Committed to giving back to the community
Bonnie’s lifelong love of animals started when her dad brought home a stray springer spaniel when she was seven.
“My mother gave him all kinds of fits over bringing this dog home, but it got worse because during the night, unbeknownst to us, she gave birth to six puppies!” Bonnie laughs.
She’s also always had a knack for helping organizations. Her first fundraising project was for Boy Scouts in Portland and since then, she’s never stopped.
“I like that it gets me involved in a lot of different causes. It’s so heartwarming to know you’ve really made a difference.”
While Bonnie knew about Seattle Humane, she did not become connected to the organization until her friend of 30 years, Patty Barrier, reached out in 2015 to see if she would be interested in helping Seattle Humane with its Capital Campaign, which was to raise funds for a much-needed new facility. From her first official tour of the old building, Bonnie felt an instant connection to the organization— as well as to a dog named Odin.
“I wanted that dog so badly. I took my husband out to dinner, and said, ‘Can I please take Odin home?’” Eventually, with Bonnie’s persistence and passion, Odin became a permanent member of the Towne family.
Once Bonnie became involved with Seattle Humane, she hit the ground running.
“Not only was I helping with the campaign, but I had agreed to chair the Tuxes & Tails Gala,” says Bonnie. That year, Seattle Humane raised $5.5 million in one night, the most ever raised at the event. “It was a very special night. Odin and I were on stage together. I was in the middle of telling everyone how excited we were to be there when Odin plopped himself down and could not have looked less excited.”
When asked about what makes Seattle Humane a cause she feels so connected to, Bonnie speaks to the organization’s long history of helping the community.
“The number of years Seattle Humane has served the community and the number of animals we have saved and continue to save, I just think that’s incredibly important and special.”
Born and raised in Portland, Bonnie and her husband Jim have known each other since they were 15 and have been married 51 years. Throughout that time, they have had 29 dogs, including three Seattle Humane alums: Odin, Sinder and her current 8-month-old puppy Mandi. “Our dogs have always come to us or we’ve gone to Seattle Humane and picked them out.” Reflecting on her pets, Bonnie’s eyes turn misty when the topic of Sinder comes up. “Sinder and I were closer than any human and dog could or should be.”
Outside of her work with Seattle Humane, Bonnie was also the 5th Avenue Theater’s Chair of the Board for three years spanning through the thick of the pandemic. She’s also a passionate supporter of the Seattle Police Department’s K9 Unit.
“Those dogs are very special and deserve everything we can give them.”
Looking to what’s next, Bonnie is excited by what she sees in the Seattle Humane Storyline and its commitment to breaking down barriers and creating more access for healthy pets to find and stay in loving homes. She is especially passionate about its pillar connected to advocating for pets and their people.
“There’s so much more to animal welfare than just adoptions. I would like to see more laws passed about the treatment of pets, so that all animals receive humane treatment. They can’t speak for themselves and they need somebody to speak for them — if we don’t do it, who will?”
Once again, Bonnie is the Chair for the upcoming 125th Anniversary Tuxes & Tails Gala on May 7, 2022 where the Fund-a-Need is all about building a world where everyone can enjoy the unconditional love of a pet, and in turn pets receive lifelong care and support, even if they never come through the shelter. Bonnie’s invaluable expertise will play a major role in ensuring this year’s event is a resounding success.
“I think the 125th event will highlight the number of animals we have saved and how many more out there we can do the same thing for. I think it’s really important to get that message out.”