Defunct Yelm Business Association Donates Funds


In early December the Yelm Business Association voted to dissolve their organization due to a lack of volunteers. On Monday they distributed the remainder of their funds to Experience Olympia and Beyond. 

The YBA originally started in 2013 and despite their short time together has worked on various projects in which they are proud of. 

“We did a lot while we were here,” said Dan Crowe, former YBA executive director, “It’s not like we just started up and fizzled out.” 

Former YBA President Cynthia Schmier counts opening up communication with the city and putting in food truck regulations as the organization’s top accomplishments.

The members wanted to make sure the money would benefit Yelm businesses, even if it was not directly coming from the YBA. They originally wanted to give the money to a business or organization within Yelm, but after much consideration they came to the conclusion that giving the money to Experience Olympia and Beyond would benefit Yelm the most. 

YBA board members believe they came to the right conclusion, especially after later hearing about recent accomplishments and various awards Experience Olympia had received. Recently they had a part in getting Olympia named one of the Top 29 Best Small Cities in National Geographic, designated Most Caffeinated and Greenest. Their website also won a Silver Davey Award. This international award recognizes small agencies who work creatively.

Experience Olympia works with people and businesses in Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and Yelm. Their mission is to promote travel to Thurston County, improving the local economies and communities. 

Monday afternoon YBA board members Schmier, Crowe, Bill Hashim and Steve Klein presented Experience Olympia staff with a giant check, as well as a normal one that could actually be put in the bank.

Experience Olympia Chief Executive Officer Shauna Stewart said she was thrilled when she heard the news of the $1,086 that would be coming their way from the YBA. She also joked that all future donations will have to come by way of giant checks and she plans on hanging it on her office wall.

“It brought a tear to my eye.” Stewart said, who refers to herself as Chief Experience Officer. “It really is just an enormous compliment coming from people who care about the community.” 

The funds will be used to create content relating to Yelm. Both day and night trip packages to places in and around Yelm, such as the Deschutes Falls Park, will be promoted using the donated funds. Experience Olympia will also boost posts on their various social media pages about things to do and see in Yelm. 

Other future plans for the funding include spreading the word about Yelm’s various events including UFO Fest, Jazz Fest and Prairie Days. 


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