Impact: The World Is Fun

Washington / Aug. 18, 2012 / by Gelb
Impact: The World Is Fun

When Amy Faulkner moved to Seattle, she wanted to know what there was to do, so she started a blog. In less than five years, that simple idea has turned into a major catalyst for community called The World Is Fun.

Faulkner's initial hope was to "make a sort of 'Seattle bucket list'. My friends loved it and it spread like wildfire."

The World Is Fun is now a fully incorporated non-profit dedicated to bringing "volunteers, nonprofits, and corporations together to build a strong community."

The entire staff is made of more than 30 volunteers, and to date there are 100 participating nonprofit and business partners. TWIF is known by many for their innovative events to foster that sense of community interaction. 

It all started with beards and mustaches.

By using the new contacts she made while developing the original blog, Faulkner and her friends organized a "Beard and Stache" Festival to raise money for a local charity.

Now an annual event, the Beard and Stache festival is "a month long series of events hosted by Seattle area bars and restaurants in which the community raises money by “voting” for their favorite of 150 furry faced men. The festival culminates with an awards gala, live bands, and trophies for the winners," explains Volunteer Public Relations Director, Chris Edelbrock. 

Edelbrock stresses the uniqueness of TWIF within the Seattle community: "There is no other program focused solely on Seattle that brings businesses, nonprofits and volunteers together like we do. Not only that, but our focus on 20 & 30 year olds, and our creative spin on events and programs like Beard and Stache Fest make us stand out in the crowd."

By encouraging interaction among all different kinds of people that make up Seattle, Faulkner's hope is to foster community. "If the people, business and charities have shared goals, they will be more likely to support each other in all of their endeavors – making Seattle a really great place to live."

She continues, "We want to help businesses, volunteers and nonprofits engage each other and collaborate on solving challenges and creating new opportunities. That collaboration is how we see the different areas realizing their shared goals and creating the stronger community."

Jessica Park, a volunteer staff-member talks about the importance of the volunteer nature of TWIF: "It's exciting to be a part of this unique experiment in 100% volunteer-driven planning and events to benefit the community. TWIF provides a great opportunity for people to contribute what they can, when they can in terms of talent and time commitment. In other words, it is not only fun, but also easy to give back."

Aside from the Beard and Stache festival, The World Is Fun puts on other events to raise awareness and funds for nonprofits and causes that operate in the Seattle area.

The Kitchen Challenge is a monthly event that "brings volunteers to a local shelter to prepare meals 'Iron Chef' style. One of our volunteer coordinators takes a group of volunteers into the pantry and they come up with the menu together." says Edelbrock. "It’s an awesome event, and one that often fills up the first day that we post it on our website." So far, TWIF has enabled over 3000 meals to be made for shelters.

Coming up on Sunday August 19, they are putting on an outdoor showing of 'The Goonies' in partnership with the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods as well as other local nonprofits. Along with the showing of the film there will be a nonprofit fair to highlight the work going on in the local community.

Park says the beauty of TWIF is that "we are constantly meeting new people, working with new businesses and figuring out ways to support new non-profits."

The success of The World Is Fun has come as somewhat of a surprise for Faulkner, whose focus remains pegged to the original mission, the driving force behind the organization. 

"Understanding the power of a strong community and knowing that TWIF could lead to something truly remarkable in Seattle was the original motivation. Seeing that vision happen, meeting new and exciting people, and truly feeling like I have made some sort of impact in Seattle is what keeps me going."

To find out more about The World Is Fun, please visit their website, follow them on Twitter, and like them on Facebook. If you are in Seattle, be sure to drop by on Sunday, the 19th of August for their showing of 'The Goonies' in Seattle's Gasworks Park.