If there’s one thing that is undeniably true about Jennifer Fischer, it’s that she is dedicated to the city of Bellevue. Coming from the Bellevue Downtown Association, to the last seven years as the Executive Director of Bellevue LifeSpring, Fischer has made an immeasurable impact on the people of Bellevue and gives children and families currently living in poverty the chance to get out of it in the future.
In the short time I spent chatting with Fischer, it became obvious that she has a unique ability to make people feel valued and seen; from her employees to the families she serves every day.
“Our biggest challenge is awareness,” says Fischer. “Out of the 2,500 children that we serve, 324 are experiencing homelessness. Our goal is to get every student graduated from high school. That’s the first way to break the cycle of poverty. For every student that doesn’t graduate high school, the cost to the tax payer is about a million dollars over the life of that individual. We strive to close that gap and get 15 additional students to graduate every year.”
It’s not often we think of poverty as an issue in a city as affluent as Bellevue, but Bellevue LifeSpring has been a staple for those in need for roughly 100 years. They meet the basic needs of children which include getting them fed and keeping a roof over their heads, to offering an emergency rent assistance program to keep families in their homes.
During Jennifer Fischer’s time at the Bellevue Downtown Association, she was one of the founding members of the Downtown Circle, a group that worked closely with Bellevue LifeSpring offering passes to the annual ice rink, and the holiday adopt-a-family program. So when the executive director position became available, Fischer was asked to apply and was more than happy to accept the position.
“It’s not a child’s choice to be low income or to experience homelessness,” Fischer explains. “We need to prevent the homelessness from the beginning because it’s much easier to keep families in their homes than it is to pull them up.”
This was the first year that Bellevue LifeSpring didn’t have to turn any families away that requested rent assistance. Because of foundations that have stepped in, and generous members of the independent and corporate community, Bellevue LifeSpring is able to do the work they do.
A Bellevue native and a proud Washington State University alumni, Fischer’s entire career encompasses pouring into the community she loves.
“This is my home,” says Fischer.
Her passion to help kids less fortunate and her ability to lead people into purposeful action allows her to thrive not only as a director, but as a pillar in our community.
A huge portion of funding for the organization comes from two annual events -
-Uncork the Night where guests taste wines from around the world and bid on auction items.
-Step Up to the Plate Benefit Luncheon which unfortunately had to be canceled this year due to the coronavirus.
Now more than ever, Bellevue LifeSpring has been incredibly busy meeting the needs of those less fortunate in our area. For ways of help, visit bellevuelifespring.org or call 425-451-1175 to immediately support their efforts.