In 1994, a group of YWCA Board Members was looking for a fun way to raise money for YWCA Pierce County while giving the arts community a venue to show their work. Two board members, Sondra Purcell and Judith Nilan, met over dinner to brainstorm fundraising ideas for the YWCA. The ideas were flying and as Sondra recalls, the two were overheard by Mimi Anderson, who joined in the conversation. As she left, Mimi said, "Call me. I want to be a part of this." That evening, the idea for “Rags ForRiches” was born.
The RAGS concept developed into an opportunity to enjoy and purchase the work of talented local fiber artists and designers in support of both the YWCA and the local artists. RAGS soon outgrew its first venue, The American Art Company, and relocated to the Mercedes Benz dealership in Fife, where it remains.
RAGS was known as "Rags For Riches" in its first three years of existence. In the fourth year, the decision was made to shorten the name to RAGS.
RAGS and YWCA Pierce County
RAGS is underwritten entirely through donations from people and organizations who believe in the YWCA Pierce County's mission and in RAGS' creative approach to supporting that mission. These donations fund the production of RAGS: From equipment rental, advertising, and decorations to permits and printing costs.
The artists who display and sell their work at RAGS agree to give 33 percent of their sales in the marketplace and 40 percent of their sales in the gallery to RAGS. The annual RAGS donation, including the $120,000 given in 2018, is earmarked to fund YWCA programs and specifically address domestic violence in our community.
The best part about RAGS is everyone involved is working to support the YWCA mission. For the underwriters who offer their resources, the artists who sacrifice part of their proceeds, and the RAGS Guild members and volunteers who spend countless hours throughout the year, RAGS matters. It is a labor of community connectedness, concern for families who may have nowhere else to turn, and faith in the ability of the YWCA to turn resources into valuable services and ultimately into changed lives.
Your donation, your purchases, and your volunteer hours make a difference to RAGS, to the YWCA Pierce County, to families suffering and recovering from domestic violence, and to our community as a whole.