MSC Helps Luncheon

Save the Date for the 6th Annual MSC Helps Luncheon on October 17, 2019! Learn more about the work MSC does in the community, network with other community-focused individuals, and hear from our keynote speaker how community support helped her change her life path to one of success. Lunch is free; however, there is a suggested donation of $100. This is a fundraising event to support the work of MSC to provide help, hope, and change in our community.

MSC Helps Luncheon
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Emerald Downs

Honorary Chair: King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer

Help, Hope, Change Award: John Theisen, former CEO, Orion Industries
Please join us as we honor John Theisen, former CEO of Orion Industries, with our inaugural MSC Help, Hope, Change award in recognition of his contribution to our community. Orion is an award winning social enterprise with a mission of helping those with barriers to employment, such as learning disabilities, low income, and mental health barriers. John has been instrumental in building a partnership between Orion and MSC, with a shared goal of increasing self-sufficiency and creating pathways to help, hope and dignity for our neighbors.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Brenda Combs

Dr. Brenda Combs is a symbol of inspiration and perseverance to all who meet her. A little over a decade ago, she was a homeless crack addict, a petty criminal, a gaunt and hopeless wreck who had been shot and beaten and raped during the endless years she called “a freeway underpass in the worst part of Phoenix” home. It took hitting rock bottom for Dr. Combs to find the strength to turn her life around on a blistering summer day.

Dr. Combs now spreads a message of hope wherever she goes. Her journey has not been an easy one, however. Growing up in a middle-class family in Northern Arizona, she fell into a bad crowd, began using drugs, and dropped out of school. Her life continued on a downward spiral, leading to her serving jail time and becoming homeless. During her darkest days on the streets, she endured unspeakable trauma, including being beaten, shot, and raped. Her journey, which has been called “From Homeless to Hero” by local media, has received tremendous national coverage, including an article in Reader’s Digest and interviews on The Today Show and CNN News. She has also appeared on radio talk shows across the country and been invited to sing and share her message at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

“If I can do it, anybody can do it,” she says. “I believe in myself and my ability to do my best. I’m intelligent and I’m capable of achieving greatness. I think every person has inside of them what it takes to succeed. The day I woke up on the streets and someone had stolen the shoes off my feet was the day I knew I had to change my life. I knew God had a better plan for my life than this.”

Dr. Combs began taking major steps to reenter society as a productive individual. She entered rehab and worked hard to overcome her addictions. While living in low income  housing, she took a part-time job at a school located in an at-risk neighborhood not far from the streets that had been her “home.” As she worked with these children, she knew she had found her life’s calling: to teach and to inspire by sharing her own story of overcoming tremendous obstacles.

Once she set her sights on becoming a teacher, there was no stopping her. As a single mother of a young son who suffered a stroke at birth, she juggled three jobs while earning a bachelor’s degree in human services. She taught at a school for children with special needs and continued to pursue her education at Grand Canyon University, where she earned a master’s degree in special education in 2007. She has since received a doctorate in organizational leadership with an emphasis in education under a scholarship presented to her by Grand Canyon University, becoming one of their first doctoral students. She travels around the country sharing her story as the university’s “ambassador of inspiration & achievement” with a variety of audiences, including youth groups, churches, and professional organizations.

A victim of domestic violence in the past, Dr. Brenda Combs now serves as an advocate for domestic violence awareness. She also lobbies for the rights of the homeless community and, in 2009, was named a national ambassador for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s “Power to End Stroke” campaign. Recently, she was selected by the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury as an “Arizona woman of inspiration” for the second year in a row.


2019 Presenting Sponsor

 2019 Signature Sponsor

 2019 Lead Sponsors


2019 Associate Sponsors

Allied Residential
Banner Bank
David and Donna Berger
Eagle Tire and Automotive
Federal Way Mirror
HomeStreet Bank
Jacobson Jarvis & Co.
Kiwanis Club of Federal Way
Laurus Financial Group
Molina Healthcare
Rotary Club of Auburn
Rotary Club of Federal Way
Sound Transit
King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer

Become a Pacesetter
A Pacesetter gift is a $250 and higher leadership gift given prior to the event. Pacesetters are recognized for their contributions on the day of the event in the printed program and from the podium. Email [email protected] for more info.

Past MSC Helps Luncheon videos: