Here is how Lambert House bought its Capitol Hill house — and the surprising company helping to pay for it

Faced with a buy or move $2 million question on its 15th Ave home, Lambert House has found a surprising supporter to help its mission to support queer youth on Capitol Hill.

In 1993, Lambert house began operating on Capitol Hill, and since then has become the Northwest’s leading organization in aiding queer youth. In 2016, Lambert House was given two months notice to vacate their location as the house’s third generation of family owners wanted to sell the property. Saved by an angel investor with a $2 million, zero percent interest loan, the organization was able to buy the house, and is now fundraising to pay back the loan within five years.

Tito’s Vodka approached Lambert House in March offering Lambert House a partnership with their Love, Tito’s campaign — at various local restaurants, for every drink purchased with Tito’s, Tito’s will donate $1 to Lambert House. Some participating restaurants are matching Tito’s effort, also donating $1 per drink.

While Lambert House is working to pay back their loan, the organization is looking to the future with maintenance and expansion. “We are growing, and I would say we are serving more youth right now than we have ever served in our history,” Brandon Knox, Lambert House’s executive director said. Before owning the property, Lambert House leased its victorian style home of for two generations, providing youth with a comfortable, spacious, home-like environment, and a centralized location allowing the organization to reach youth from one hundred thirty ZIP codes.

Accommodating larger numbers of youth means replacing the house’s foundation, starting new programs, and hiring new staff. Lambert House has no qualms regarding this forward momentum is brought on by a liquor company partnership. “Tito’s is a legal business, and they operate within all applicable laws, and we are happy to heed those donations,” Knox said.

Knox also noted Lambert house serves youth between the ages 11 to 22, so while some youth are not minors, the organization does not support alcohol use among any youth it serves, and individuals have to be sober to enter the premises. Lambert House also does not advertise fundraising partnerships with liquor companies themselves, but if youth have questions about these fundraisers or alcohol use, staff at Lambert House have conversations about the effects of alcohol, what the risks are, and where to go for safe, healthy information.

Along with fundraising through their car donation program and third party events, Lambert House has previously received funding from liquor companies and bars, especially local, LGBTQ owned establishments. In June, Lambert House will partner with Montucky Cold Snacks, a beer company based out of Montana, as they receive 8% of profits generated by the company’s Pride-themed beer.

Knox is energized by the possibilities of this capital. “These projects will be huge helps to Lambert House, with tremendous long term gains, as far as the types of programs we can start and the amount of space we’ll add,” he said.

You can learn more about Lambert House at lamberthouse.org.


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