Queen Anne & Magnolia News File photo: Residents take advantage of benches, umbrellas, tables, chairs and other amenities installed in Magnolia Village to make the business district more inviting in this file photo from last summer. The Reimagine Magnolia Village beautification committee launched the Magnolia Village Love Match fundraising campaign this month after a resident,  who wished to remain anonymous, offered a donation of $25,000 to go toward the next phases of the beautification project provided residents would match the amount.
Queen Anne & Magnolia News File photo: Residents take advantage of benches, umbrellas, tables, chairs and other amenities installed in Magnolia Village to make the business district more inviting in this file photo from last summer. The Reimagine Magnolia Village beautification committee launched the Magnolia Village Love Match fundraising campaign this month after a resident, who wished to remain anonymous, offered a donation of $25,000 to go toward the next phases of the beautification project provided residents would match the amount.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Magnolia residents can celebrate their love of the community and work toward a common goal by donating to a special fundraising campaign.

The Magnolia Village Love Match campaign stemmed from an anonymous donor’s offer to contribute $25,000 to the Reimagine Magnolia Village beautification project — provided community members match the amount by the end of the month.  The fundraising effort will close Feb. 28.

Magnolia Beautification Committee chair Cheryl McQuiston said the man, a lifelong Magnolia resident, approached her with his offer earlier this month with the idea the money would go further if it became a community effort/

“He really wanted this to become more than his $25,000 in a very short amount of time,” McQuiston said. “It’s heartwarming and humbling, at the same time.”

She said the man was inspired to make his donation after seeing what was accomplished with the money raised during Phase 1 of the Reimagine Magnolia Village beautification project, which aims to create an inviting and attractive business core to residents and visitors by making improvements to the streetscape.

Phase 1 featured durable, weather-resistant tables and chairs, umbrellas, newly painted benches, poles to hold flowering baskets and bistro lighting all installed along the business corridor along West McGraw Street between 32nd and 33rd avenues west.

The last of the Phase 1 streetscape improvements were installed just in time for summer of 2020. Residents, tired of being cooped up inside from coronavirus pandemic restrictions, flocked to Magnolia Village to enjoy the sidewalk seating and attractive adornments, while business owners rejoiced at the renewed energy in traffic in the village.

“I’ve had business owners say to me, because of the improvements, their businesses are doing better than expected during COVID,” McQuiston said.

Magnolia Beautification Committee member Ann Goos said, while donations to the Reimagine Magnolia Village effort have not slowed, the generosity of the anonymous donor and the Magnolia Village Love Match fundraiser will give the effort a “real shot in the arm.”

“It’s an amazing thing to see people invest in our local community in this way,” she said.

A possible infusion of $50,000 from the Magnolia Village Love Match campaign would go a long way to help the beautification committee reach its $355,000 goal to complete phases 2 and 3 of the beautification project, which would expand streetscape improvements to McGraw Street West between 33rd and 35th avenues west.

McQuiston said the beautification committee has raised $116,000 for the next round of improvements already, and $166,000 by the end of the month would ensure phases 2 and 3 stayed on schedule.

If all goes well, McQuiston said residents and businesses owners could be enjoying the newest streetscape additions by late spring/early summer.

“The business owners in those other two blocks, they are so excited because they have never felt part of the village,” McQuiston said.

Once phases 2 and 3 are complete, the Magnolia Beautification committee will turn its attention to phases 4 and 5 of the streetscape project, which will include improvements to 32nd and 33rd avenues west, from West Smith to West Lynn.

As an added incentive to donate to the Magnolia Village Love Match and future streetscape fundraising efforts, all contributions are tax deductible through Magnolia Better Together, the fundraising nonprofit branch of the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce, which achieved 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in November.

To donate to the Magnolia Village Love Match, people can go to https://magnoliabeautification.com and click the “Donate Today” button and fill out the secure donation form. To donate by mail, residents should make checks payable to Magnolia Better Together (MBT), 3213 W. Wheeler No. 51, Seattle, WA 98199.

For more information about the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce, or the Reimagine Magnolia Village beautification project, go to www.discovermagnolia.org or www.discovermagnolia.org/mbc.