Hi. We're Kent and Caanan, and we are Seattle tourism failures. The first step is admitting the truth, and we feel so much better. So there you have it. The embarrassing truth. We've lived in Seattle for several years and have not been to the top of the Space Needle.
Clearly, many local activities are on hold while we have our health/vigor and, therefore, blissfully zoom around the world. Plus, in a weird sort of way, a visit to the top of the Space Needle should be pretty memorable, so we keep waiting (and waiting and waiting) for that quintessential right moment.
But... we're not totally lame.
Ever since hearing Melinda Gates speak – at a CARE advocacy conference in Washington D.C. – we've been fascinated by the work that the Gates Foundation does. It all stems from this core belief:
Every life has equal value.
Truer words have never been spoken.
The foundation – in its work eliminating poverty and expanding opportunity - is all about supporting and funding organizations that are in the best position to serve that core belief. The foundation fosters, above all else, the values of: innovation, rigor, collaboration and optimism. We couldn't wait to get down to the Gates Foundation Visitor Center to check it all out.
It's is a large, open and inviting space that's broken up into five areas off the main walkway you see on the right. Each area employs dynamic and thought-provoking exhibits that beautifully capture the significance of the foundation.
In this room, right at the entrance, you get a feel for the foundation members, employees, grantees and beneficiaries that make the organization come alive.
Family and Foundation
In this area, visitors have the chance to learn more about why the foundation was started and the kinds of initiatives they pursue. Here, you are also prompted to start thinking about what you would do with your own foundation. Imagine the possibilities!
This space, shows visitors what the foundation's partners are doing to make progress towards a better world. The exhibits make the insurmountable seem possible.
The theater showcases a rotating selection of videos that further inspire viewers and illuminate exactly what the foundation is all about.
Innovation and Inspiration
The last section of the center is a place where you use your own skills, passion and creativity to see how you can solve problems and make a difference in the world. We had a blast toying around with the different interactive exhibits.
As world citizens, we're all in this together. The foundation illustrates this fact via the wall of faces. Again, every visitor has the opportunity to participate.
Because we all need to do our part to build a better world, the foundation invites you to do one final thing before heading out. They provide small cards on which visitors can express what they pledge to do. In a really cool twist, visitors are also invited to take a card (from a previous visitor) that resonates.
This is one that we took. The inspiration is obvious!
Let's build a better world! what would YOU say on your card? What do you pledge to do? Let us know in the comments (or in an e-mail), and we'll put a card up for you at the Gates Foundation Visitor Center.