Paula Boggs is a trained U.S. Army paratrooper who attended high school in Europe. She co-founded the women’s cross-country and track-and-field programs at her university. She worked in the legal department at the White House, became a federal prosecutor and later was hired as general counsel at Starbucks.
Yet throughout her interesting life, the two greatest pulls at her always have been music and Seattle.
So it’s not surprising that when Boggs retired from Starbucks she and her spouse, Randee Fox, opened a community philanthropy fund at Seattle Foundation that directs the majority of their giving to an enduring and endearing champion of Seattle’s music scene: KEXP public radio.
Boggs, of Sammamish, chose to support KEXP through a partnership with Seattle Foundation -- as opposed to donating directly to the station -- in part because of the tax advantages from structuring the giving in that way. But Boggs says she also wanted to make a statement in support of Seattle Foundation’s mission to build a healthy community, which includes a vibrant arts scene.
“I elected to go with Seattle Foundation because Seattle is my community,” Boggs says. “What makes us special is the combination of our unique geography, our off-the-charts intelligence and our artistic vibe. No matter who you are, you can always participate in Seattle and find a way to make a difference.”
Boggs probably could write a book about all of her life experiences. Instead, she writes songs about them. The Paula Boggs Band performs at intimate venues throughout the Puget Sound area, her music “part Janis Ian and part Carole King, with a wee bit of Tracy Chapman thrown in,” according to one critic.
In 2005, Boggs enrolled in a yearlong songwriter program through the University of Washington Professional and Continuing Education. She began playing open-mic shows and meeting other musicians. Music was her pastime, but she was sensitive to those who treated music as their vocation.
“That’s when I really began to appreciate the uniqueness of KEXP,” she says.
Boggs and Fox wrote a nice check to the station during a fund drive. Her admiration grew and lead to her serving on KEXP’s board.
“I realize how special it is to be where I am,” Boggs says. “I’m able to create music and perform it, unburdened by any need to make money from what I do. But I spent a year in that songwriting program with people trying to grab at the brass ring in one form or another. For them, KEXP symbolizes their only hope of being heard. It’s important that music be discovered by audiences through vehicles other than commercial radio and I want to support that.”
Boggs says she also wants to support Seattle Foundation for giving her the option to take an active and direct role in her giving.
“One of the virtues of Seattle Foundation,” Boggs says, “is that it is a vehicle that lends itself to many different kinds of donors, including entrepreneurial donors like me.”
Learn more about philanthropy at Seattle Foundation.