For the Children
EBC was founded in 1990 because Karen Ridlon, a local pediatric nurse practitioner, became concerned about the large numbers of babies in her practice that began life without adequate food, clothing, beds or safety equipment. Her commitment to giving these children a stronger start grew from a idea and a few items gathered in her dining room, into an agency that in 2016 filled its 500,000th order of absolute essentials. For 50 weeks each year, volunteers and staff at Eastside Baby Corner collect community donations, purchase and distribute children’s and maternity items to families in collaboration with organizations helping families in our area. Case managers from partner agencies assess the needs of the family, request the items from EBC, pick up and deliver them to the family. Serving a broad area across King County that extends to the Cascade foothills and from south of Renton into south Snohomish County, EBC serves as a diaper bank, a clothing bank, and a food source for more than 800 kids each week. EBC leverages the impact of direct service providers by providing essential goods to the families they are helping. We practice good stewardship of resources through smart purchasing in bulk, reliance on volunteers and in-kind donations, including warehouse space donated by Rowley Properties. EBC is the major source of baby food, formula, diapers, cribs and car seats for eleven local food banks.
The EBC model is built upon strong relationships with our partners and our commitment to collaboration; it has been successfully replicated nationally by six organizations. Our work has been recognized with many awards, including the 2009 Bellevue Chamber of Commerce Eastside Business Award for Non-Profit Community Impact. The Bellevue Rotary Club honored EBC as the non-profit partner for its 2010 gala and auction in support of our Bridge to Sustainability initiative. EBC receives financial support from many of the cities served as well as from private foundations, individuals, businesses, faith-based organizations and civic groups. A team of community leaders joined with the Board to develop a vision and strategic plan to allow EBC to move from an all-volunteer organization to a more sustainable model, set in motion in 2008.We may never see the children who receive the goods we distribute but we know it makes them a little happier and a little more comfortable. Our goal is to be here for the parents trying hard to give their children a better life; for the social workers who wish they could provide more for their clients; and for the babies and children who need a full tummy, a warm coat and a safe ride home.
Meet Our Founder – Karen Ridlon
Twenty-five years ago, Karen Ridlon founded Eastside Baby Corner (EBC). A certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (University of California, San Francisco, 1972), Karen worked as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in California and Washington, working in well child care, newborn care and newborn ICU support for a number of medical groups and doctors. In 1990, Karen founded Eastside Baby Corner to fill an unmet need of parents of newborns who lacked basic supplies for their children.
She is Executive Director Emeritus and a lifetime member of the EBC Board of Directors. Karen has been recognized for her efforts with many volunteer awards, including receiving the Leadership Eastside LENi Community Choice Leadership Award in 2013, Distinguished Member Award for the Washington State Chapter of NAPNAP (National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners) in 2013, Issaquah Schools Foundation Golden Apple Award (2009) and chosen as a UCSF Distinguished Alumni. Karen was a key player in the development of the Issaquah Community Center and has been a tireless contributor to many volunteer efforts over the years, including scouting, the public schools, and her church. Karen is the mother of three children and a proud resident of Issaquah, where she lives with her husband.Meet Our Board of Directors and Leadership