March 1

New Hope From Dignity for Divas

The local nonprofit is doing big things for women in Western Washington.

Dignity for Divas, based in South Lake Union, works to empower women throughout Western Washington who are experiencing homelessness. The nonprofit provides everything from outreach services like survival kit delivery for women experiencing homelessness to personalized case management services that leads to housing and much more.

“Our organization is literally based on healing. We offer classes, workshops, and full circle of supportive services that helps people maintain their housing,” explained Dignity for Divas founder Nikki Gane-Butler.

Perhaps the biggest update from Dignity for Divas is its new food pantry program. The pantry is made possible with multiple partnerships, including Champions for Change, a local philanthropy founded by former Seattle Seahawks Doug Baldwin, Cliff Avril, and Michael Bennett that aims to fund grassroots non-profit organizations in the Seattle region.

food pantry

Here’s how it works:

New York nonprofit One Love Community Fridge utilized Champions of Change funding to purchase and provide the necessary equipment to install the fridge/pantry needed for Dignity for Divas to nourish the families they serve. The fridge/pantry is stocked by a Milton, Washington based organization called Feeding Feasible Feasts (FFF). They stock Dignity for Divas’ pantry/fridge with donated food from Safeway stores, Black Seed Farms (if Halal food is needed), and other farms and wholesalers.

The stocking services are also part of a pilot partnership between FFF, Vault89, and Safeway. The intent of the pilot is to make the food donation system more effective and equitable, allowing businesses and farms to donate to smaller, community-based (and often BIPOC-led) food pantries, as well as service agencies outside of the food banking network.

“Can you imagine getting your housing in order, your furniture set up, feel like you have a home set up, and then you get to go grocery shopping too? That has such a positive impact on our Divas, it’s been an amazing partnership so far,” Gane-Butler said.

three women in front of food pantry

Another new service includes “Mommy and Me” classes for Divas.

“Clients were having issues attending classes because of childcare. Imagine trying to be a part of something, but here is just another barrier to entry. We wanted to create something for our Divas where they could experience healing together instead of trauma,” Gane-Butler said.

In addition to the Mommy and Me classes, Dignity for Diva started an internship program for its Diva graduates. The intern works with the nonprofit and gets valuable job skills and preparation, and Dignity for Divas connects with corporate and nonprofit partners to help find the intern job placement opportunities.

One simple way you can give back to support the new pantry is to provide a personal recipe. Gane-Butler hopes to provide recipes to Divas who shop at the pantry to help them develop their culinary repertoires. Dignity for Divas is also always looking for experts to teach classes and workshops from yoga (Gane-Butler notes that anyone teaching a physical activity needs to be licensed) to resume writing and more.

Gane-Butler maintains that everyone can give back to Dignity for Divas and likes to encourage people to donate their time and expertise. But as usual for small, local nonprofits, the biggest need is funding. To help restore dignity to the many women in Western Washington experiencing homelessness, donate money, time, and resources here.

Story by Ethan Chung. Photos by Adrian Simes Create and Blend Media.

At The Center

SLU is the geographical center of Seattle