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Is Third Place Commons part of Third Place Books?

No. Third Place Commons and Third Place Books are separate entities, but we both serve the same mission of bringing the community together. When the bookstore opened in 1998, it immediately became a vital part of Lake Forest Park and beyond. People of all ages and interests found the perfect place to spend time together, hear music, schedule performances and meetings. Initially, bookstore staff handled all these requests, a task that quickly became overwhelming.

In 2000, Friends of Third Place Commons, more commonly known as Third Place Commons, was founded as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to schedule and manage hundreds of free public activities and events each year. The unique relationship between Third Place Commons and Third Place Books models a mutually beneficial and sustainable collaboration between the business and nonprofit worlds.

Does Third Place Commons manage the Town Center at Lake Forest Park?

No. Although we are located within the heart of Town Center, Third Place Commons does not manage the mall or facilities of the Town Center at Lake Forest Park. The property is owned and managed by Merlone Geier Properties.

Who runs Third Place Commons?

As a stand-alone nonprofit organization, Third Place Commons is managed by two paid staff members. The Executive Director (1 FTE) oversees programming, outreach, communications, administration, fundraising, and operations for the organization. The Music and Events Coordinator (.5 FTE) books performances and community events and coordinates stage technical needs. Additional help is contracted annually to support the operations of the Lake Forest Park Farmers Market during market season.

An active Board of Directors determines policy to ensure that programming decisions put the community’s needs and interests first.

What activities does Third Place Commons offer?

Following is a small, but representative, sampling of our regular offerings. To find out what is going on this month, take a look at our calendar.

For young children and their caregivers:

  •  Stage Programs during the summer and during the holiday season, sponsored by the King County Library System
  • Annual community Halloween celebration

For school-aged and high school students:

  • Pinewood Derbies with local Cub Scout Packs
  • Concerts with elementary school musicians in the Shoreline and other neighboring School Districts
  • Performance recitals by private music and dance studios
  • Area youth jazz band performances

For people of all ages:

  • Lake Forest Park Farmers Market (weekly from Mother’s Day through the third Sunday in October)
  • Live music with an open dance floor every Friday and Saturday night
  • Weekly language conversation groups in French, Spanish and German
  • LFP Garden Club Meetings with public presentations
  • Computer Q&A’s
  • Biannual City Council Candidate Forums

How does Friends of Third Place Commons raise funds?

Friends of Third Place Commons has grown incrementally, from a volunteer–run organization in 2000 to a healthy, sustainable, small nonprofit with an annual operating budget of approximately $250,000. Like any nonprofit organization, we rely heavily on the generosity of individual donors, as well as financial support through grants, funding from the City of Lake Forest Park, Merlone Geier Partners, partner agencies, and corporate sponsors.

Annual fundraising efforts include GiveBIG in May and our year-end letter in December. Our primary fundraiser, the Third Place Commons Community Breakfast, is held annually in the late winter/early spring.

How is this money used?

Donations and sponsorships make possible a full range of free public programs for the community, as well as the Lake Forest Park Farmers Market.

Generous funding from the Lake Forest Park Rotary, the Lake Forest Park Garden Club, and individual donors support our food assistance program at the Lake Forest Park Farmers Market.

Who are Third Place Commons Partners in the community?

Over time, Third Place Commons has developed many vital partnerships with other organizations and agencies in the north end of King County. Among them are:

  • City of Lake Forest Park to offer special events such as the Home-Based Business Fair, the Earth Smart Green Fair, and candidate and issue forums;
  • King County Library System System to provide free WI-fi and Friends of Lake Forest Park Library to provide and support special events on our stage;
  • Shoreline School District to produce student concerts, art shows, and other cultural events;
  • 4Culture to support programming and equipment acquisitions through grant funding
  • Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center to provide space for informational public programs and other activities;
  • Town Center Merchants to convene periodic merchant meetings in the Commons, and to offer collaborative opportunities such as day sponsorships at the farmers market, participation in events such as the community Halloween party and the Ciscoe Morris broadcast at the Garden Tour.

Through the Lake Forest Park Farmers Market, we offer a food assistance program, and partner with the following agencies to distribute Market Bucks:

  • Hopelink
  • Center for Human Services
  • Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center

How can you support Third Place Commons?

We welcome your donation anytime of the year! You can click here to make a gift. We would love to see you at our annual breakfast and auction in April. How about buying a table and asking your colleagues and friends to join in the celebration? Watch our website for details.

Friends of Third Place Commons is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and donations are tax deductible. We are registered with the Washington State Charities Program as required by law.