Seattle on the world map of cities that were making great things happen. Thousands of companies and millions of Seattleites laid the groundwork for the "can do" PNW attitude from which we all benefit today. We want to build New Tech Northwest around the core values of the Pacific Northwest by focusing on how we can give to each other, and give back to the region - while promoting and supporting technological advancements and internationally recognized businesses and brands. This year we promoted and supported the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship to the New Tech community. We wanted to help raise funds for STEM education geared towards women and underserved populations. Nearly $125,000 has been raised in the Geeks Give Back Campaign, so far. Those donations are then matched by Seattle angel investor and philanthropist Gary Rubens. After that the total is further matched by the state of Washington. This turns every dollar donated into four dollars to support and educate our future work force. The goal is to raise $500,000 with individual donations and matches. There's still time to donate before the year ends! ------------------------------------------------------------ “We should not forget that it will be just as important to our descendants to be prosperous in their time as it is to us to be prosperous in our time.” ― Theodore Roosevelt ------------------------------------------------------------ The more our tech industry benefits from Seattle, Washington State and the Pacific Northwest region, the more we can (and should) do for our communities. Whether it’s giving time, money, expert help, or offering other needed resources, we all benefit when we contribute to the culture that has helped benefit us. Next year NTNW will be looking to take this a step further. We’ll be working with Union Gospel Mission to create an alliance of tech leaders and organizations to help solve our homeless problem. We can not continue to walk past homeless citizens as if they are not there. While the tech industry exponentially booms here, homelessness has risen 21% in Seattle in the last year. That’s not okay. More than other industries, tech is changing Seattle in both good and not so good ways. This means it’s our duty to be a part of the solution. In this spirit, the New Tech Northwest community will be collaborating with others to work on transformational change to help these people, our community members, get off the streets and back to their lives. We’ll share more on this in 2016 as plans and actions take shape. If something stirs in you when you read this shoot me an email and I’ll add you to the list of dedicated people interested in joining us and effecting change. We’re all excited about holiday time with loved ones and the Force Awakening this week (come to NTE and NTS to take selfies with Storm Troopers), but while we enjoy these times let’s also look to how we can take better care of everyone in our communities. Thank you for being the heart (and soul) of the Northwest tech community. Happy holidays to you all!