When the Kraken completed its final steps to become a full-fledged and official 32nd franchise of the National Hockey League last Friday, team owners, leaders and employees celebrated the moment with pride, excitement, gratitude and a keen sense of mission for days and seasons ahead.
All of us privileged to be part of the Kraken, Climate Pledge Arena, the Kraken Training Center and Oak View Group are equally thrilled and forwardly intent about Tuesday's milestone moment: The launch of One Roof FoundationTM, the philanthropic arm for the hockey team, arena and training center.
"One Roof" signifies the Kraken and Oak View Group organizations working together to unify with Seattle and the Pacific Northwest region. The foundation will connect across the tangible touchpoints of welcoming physical spaces at both the arena and training center, emotional togetherness created by sports and entertainment and purpose-driven financial resources.
"For almost 60 years, the arena's historic roof has been at the heart of the Seattle community," said Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group. "And now, it will be transformed and given new life for the next 60 years. It will continue to be the symbol that represents our community, our ambitions and our ability to come together."
One Roof will steward and amplify the effort, whether it is connecting with fans on positive social impact and planet sustainability, creating jobs and careers for people of underserved communities, providing access to hockey and skating for BIPOC youth and adults, and much more.
"The idea of building out Climate Pledge Arena and the Seattle Kraken were born out of a strong sense of purpose to create something powerful and lasting for our community," said Tod Leiweke, Seattle CEO. "In that spirit, One Roof Foundation is committed to giving back and the idea of opportunities for all. From our ownership through every employee, full-time or part-time, we intend to stand with and for the community. It's the bedrock for everything we do."
The foundation's leadership has worked behind-the-scenes over the last two years to establish nonprofit status as a 501c3 organization and develop working relationships with social impact and community advocacy groups in the city and region. The One Roof Foundation's informational website, with both volunteer and donation options for fans, is now live at onerooffoundation.org.
"The story of both the Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena began with a commitment to look to the future and do things differently," said Mari Horita, Kraken vice president of community engagement and social change, who will serve as executive director of the foundation. "We are developing cutting-edge technology to optimize the fan experience, partnering with private and public leadership to provide efficient and responsible transportation options to and from the arena and we are setting the standard in sustainable facilities operations.
"We are also building an enterprise in which everyone feels welcome-and developing the most diverse and inclusive hockey culture in the country, if not the world. These achievements were derived from our ownership's vision to not only bring professional hockey back to Seattle [for the first time since 1975] and reinvent an historic landmark, but to advance positive change in our community.
A pivotal instrument of that positive change will be the three-rink, state-of-the-art Kraken Training Center nearing completion in the Northgate neighborhood. Horita said the "best NHL facility in the land," not only house the team but the community with "three sheets of ice under one roof." Programming and registration announcements will begin later this month.
The Kraken and Oak View Group has already demonstrated the ongoing commitment to community with fundraising campaigns to provide $800,000 in food vouchers for families in need during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, $200,000 to nonprofit neighbors on the Seattle Center campus (its director Robert Nellams called it "lots of light during a time of darkness") and $405,000 of net proceeds from an inaugural merchandise line to three local nonprofits.
As a result of the exclusive line of "Release the Kraken" merchandise sold between July 23 and Aug. 21 when the team name was revealed, the Kraken donated $285,000 to YouthCare and $60,000 each to Community Passageways and the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle.
One Roof is founded upon the belief that "the well-being of every person is tied to the well- being of every other person, and that the future health of humanity is dependent on the future health of our planet." The foundation is committed to a more equitable society where everyone can realize a brighter future.
The Foundation will focus on three primary pillars as guideposts:
- Youth homelessness: Through a long-term and holistic partnership with YouthCare, the One Roof Foundation, Seattle Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena will provide funding, visibility and job support to help end youth homelessness in our region.
- Youth access to hockey: The foundation will invest in programs and partnerships to deliver on the promise that all youth in our region have access to hockey, both at the Kraken Training Center and throughout our Seattle and Pacific Northwest community.
- Environmental justice: The foundation will elevate the voices in communities disproportionately impacted by climate change and take steps to support those populations.
"We invite our fans and our community to join forces with One Roof to ensure that all young people in our region have a roof over their heads, know that hockey is their game too, and have fresh air to breathe," said Horita "We are in this together - under One Roof."