How Pass The Hat Works2021-01-11T16:15:57-08:00

Give so much with so little.


Imagine a frantic, late-night call. A mother answers the phone to learn that her two sons have been in a horrific car accident. Her younger son is in the hospital with moderate injuries, but her oldest, her 20-year-old son, has been killed. Devastated, she learns that the motorist responsible fled the scene. There is no under-insured motorist insurance, and there are bills. Lots and lots of bills. And no one is there to help

Enter Pass The Hat

We help Whatcom County families by providing financial relief from tragic events. Tragedy brings more than just grief and loss; it also brings hospital bills, ambulance bills, funeral expenses and more. It’s too much to bear for families already facing heartbreaking situations.

How it works is simple: You sign up to give $2 a month, every month. That’s it. Meanwhile, thousands of fellow community members do the same, and your small $2 contribution becomes enormously powerful, helping local families.

We don’t rely on fundraisers, auctions or large donations. We rely on many people giving just a little. We provide a way for every person to make an impact, even if they have hardly anything to give. It’s simple, 100% local and incredibly powerful.

Slipping through the cracks…

When tragedy strikes, sometimes our community attempts to rally around a family and provide relief by creating a fund at a local bank or trying to organize events to raise money. For every scenario like that, there are many that receive no public attention ― where families face heartbreaking tragedies and slip through the cracks without help.

We want to put an end to that. And we can.

We’re changing the game

When most of us hear about tragic events in our community, we want to help. The problem is we often don’t know how or have much to give. Until now.

It’s only $2. For the cost of a pack of gum, you can experience the incredible feeling of true philanthropy. You don’t have to be rich, that’s the beauty of it. Our power is in our numbers. Every person counts, and the more people we have, the more impact your $2 makes.

Our mission at Pass The Hat is twofold: First, we help families. Second, we inspire people and allow them to become philanthropists by making it easy and affordable for everyone. That means you.

Join us. Let’s lift these families up. Let’s make a difference. Let’s Pass The Hat.

We are partnered with other local agencies like the American Red Cross, Mt Baker Chapter, police departments and others to identify and provide assistance where there is the greatest need. Meet our team and see the list of respected community leaders who are involved with Pass The Hat and who are responsible for distributing our funds.

What qualifies as “tragedy” or “disaster”?2020-10-09T11:32:42-07:00

We define a tragic event as an event that causes a sudden and unexpected loss of life or that has significant life-changing impact on an individual or family, such as a house fire, paralysis, etc.

Do my contributions stay local?2020-10-09T11:32:42-07:00

Yes, 100% stays right here in Whatcom County helping local families.

What percentage of my $2 goes to operating expenses as opposed to the cause?2020-10-09T11:32:42-07:00

Our operating expenses are actually very low. We are a 100% volunteer-run organization. Gravity Payments, and Heritage Bank have generously partnered with us to significantly lower our banking and credit card fees. We also have no physical store front to pay rent for. Thanks to a few generous corporate sponsors, 100% of your contribution goes directly to the cause. It’s very important to us to keep our expenses low and to put every single dime to the best use possible.

As a contributor, do I get input into where the money goes?2020-10-09T11:32:42-07:00

We have a very qualified and diverse Appropriations Committee that determines the greatest need in our community and distributes your contributions where they’re needed most. Click here to see who’s on our committee.

How is the money I donate distributed to the victims of tragedy?2020-10-09T11:32:42-07:00

The money will be used to pay directly for services and expenses created by the event. This may include funeral services, emergency medical expenses, counseling, etc. To ensure their proper use, funds are paid directly to the service providers rather than to individuals.

Are you a 501(c)(3) ?2020-10-09T11:32:42-07:00

Yes, We are a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For further questions about tax deductions, please consult an tax accountant.

Is my debit/credit card information safe?2020-10-09T11:32:42-07:00

Absolutely. All transactions are processed and held through Heritage Bank using Gravity Payments Merchant Services. Your card information will never be accessible to Pass The Hat or even stored in our systems. It’s as safe and secure as banking online. We have a fully secured https site and are fully PCI compliant. Even if our site were to be compromised, your info is completely safe.

How else can I help?2020-10-09T11:32:42-07:00
  1. Share the idea with your friends and family. Once you’ve done that, do it again. The more we have on board, the more impact your $2 makes.
  2. Your workplace can also partner with us (see next question).
Can my business be involved?2020-10-09T11:32:42-07:00

Yes! Companies and organizations can partner with Pass The Hat through our Employee Matching Program. Partnering businesses contribute an amount equal to what their employees contribute. See our partnering businesses on our Partners page.

I don’t live in Whatcom County, can I still contribute?2020-10-09T11:32:42-07:00

Yes, there is no restriction by geography. All money contributed will stay in Whatcom County, though.

I am the victim of a tragedy, how do I apply for relief?2020-10-09T11:32:42-07:00

Most of our referrals come directly from local law enforcement and community crisis organizations who we have built relationships with. However, from time-to-time, we do fund cases that have been brought to our attention by community members. Those cases should only involve victims and families who would otherwise fall through the cracks. Before contacting us about these cases, please confirm that relief funding will not (now or in the future) come from insurance settlements, GoFundMe, victim’s religious community or other charitable resources.

How much money do the tragedy victims receive?2020-10-09T11:32:42-07:00

The amounts can vary based on the needs of any given situation, but the amount always will have a meaningful effect. The more people we have signed up, the more powerful impact we will make in our community.

What if I want to cancel my monthly contribution?2020-10-09T16:06:04-07:00

No problem. Under the DONATE TODAY button on our menu you’ll find a Manage Your Subscription option where you can cancel all future withdrawals. If you have trouble with that method, or if your subscription isn’t available through that option, please send an email to requesting to cancel your contribution and we will immediately honor your request.

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer refunds of any kind, but you are welcome to cancel at any time.

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