Local business owner attempts to bring a national nonprofit to Sequim

Drive down East Washington Street in Sequim most days and you’ll see Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam waving as you pass. Usually they stand by the side of the road promoting Liberty Tax Service, but on Saturday, April 5, the American icons were promoting a much different organization, the March of Dimes, a national nonprofit dedicated to improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

“We’re not doing taxes today. It’s just about the babies,” Liberty Tax Service owner Karen Spence said. She had just turned away a gentleman who was hoping to obtain his completed tax forms. He left in a disgruntled huff. “How can you be against babies?” Spence asked.

Liberty Tax Service, a national franchise, has had a long-standing partnership with March of Dimes branches across the United States, gathering donations and organizing fundraising events including annual walkathons.

Spence said she was shocked by the lack of a March of Dimes chapter in the Sequim community.

“There wasn’t anything in this area anyone was doing,” Spence said, adding that the closest walkathon takes place in Silverdale. “We were surprised nothing was going on.”

Spence decided that she would have to establish a Clallam County chapter herself. According to Spence, in order to create a recognized March of Dimes chapter, you need three CEOs with a large employee base. Spence will serve as one of three CEOs and she is looking for two others.

Spence admitted that response from the community on April 5 had been somewhat lukewarm.

“We don’t have a lot of people coming across. It’s almost like we’re not here,” Spence said.

But Spence describes herself as the sort of person who, when she sets out to do something, does it, and she plans on hosting a walkathon May 31 with or without community support.

“It’s not a question of if, it’s when,” Spence said.

For more information concerning the March of Dimes, contact Karen Spence at 681-4701.

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