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Polish Home Foundation is
a Seattle based non-profit organization that promotes Polish heritage in the Pacific Northwest by sponsoring local events involving Polish culture and arts, by taking part in events important to the Polish-American community and by assisting Polish - American organizations in the area. PHF is a public 501(c)(3) charity.

Project Booklet - Polish Home for a New Century


(booklet updated in November 2007)

 The Polish Home has been a cultural center and the hub of the Polish community of Seattle and the Puget Sound area since 1919. The building itself was constructed in 1902. It was remodeled and renovated several times, notably in late 1960s and over the last decade. Among other things, the bar and the lower hall have been remodeled and the floor and other elements upstairs have been renovated. In 2004, new noise reducing windows were installed and the Ladies Auxiliary remodeled the kitchen.

Despite all the positive changes, the overall state of the building is not satisfactory. The building started as a dance hall and in fact was one of the most popular dance halls in Seattle in the 1930s. Today, it has changed its character. It is home to multiple organizations important to the Polish community and a scene of many cultural events. However, it is no longer functional for new and upcoming needs. First, we need an elevator to improve access not only for the disabled and the elderly, but also for many functions held at the second floor.  Second, space is needed for another meeting room, for secure exhibitions, or for a small theater with Polish TV or film club meetings. Finally, the building also needs several technical improvements. It does not conform to modern building codes and has an old electrical wiring and sewer lines. The stage upstairs requires complete remodeling that should also include changes to the backstage area, emergency exit and stairs. Lastly, parking wais a perennial cause of complaints, but that has been already improved as part of the current project.

It is firm belief of the Committee that improving the functionality of the building, and thus facilitating organization of events, is essential to attracting more people to the Polish Home.  In so doing, it is our goal to develop the Polish Home into a vibrant hub for a new century.

In light of these issues, Polish Home Association (PHA) initiated an expansion and remodeling program that should bring the Polish Home into the 21st century. Polish Home Foundation (PHF), being a public charity with the 501(c)(3) tax exempt status is leading the fundraising campaign to finance the extensions. This is the project that is described in this booklet.

Project overview

There are many improvements that the Polish Home requires. Actual improvements will be selected based on the available finances.

The Master Plan

The Master Plan has been discussed for some time in our community; it has been adopted in 2001and related architectural plans presented in 2003. The community feedback was taken in 2004 & 2006. The Plan was approved by the PHA with the following phases:

Phase I

     Extension of the front of the building towards the street

  • An entrance foyer with a new wide staircase, an elevator from the street level to the ground floor and upper floors,
  • Second floor with library storage room as well a room serving as a library reading lounge, a secure exhibition hall, a meeting room, and small film theater,
  • Third floor that would be left empty at this stage.

     Changes to the parking lot

         Removing of the shed next to the manager house and increasing the number of stalls from 28 to 42

         New fence and landscaping on the north side of the property


We focus on Phase I only - Phase II of the Master Plan will be priced & implemented once the extension is built and financed appropriately.


Phase II

     Consolidation and internal improvements include the following:

  • Recovering space used by the current stairs as new storage rooms, finishing interior changes,
  • Finishing an apartment on the third floor,
  • A new air conditioning system. It would be mounted on the top of the extension but would service the whole building.

The Master Plan also included rebuilding the stage upstairs; however the current plan is to do it independent of the Expansion Project.

Pricing for the whole project depends on the number of elements implemented. Please turn to the Fundraising chapter for estimates.

Progress as of October 2007

The Phase I of the project has been in implementation since 2005. The effort is coordinated by two volunteer committees. The PH Association Building Commission governs the technical aspects of the project, while the PH Foundation Fundraising Committee coordinates fundraising. Contacts to the committees are listed on the back cover of this booklet.

Master Permit received from the City in 2006

The PH Building Commission received the Master Permit for the project in 2006. The Permit is an initial permission for the project. To start the actual construction, a Building Permit is needed.

Extensions to the parking lot in 2006-2007

As per the Master Permit negotiations with the City, the parking lot changes were scheduled first. That part of the project was done in 2006 & 2007 for about $32,000. The work included

  • Removing of the shed next to the manager house
  • Increasing the number of stalls from 28 to 42
  • Asphalt paving for the new stalls and widening of driveways
  • New fence and landscaping on the north side of the property

Plans completed, Building Permit applied for in 2007

The construction plans were completed in the summer 2007 and formally signed in the fall 2007. The Building Commission is filing for the Building Permit with the City. The plan review by the City should last about 4 to 6 months and may result in further modifications to the plans for the project.

General contractor chosen, cost estimates done

In June, 2007, the Polish Home Association chose Shinstine Assoc. of Puyallup, WA, as the general contractor for the project. Based on bids from subcontractors, Shinstine Assoc. presented costs estimates to the Polish Home in the fall of 2007. This removes the guesswork from the previous estimates and presents a clear target for fundraising. The goal is to start the construction in the summer of 2008 (please see a cost discussion in the financing chapter of the booklet).

Changes to the project

Since 2005, several changes have been introduced to the project by the Architect, Mr. Roy Koczarski, based on negotiations with the City, input from the Building Commission, feedback from Polish Home user groups and from community comments. The current design is described in this booklet and displayed in the Polish Home lobby.

Vigorous fundraising campaign – over $330,000 and counting

The Polish Home Fundraising Committee started a vigorous fundraising campaign in May 2005 seeking not only direct donations to the project but also multi-year giving pledges (spanning two, three or more years). Besides cash pledges the Committee also accepts professional service pledges, when donors offer to render them free of cost.  As of October 2007, over 150 families, organizations and individuals pledged over $330,000 to the project; this includes about $75,000 in professional service pledges. So far over $180,000 has been received in cash donations as well as in income from fundraising events and interest.


A significant achievement of the campaign is securing a $10,000 grant from the Seattle Foundation. The Foundation is committed to building healthy communities by supporting community oriented projects in the greater Seattle area. We are really grateful to the Seattle Foundation for this support. The Committee identified several other Foundations to apply to and we hope to secure other grants for the project.

Plans for 2007-2008

Reinforcing the building foundations

As a follow up to professional inspections done in 2006 & 2007, the building foundations will be reinforced before the new construction starts. This work is currently planned for the fall of 2007 and early 2008.

More fundraising, construction tentative in 2008

The fundraising campaign shall continue to run in 2007 and 2008. Our goal is to collect enough pledges (if not actual donations) that the construction can start in the summer of 2008. Starting construction is contingent both on having sufficient funding and on receiving the Building Permit by late spring of 2008.


Fig.1. Polish Home site plan: new addition to the building (planned)

and expansion of the parking lot (already done)



Project Details


The main goal of the project is to construct an extension to the building with additional rooms for better functionality, with a working hydraulic elevator and new stairs. The additional rooms, hallway, and stairs would be finished to the extent required to obtain the occupancy permit for the building from the City.


The site plan on the previous page shows that the proposed extension is an addition to the current building structure. After the extension is built, some remodeling changes in the old structure are also possible, but this is not part of the Phase I effort.



Fig.2. West elevation


The extension adds about 868 sq. ft at the ground floor and 1,200 sq ft at the second floor. Currently both floors of the building have 4,630 sq ft for a total of 9,260 sq ft. The third floor would add about 1,200 sq ft. Once the extension is being built, the cost of adding the third floor is quite low; thus substantial additional space can be gained inexpensively for future use. Overall, the extension would add about 3,268 sq ft to the current 9,260 sq ft.


The plans shown in this booklet are close to final. The basic plan is set (the addition with new rooms, elevator & stairs); however, some details may still change. The City had already imposed a set of project restrictions pertaining to height, width and depth (street clearance) of the addition in the Master Permit. The City can impose new requirements in the Building Permit that is needed to start the actual construction.



Fig.3.Partial elevation from the parking



Fig.4.Partial elevation from south (Madison)


The entrance foyer is at the sidewalk (street) level with no steps. Inside, there are few steps down from the entrance foyer to the current ground level hallway. Disabled access is possible as visitors can turn left and access the elevator at the same level. The elevator can be entered from two sides with passengers going from the street level down to the current first floor (lower lobby) or up to the upper floors. On the right there is a new, wider staircase with lower steps and an intermediate landing half way up to the second floor. The manager’s office is moved.



Pillars supporting a cantilevered second floor make for a shaded (arcaded) access to the building and a bigger area upstairs. The view on the next page shows the second floor of the addition with the new stairs, elevator exit, and the library room that would also serve as a meeting room and an exhibition room. This room could also be used as a small theater for a film club or for watching Polish TV through satellite. It would also be used by the Polish School.


The space used by the old stairs and passageway downstairs will be remodeled. Downstairs, a teachers’ room and school storage will be created. Upstairs, there will be new storage rooms for the piano, tables and chairs that now are kept in the concert hall upstairs. This solves the problem of the big metal carts cluttering floor space during big events.



Below is a plan of the third floor with the elevator access. The space on this floor would be left unused during Phase I, thus cutting on the construction costs of the addition. The space would be converted into an apartment for the building manager later.

Please note that building an apartment does not mean any changes to the current manager building as discussed initially. The current manager building will not be demolished; instead it can be rented when the apartment is done.



Construction costs


How much does it cost?

How much do we need to construct the extension to the building and how much to execute on all the elements of the Master Plan?


The construction cost is about 500,000 for the addition with the 3rd floor left empty (as per the current plan following Phase I of the Master Plan); after adding 10% reserve for contingencies and the WA state sales tax, the total cost is about $600,000. This estimate is based on actual construction bids as of fall 2007 but it might change depending on when the actual construction starts.


The Master Plan includes Phase II with several other elements to do such as completing the manager apartment, remodeling the current structure to better use available space,  adding a new air-conditioning to the whole building etc. Costs for these elements are not included in the above estimate as it is too early to define the scope of that work.


We expect the bulk of financing to come from the cash generated by cash pledges, grants and fundraising events. There are no plans to take a construction loan, unless it can be secured by the pledges. We have also received significant service pledges for the project. These include professional services such as making architectural plans, structural calculations, electrical work, roofing, siding, painting and carpentry.




Striving for wide community support

The fundraising campaign we run is a wide grass-root campaign aimed at contacting over 1000 families and individuals related to the Polish Home, starting with PHA members. As of October 2007, we received pledges from over 150 families, organizations and individuals, so there is still a way to go. We ask every family to donate about $500-$1,000 to the campaign to collect enough funds. However, every amount helps. Many pledges are for $50, $100 or $200 and we certainly invite more pledges like that! For many people it is easier to pledge smaller yearly donations over span of 2 or 3 years, and such pledges are welcome.


Keeping the community informed

The campaign publishes regular reports about the project in the local bilingual quarterly published by PHA, Nasz Dom, and on the PHF website. Also, community wide letters are sent about once a year.


Fundraising beyond local Polish community

We are expanding the campaign to go beyond the Polish community of the Puget Sound. We plan to appeal both to local general public and the Polish communities and organizations across the United States.



In March 2007, the project received a $10,000 grant from the Seattle Foundation from its program for building healthy communities. We plan to apply for more grants for the project. We welcome help and suggestions for grant application writing and targeting.


Fundraising events and other income

Special events are organized by the Polish community to generate income for the project. Pierogi Fest of 2006 and 2007 turned out to be a very popular event and we plan to continue it in the future. Other plans for 2007/2008 season include a Biesiada concert. Also, finances for the project have been invested in CDs, thus generating interest income for the project.


Recognizing donors

The Fundraising Committee publishes the donor list in the local quarterly Nasz Dom and on the PHF website. The list of donors is presented in sections corresponding to donation value ranges with donor names listed alphabetically without specific values. The ranges are as follows: $25,000 or more, $10,000-$24,999, $5000–$9999, $2000-$4999, $1000-$1999, $500-$999, $200-$499, $100-$199 and up to $99. Upon completion of the construction, the Polish Home will mount a special board (or boards) to honor project donors and volunteers.


Naming opportunities

Naming opportunities are special ways of honoring donors who have contributed exceptional amounts. The opportunities for this campaign include naming the library, the concert hall upstairs and the elevator.


Bricks for the project

The campaign will make some other opportunities available later. In particular, the Committee also plans to make space available for special plaques or bricks once the construction plans are finalized.


Gift plans

Many donors would like to spread their contributions over time for personal reasons or due to matching gift plan limitations. We embrace any schedule that is convenient to the supporters of the project. If you like to give in smaller installments over a longer period of time, the table below can help with planning such contributions.


Spreading your gifts over 2 years

Gift plan


First install.




Daily amount

































































Please note that other gift plans (shorter or longer than two years) are also possible.


Matching Gift Programs

When considering a pledge, please ask your employer if there is a gift matching plan available that could be used to increase your effective donation. At the print time the following Puget Sound companies are known to offer matching gift programs to their employees: Boeing, Microsoft, Oracle, Safeco and Starbucks.


 FAQ updated Nov, 2007





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