Local celebs host party with a purpose
Kickoff party for Zoodango, benefiting United Way, will feature Seattle celebrities like Jason Mesnick of "The Bachelor"; Miss Washington Tara Turnure; football player Lawyer Milloy; "Apprentice" finalist James Sun; CEO of the Seattle Seahawks, Tod Leiweke; lawyer Alex Thomason, who was also on "The Apprentice"; and the Seattle SeaGals.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Zoodango Launch Party6:30-10:30 tonight, Ibiza Dinner Club, 528 Second Ave., Seattle; $35 (www.zoodango.com).
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Seattle celebrities are assembling for a party — and you're invited.
Attend and you can expect the VIP treatment, complete with a red carpet and surrounded by local stars like Jason Mesnick of "The Bachelor," Miss Washington Tara Turnure, and Atlanta Falcons safety (and former Tacoma and University of Washington football player) Lawyer Milloy.
The whole thing is in the name of kicking off Zoodango, a new company founded by James Sun, who is himself part of the Seattle Who's Who (Sun was a runner-up on "The Apprentice," mogul Donald Trump's reality show).
Tonight's event benefits the United Way's Emergency Response for Basic Needs, a nonprofit charity that supports housing stability, food banks and food distribution.
"Our purpose is to get younger people, 25-40s, people involved in volunteering in a cool and hip way," said Sun, "Apprentice" finalist from 2007. "We're trying to create a new element of combining celebrities, media companies and community involvement."
To encourage that, the auction items up for bid are slots of time with the local celebs connected to the event: The stars will donate time with the highest bidder at a volunteer activity. For example, you can pass out bagged lunches to the homeless with Miss Washington Turnure.
"I want to lead by example," said the 22-year-old Turnure, Miss Washington USA 2009. "One way of doing that is being dedicated to community service."
Milloy sees the party as a way for him to kick off his own philanthropy. The Tacoma native has a Cinderella story — after struggling with drugs and living on the streets, Milloy was adopted as a foster child by his best friend's family, and eventually guided along to the University of Washington to play football.
"I think it's almost like a cliché that athletes are role models and should give back," said Milloy, who is looking to a post-athlete life these days. "I'm one or two years removed from retiring, and I'm just thinking about life after football. Part of that is giving back to the community that made me into the player I am, and that enabled me to have the type of living that I have."
Other party guests include CEO of the Seattle Seahawks, Tod Leiweke; lawyer Alex Thomason, another contestant from "The Apprentice'; and the Seattle Seagals.
Sun — whose Zoodango company is a search engine that allows the user to browse a map for services in a certain locale, such as restaurants and entertainment — said he hopes the party will raise awareness.
"In today's economic turmoil, we're trying to create a model of giving back to the community even as a startup company," said Sun. "I believe if every small, medium, or startup company did this, it would completely change the landscape of companies leading the way in community involvement."
Marian Liu: 206-464-3825 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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