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Fred Rivera Receives Sally P. Savage Leadership in Philanthropy APEX Award │ Sept. 27, 2019

Updated: Sept. 27, 2019

Mariners General Counsel Combines Legal and Philanthropic Skills to Address Homelessness

SEATTLE [Sept. 27, 2019] — The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) presented Fred Rivera the 2019 Sally P. Savage Leadership in Philanthropy APEX Award. Sally Savage led the Bar Foundation’s renaissance and was a catalyst for its refocused mission to sustain the WSBA’s effort to advance justice and diversity. Sally’s spirit of generosity and leadership continue to inspire all who recognize the transformative potential of philanthropy. WSBA President William D. Pickett presented the award at the annual WSBA APEX (Acknowledging Professional Excellence) Awards Dinner on Sept. 26 at the Sheraton Seattle.

In addition to his role as executive vice president and general counsel for the Seattle Mariners, Fred Rivera has made it a mission to help people avoid eviction—and thereby homelessness—by using his unique position to generate resources for a cause that flies further afield.

Amid a growing need for support and studied linkages between eviction and long-term homelessness, Rivera rallied the Mariners organization and created the HomeBASE Program to provide legal aid and prevent evictions. HomeBASE quickly generated $3 million in donations that went toward saving countless people from becoming ensnared in the cycle of homelessness.

“Fred Rivera said to himself, ‘What can I do about homelessness?’” said Seattle attorney Carolyn Ladd. “And I think he was the only person who could have come up with the HomeBASE program, because he was uniquely situated as general counsel of the Mariners, being on the board of the King County Bar Foundation, and serving on the board of the United Way. Fred saw a way to involve all three of these organizations.”

Through Rivera’s leadership and dedication to the cause, the HomeBASE Program was able to garner widespread media attention, generate funding for vital legal services, and ultimately interrupt landlord evictions and help residents—many of whom are from marginalized communities—stay housed.

“Fred has that ability to connect the dots,” said Joe Fine, CEO and president of United Way of King County. “He pulled together his legal skills and his connections. … We went from what was merely an idea to a big, implemented program in a matter of months; it was remarkable.”

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