The Connect Lounge of Seattle is aptly named. “We are a small lounge built around the idea of human connection in real life,” says owner Lulia Bejan. “From our décor to our cocktails to our open floor plan, everything we do is about human connection. We even have ‘Phone Free Happy Hours’ which encourage people to get off their phone and interact in-person.”

Imagine however, how much a pandemic requiring human distance would affect such a business. “We obviously have been extremely affected by COVID,” says Behan. “We lost 70% of our business in 2020. It’s been really hard, but we have also adapted by hosting ‘virtual happy hours’ and partnered with other entrepreneurs to cultivate new ideas and new business opportunities.”

It’s been that spirit of new connections that led Bejan and the Connect Lounge to partner with Columbia Bank’s Pass It On Project. “We are providing meals and gift cards to several women’s shelters – Including Mary’s Place and New Beginnings,” she says. “Homeless women, especially those with children are some of the most vulnerable people in the world and if we can help them, we will have made the most impactful connection imaginable.” Connect Lounge is providing meals and gift cards to those in need and Columbia Bank is picking up the tab.