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tim pham, phamily ties, KREM2 Spokane
via Tim Pham, used with permission

Tim Pham's massive tie collection.

There are few jobs that require people to be as nattily dressed as a TV news anchorperson. One has to look good for the camera while also projecting professionalism and credibility.

"It's part of our uniform," Tim Pham, the morning anchor on “Up with KREM” in Spokane, Washington, told USA Today. "It's required in TV, I guess. It's not written on paper, but when you turn on the news, the viewer expects to see someone who is dressed professionally."

Having to look good every day means you accumulate quite an impressive wardrobe. Pham had a large collection of 250 ties—many of them crammed beneath his work desk—so he decided to share them with any young, up-and-coming journalists who may need one.

He put the offer out to his followers on Twitter.


"8 yrs ago I opened up my first paycheck in TV for a whopping $600! I worked 3 jobs just to get by, let alone buy ties for work," the tweet said. "If you need a tie, DM me. All I ask is that you pay it forward one day."

Pham couldn’t believe the response.

"It did reach a lot of journalists," Pham told USA Today. "But I also heard from people in different industries, recent college grads, a lot of seniors in college. Nonprofits even reached out to me. There was a jail that reached out to me asking about filling their closet for people leaving the prison system to then go find a job for an interview.”

Overwhelmed by the number of requests, Pham had to figure out the logistics of sending out all of the ties and some businesses reached out to help. A laundry company said it would help wash the ties. A shipping company said it would send the ties free of charge and others reached out to donate their used ties to the cause.

Pham now calls his mini charitable organization “Phamily Ties.”

Pham told Upworthy that Phamily Ties has sent out around 100 ties and handed out more than a dozen locally in Spokane since his tweet. He hopes his tie giveaway encourages young journalists to “keep working hard” and to pursue their dreams.

“They shouldn’t be counted out from a job they are qualified for because they don’t have the means to buy a tie,” he told Upworthy. “I hope this initiative encourages others to pay it forward and help the next generation coming behind us. So many people invested in me, now it’s time to do it for someone else.”

He also believes that having the right tie can help young professionals get the confidence they need to succeed.

“A tie by itself is nothing impressive, it’s a piece of fabric stitched up,” he told Upworthy. “However, when worn, it adds more than style, it boosts confidence and shows others they are a professional. Everyone should be able to walk in this confidence and professionalism, yet the cost of ties is out of budget and not a priority for journalists who make pennies in their first job.”

As for now, Pham isn’t accepting donations but is getting his partners together for another tie drive in 2023.

“I am in the early stages of developing another giveaway next year with the help of sponsors and my company to help organize a campaign/event,” he told Upworthy.

People often deride Twitter as a place that fosters negativity and creates division in America. However, Pham’s experience is wonderful proof that there are still a lot of great people out there and that social media can bring them together to help those making their way in the world.

Way to pay it forward, Tim!

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

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