All posts by Programs

17 Jun 2018

Hubcast Episode 2: The Building(s)

Episode Length: 42:10

In this week’s episode of Hubcast, hear our building owner’s story from his grandfather’s immigration to the United States, how he built a small business that eventually became a fixture of the neighborhood. Bob Masin discusses the evolution of his family’s’ furniture business – why he and his son chose to relocate the furniture store to Bellevue – opening a piece of real estate that would eventually be home to Seattle Impact Hall.

 Related Content:

“Masins Furniture Pulling out of Pioneer Square” – Seattle Times, September 1, 2011

“Masins Furniture to be Acquired by Tacoma Rivals – Seldens” – Seattle Times,

Impact Hall Links:

This episode was recorded, engineered and produced in-house at Seattle Impact Hall. 

  • Produced by Jonnie Wilder, Zipbangwow Productions – jonnie[at]
  • Music by Natalia Fandel, Community Manager – Natalia[at]
  • Hosted by Sarah Studer, Managing Director of Impact Hall – Sarah[at]
  • Show notes by Benjamin Bell – ben[at]
  • Recorded onsite in the Hangout Room, 5-person conference room available to rent!
14 Jun 2018

We’re a B Corp!

We’re proud to share that we have just received confirmation that Seattle Impact Hall has been re-certified as a B Corporation for the third time since our first certification in 2014!

What are B Corporations?

B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk. B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Today, there is a growing community of more than 2,100 Certified B Corps from 50 countries and over 130 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business.

Why is it important that Impact Hall is a B Corporation?

To put it simply, we believe that business can be used as a force for social good, and we want to practice what we preach! There are tons of other good reasons too: to be leaders in a movement, to differentiate ourselves, and to better align our purchasing power with our values. The questions themselves challenge you to think differently about how to organize your business.

What does it take to become a B Corporation?

Take the assessment and see how you compare to other companies! Even if pursuing full certification isn’t your ultimate goal, taking the assessment can give you ideas on what it might take to become a better business for your workers, community and the environment. For example, encouraging your employees to participate in the community through volunteering or serving on a Board of a non-profit organization can increase your score, while also giving your company increased visibility, develop leadership skills of your employees and advance your own career.

Curious about serving on a board or starting a volunteer program for your employees? Talk to Seattle Works, an Impact Hall-based organization that is dedicated to connecting volunteers with service opportunities!

Here’s a sample question that you can find on the assessment:

Evey question is scored and weighed to add up to a total, where a score of 80 is the minimum to qualify. After the assessment, the B corp team reviews your answers and verifies the most critical questions in an interview.

How did Impact Hall’s score change between 2016 and 2018?

Great question! It’s a little tricky to answer because the assessment has evolved since 2016. This is the 4th iteration of the B corp assessment, and every iteration, the bar is raised. In the latest reassessment, we have been able to maintain our B corp status and raise our overall score by three points.

As Impact Hall, we make thoughtful choices about vendors, purposefully build a community of people that makes the world a better place through their work, have local board members and suppliers, have some basic sustainability measures in place for the building, and share all company information (such as financials) among our staff.

Having said that, we’re not, as B corp calls it, one of the ‘best for the world’ in any of these categories. And as you can see, we have some work to do when it comes to the Workers category. As an example, while we do offer our employees health insurance (dental/vision included), we are not yet in a position to offer retirement plans – but we want to get there! And ideally, we would be creating more jobs by growing our business faster. Finally, the thought of an employee-owned (or community owned!) business is also enticing and a step forward.

What other companies are B Corporations?

The B Corp movement continues to gain momentum globally, with high-profile companies like Patagonia, Althleta, Seventh Generation, Warby Parker, Dr. Bronners and Allbirds having received certification. In Washington State, we are are proud to support our fellow B Corps such as Starvation Alley Cranberries, Aslan Brewing, Finn River Cider and Snoqualmie Ice Cream – and right here at onsite at Seattle Impact Hall, we are in good company with members and tenants like Yin Yang NaturalsMilepost Consulting, RALLY and Natural Investments. You can also check out the list of companies that have been named “Best for the World” or search for a specific company on the B Corp website.

So what’s next for Seattle Impact Hall?

Taking the full assessment and going through the re-certification process is no small feat, so we’re definitely in “self-congratulation” mode right now, but we’re eager to continue the conversation within our team and our greater community about what we can do to continue to improve our score before 2020, and we’d like to encourage others to think about what they can do be become B’s too.

If you have questions about our experience, reach out to Kristian Bolk, our Managing Director who led our re-certification process! If you are interested in seeing our full assessment, let us know. We’re happy to help you prepare for your own.

11 Jun 2018

Hubcast Episode 1: How to Build an Impact Hall

Episode Length: 1:13:12

In this episode:

  • Hear from two of Seattle Impact Hall’s co-founders on how they created a space for like-minded people to collaborate and share ideas on how to make the world a better place.
  • See how important it is to build your network and maintain those relationships.
  • Is it possible to invest for profit, people, and planet?
  • Hear about the meeting where Seattle Impact Hall received their first investments.
  • The co-founders discuss Startup “SocEnt” Weekend, the first big event for Seattle Impact Hall.
  • Brian dives into some of the hard lessons he learned while making Seattle Impact Hall a reality.
  • Find out the reasons why Pioneer Square was the perfect location to build this community.

Related Content:

Video with Brian:

Article on Impact Hall:

Links: Format Health :

         Social Capital Markets:

         Social Venture Partners:

This episode was recorded, engineered and produced in-house at Seattle Impact Hall. 

  • Produced by Jonnie Wilder, Zipbangwow Productions – jonnie[at]
  • Music by Natalia Fandel, Community Manager – Natalia[at]
  • Hosted by Sarah Studer, Managing Director of Impact Hall – Sarah[at]
  • Show notes by Benjamin Bell – ben[at]
  • Recorded onsite in the Hangout Room, 5-person conference room available to rent!
11 Jun 2018

Mapping Seattle’s Social Innovation Ecosystem

Announcing a new Seattle Impact Hall initiative – download our full plan

Since Seattle Impact Hall was founded over 5 years ago, we’ve learned that the gap between what is possible in terms of social innovation in Seattle and our day-to-day reality is baffling. The outcomes and innovation as a result of passion, money and effort being spent are underwhelming, as can be observed on a daily basis with people experiencing homelessness just outside our windows.

We believe that the answer to these challenges is a shift in mindset that leads to more collaboration and innovation across boundaries. We don’t need smarter individuals or new technological solutions, but a more effective way to coordinate our resources, efforts and financial meansImpact Hub is uniquely situated to take up the role of the convener and facilitator of this approach. Not only do we have a neutral space and credibility as part of a global network of change-makers, our network connects the worlds of community organizing, funding, government, entrepreneurship and foundations.

Impact Hall has partnered with Tina Maloney and Perennial Leadership to design and lead this effort. Over the next months, we are testing the waters to see what this approach could look like. We will explore Seattle’s social innovation ecosystem and how we can address our most complex social challenges, using the tools of design- and systems thinking.

In the first phase, we plan to host the following sessions:

  • 2-hour mapping sessions for points of view of the various stakeholder groups in our ecosystem. Join for one or more and contribute. Take the result home with you and learn the basics of system mapping. Tickets are $20 and 50% discounted for members. Join for one and get free entry to the final session to receive outcomes from all individual sessions. 
  • Weekly meetups on Wednesday afternoons for an informal discussion about systems mapping and design for social innovation. Stop by and join the conversation. Sign up here to let us know you’re coming.
  • Ask us for a deep dive in a focus area of your concern. These will priced at $2,000, including preparation and outcome summary. If you are willing to share the outcomes, a 50% discount applies.

All Impact Hall-sponsored system maps will be available under creative commons. We will be communicating in our regular channels (newsletter, website and in our space on 220 2nd Ave S). Find detailed information below and

We invite everybody to join the conversation – contact us: Tina Maloney ( and Kristian Bolk (

01 Jun 2018

What We Learned in our Communities for Change project

Seattle Impact Hall hosted an 8-week social innovation lab in January, February and March this year. See our invitation for this program here. Read on to learn why we did it and what we’ve learned along the way.

Seattle Impact Hall is both a physical space in Pioneer Square and an expansive network of roughly 700 people who use that space either as individuals or as members of larger enterprises.  We all belong to a global network encompassing 100 other hubs across 5 continents that collectively host 16,500 people attracted our emphasis on achieving a positive social impact through your work, investments, or volunteer time.  

We maintain the physical space and build this network to stimulate new ways of thinking and new approaches to solving the ecological, economic, and social crises that headline our daily newsfeeds.  As a general rule, our community shares the belief that technology and competitive markets, appropriately employed, are valuable tools for innovation.

Most important, however, we emphasize meaningful collaboration across diverse perspectives and two beliefs underpin this particular aspect of our work.  The first is that lasting solutions will emerge only when we are open to listening and learning from each other. The second is that bottom up prototyping of solutions is necessary to break through the paralysis gripping our body politic.  Quite simply, our public, philanthropic, and corporate institutions cannot solve these ecological, economic, and social crises by themselves.

It is in this context that Seattle Impact Hall joined five other Impact Halls across our network — Boulder, Baltimore, Budapest, Harare, and Shanghai — in accepting an invitation from MIT’s Presencing Institute to learn about and deploy their social design methodology known as u.lab.  This opportunity was made possible by a grant from the BMW Foundation and the technical support provided by the Presencing Institute, which developed u.lab over two decades of research into how “individuals, teams, organizations, and large systems can build the essential leadership capacities needed to address the root causes of today’s social, environmental, and spiritual challenges.”  

As a unifying theme, each Impact Hall agreed to focus their u.lab experience on creating more inclusive cities (branded Communities for Change) and sharing learnings as we proceeded.  For our part, Seattle focused on “inclusive entrepreneurship.” Other cities chose themes such as affordable housing, the future of work, and global climate change.

We were motivated to participate in Communities for Change by our desire to develop our ability to convene a large group of people who represent a widely diverse experiences for the purpose of finding the common ground necessary to collaborate on effective problem solving.  This convening role is the most significant expression of the value Seattle Impact Hall can offer as a network dedicated to social innovation. The Presencing Institute offered us both the expert guidance and a tested methodology from which to learn. Equally important, we also wanted to expand the reach of our network to encompass entrepreneurs and communities of color more authentically.

The core presumption of u.lab is to recognize that problem solving requires deep trust, an acknowledgement that no one knows the whole truth, and a willingness to listen with an open heart to reach a common understanding of the complexity of the problems we face.   So it was with this on our minds and in our hearts, we began our journey.

Here are our core learnings:

  • There’s immense value in deeper conversations with people that are different than you and it takes time and patience to realize that value. During this program we spent time on listening skills and, in the process, realized how easy it is to go into debate rather than dialogue. The result of this focus was that participants reported the most powerful part of the u.lab program was the strong connections they created with each other.  It is what made people come back week after week. It made us think, how many of us are working on the same issue but do not truly know each other? What is it that makes us crave those meaningful connections, yet why do we need help to get there?
  • Our challenges are at times overwhelming. We spent time meeting with underrepresented communities, both entrepreneurs and the organizations dedicated to supporting them. Some of our participants (and incredible inspiring leaders: HackNation, the African Women Business Alliance, MercyCorps, El Centro de la Raza, and What’s Next Washington) organized and led us on field trips for that purpose. Our experience was humbling and revealing.  Our first impulse was to want to fix it — “I know, they should try this” — only to realize minutes later we realize that we barely know anything at all. At times that made us feel desperate. That feeling came back when it was time for coming together to work on solutions.  Where do you start when there’s so much to do? While this easily led to frustration – we also realized it is a frustration that reflects the tension of the real world.
  • We are stuck in our heads, most of the time. We spent a significant amount of time engaging different levels of listening and learning than we usually do. While this sounds esoteric, it actually means taking time in silence; that is, journaling, building three dimensional sculptures out of play doh, or performing a physical exercise called ‘stuck’. We were amazed by the profoundly meaningful personal reflection and life choices that resulted from a more heartfelt connection to ourselves. We were left wondering why we have so little time for something so important in these turbulent times? 
  • Outcomes. Unsurprisingly, the relationships that were forged were the most important results of this program. We all have a new respect for the value of meaningful conversations between people that care about a similar topic as well as what is required to get to that point. These relationships have already paid off in unexpected ways, among them new partnerships that are increasing real resources available to aspiring entrepreneurs of color.  We expect the relationships will continue to bear fruit for years to come.


As we look outside the windows of Seattle Impact Hall and pay daily witness to hundreds of people in the most destitute states of mental illness, addiction, and economic crisis, we wonder what we can do with this new body of knowledge and these new relationships.  What could we accomplish if as a community we started to listen and learn from the heart and collaborate to find lasting solutions? While that may seem crazy, for us is seems like the only way forward.

In the meantime we will continue to chip away at using the assets of Seattle Impact Hall as a catalyst for innovation on the difficult issues of our day.  We have the skills, the creative community, and the credibility to be an effective neutral convener breaking down the barriers between our existing public, private, and philanthropic sectors. As a start, we are mapping our network according to their interests according to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  What are your interests?  Join our network and let us help you create relevant connections on the topics that matter.

Our journey has just started.

29 May 2018

[Watch Now] Stories of Resilience: Indigenous Womxn of Seattle

This is a recording of Seattle Impact Hall’s first “Stories of Resilience” event – an evening of stories from resilient and powerful Indigenous women. These stories, told by Native women, resisting the colonial mindset and forging new pathways that are rooted in the ancient traditions of our ancestors. Modern expressions of the visions of those who have gone before, reclaiming what was lost and reframing for the generations to come.

The stories were curated by Colleen Echohawk-Hayashi and Abigail Echo-Hawk.

Proceeds from ticket sales were donated to the Chief Seattle Club ( ) and the Urban Indian Health Institute ( ).

This event took place Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018 at Seattle Impact Hall. To attend future Stories of Resilience events, visit

0:10 Intro by Steve Johnson, CEO of Seattle Impact Hall

1:49 Intro by Colleen Echohawk and Abigail Echo-Hawk

8:38 Intro to Abigail Echo-Hawk

9:58 Abigail Echo-Hawk

18:58 Intro to Camie Goldhammer

20:18 Camie Goldhammer

34:19 Intro to Robin Little Wing Sigo

35:30 Robin Little Wing Sigo

45:39 Intro to Megan Bang

47:04 Megan Bang

56:39 Intro to Sara Marie Ortiz

58:34 Sara Marie Ortiz

1:08:27 Intro to Ester Lucero

1:09:26 Ester Lucero

1:19:25 Intro to Valerie Segrest

1:20:39 Valerie Segrest

1:35:37 Intro to Colleen Echohawk

1:36:47 Colleen Echohawk

1:44:48 Farewell

20 May 2018

Constant Gardeners: how Impact Hall’s Host Team cultivates community

☑️Apply Now To Become A Host!

What Is An Impact Hall Host?

By Merilee Jones, Seattle Impact Hall’s Operations Manager

When I first stepped into my role as Operations Manager, my first task was to take the reins of the Host Program and get a new cohort off the ground. I felt ridiculous trying to ‘teach’ our newest hosts how to host seeing as I barely knew anything myself! With the grace and guidance of colleagues, veteran hosts, and members we made it through that phase together.

In getting to know the program and listening to hosts’ needs, I heard two common themes:


  1. figure out how to work better together as a team, and…
  2. have a greater impact on the Impact Hall community.

Those two threads can be followed through to today, in that our Host Program structure is based around input from the hosts themselves and what they have built to creatively and effectively solve problems. They are an incredibly emotionally intelligent, caring and competent group and they are always asking how they as a team can be of greater value to Impact Hall.

Something that is really special about the host program is the virtuous cycle of it. Hosts help support Impact Hall as a catalyst, an incubator, a haven, a campus, an inspiration. Hosts can leverage those opportunities and tools in exchange for their time and expertise. A virtuous cycle!

Over the past year we have seen Hosts make the most of their community participation to launch businesses, win awards, create programs and reach life milestones as well as make tangible impacts on the Impact Hall community. Some of those impacts are:

  • Offering programs related to the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Presenting Lunch + Learns
  • Organizing our coffee program
  • Using the Host Program as a platform for giving back to our community
  • Greeting and providing concierge services to all who enter our doors
  • Building a bridge of communication between staff and members
  • Identifying and creating procedures that help the daily operations run smoothly for all members
  • Making connections that bring countless new faces into our community
  • Coming up with the concept of ‘Hubos,’ our community version of a ‘Kudos,’ that we use to call out appreciation and give gratitude to one another

In so many ways Hosts are the constant gardeners of Impact Hall. Their consistent, joyful dedication to keeping the day to day growing and thriving is a ballast of our community.

Some hosts may laugh at my flowery language (and bad, bad puns :c), but we really couldn’t be the community we are without them. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with all our hosts and really can’t thank them enough for all they do.

Hubos to all our hosts, past and present, who keep this amazing space and community in motion every day!

Learn more about the Host Program and apply to join the team by visiting this link.

14 May 2018

Spoke Activation: SDG’s 3 + 4

Six weeks ago, we announced that we were organizing our programmatic efforts to the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and we asked our community to help us map where they are most interested in making an impact.

More than 400 people responded, and the above image is a quick snapshot of what they’re interested in – the numbers within each segment indicate the number of individuals who selected the corresponding SDG as their main area of focus within their work.

With this information in hand, we are excited to begin launching our “Spokes” program, which will convene Impact Hall members who are working within each SDG to learn about one another’s work, identify opportunities for collaboration, and ultimately make progress towards achieving the goals by 2030!

The first two Spokes are now active – members who are interested in SDG 3: Good Health + Well-being are invited to join other members focused on this issue for a kickoff brown bag lunch on June 4.




Members who are interested in SDG 4: Quality Education are invited for the group’s second convening focused on education on May 22! The session will be focused on Natalie Wexler’s article “Why American Students Haven’t Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years”.

Want to learn more? Read our blog post about why we are aligning with the SDGs, and add your own to our database!

13 May 2018

Take on the TOMMY HILFIGER Social Innovation Challenge

This global initiative aims to support entrepreneurial start-up and scale-up stage businesses that are developing solutions with a positive social impact on the fashion value chain.

Seven finalists will be invited to develop their project plans with the support of a team of dedicated TOMMY HILFIGER experts during a one-week sprint at the Tommy Innovation Center in Amsterdam.

And three winners will receive a year-long mentorship with TOMMY HILFIGER internal experts globally, a grant of up to €100,000 and a place on the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Programme.


“Our brand has a strong history of mentoring and supporting talented individuals who have the drive to turn bold ideas into a reality,” said Tommy Hilfiger. “The future success of our industry depends on proactively discovering and nurturing innovative projects that can create real social change. The TOMMY HILFIGER Social Innovation Challenge is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on incredible ideas that could change the lives of people through a more positive and inclusive fashion landscape.”

TOMMY HILFIGER’s mission is to be one of the leading sustainable designer lifestyle brands through how it creates its product, manages its operations, and connects with its communities and stakeholders. More information about TOMMY HILFIGER’s sustainable evolution can be found here.

How does it work?

  • Interested businesses are invited to submit project proposals that have a social impact, whether involving enhancing the lives of the people or communities within the fashion value chain, the second life of a garment, marketing or advertising in the industry, or other aspects of fashion.
  • Seven finalists will be invited to develop their project plans with the support of a team of dedicated TOMMY HILFIGER subject-matter experts during a one week “Sprint” at the Tommy Innovation Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • They will pitch their finalized concept at the global TOMMY HILFIGER Social Innovation Challenge event in early 2019, where a panel will select three winners who will be awarded between €50,000 and €100,000 to support their ventures.
  • More information about the TOMMY HILFIGER Social Innovation Challenge, including the official contest rules, is available here.

Applications are open until June 5, 2018, and can be submitted here.

TOMMY HILFIGER Social Innovation Challenge Contact:

For support during the selection process, please contact our Scouting Lead, Ilse Kwaaitaal.

Friends and followers of the brand are invited to join the conversation on social media using #TommyHilfiger and @TommyHilfiger.