Submitted by BECU

Recently, BECU announced the recipients of its 2019 People Helping People Awards program, recognizing both BECU members and nonprofits that are dedicated to serving their communities. At the ceremony, 18 local organizations, including Raising Girls, Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest, Harbor WildWatch and Freedom Education Project Puget Sound, received awards ranging from $19,400 to $54,400 across five categories: Member Volunteer of the Year, People’s Choice, Employee’s Choice, Past People Helping People Recipient’s Choice and Community Benefit.

“Year after year, BECU is honored to recognize inspiring organizations that are making a positive impact in our communities and moving the needle on the issues our members care about,” said Tom Berquist, BECU’s chief marketing officer. “When it comes to giving back, any action big or small can make a difference, and our People Helping People Awards celebrates that notion.”

This year, more than 800 BECU members nominated their favorite nonprofits serving the Puget Sound region and Spokane, as well as Charleston, South Carolina. The honored organizations tackle a broad range of important issues such as health and wellness, education, arts and culture and environmental welfare.

Since 2013, BECU has donated more than $1.8 million to local charities through the program.

Funding for the People Helping People Awards is made possible by BECU’s annual “Make A Purchase. Make A Difference.” campaign. During the two-month initiative, BECU donated one cent toward the People Helping People Awards program for every qualified purchase transaction made using a BECU Debit Mastercard® or BECU Visa credit card®. Upon completion, the credit union successfully surpassed its original goal of $515,000 by raising $594,000, resulting in increased funding of $4,400 for each 2019 recipient. 

BECU People Helping People Awards
Photo credit: Kelly Robbins

BECU’s 2019 People Helping People Award recipients include:

  • Member Volunteer of the Year ($54,400):  Sharon Chambers-Gordon was selected as Member Volunteer of the Year for her volunteerism with Raising Girls. Raising Girls’ mission is to provide South Sound girls with care bags of personal items. The nonprofit aims to help ensure all girls feel pride in who they are, to be unique and to understand the power they have to be individuals who can make a difference.
  • People’s Choice ($44,400): Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest (AIDNW) was selected by popular vote from the community. This organization’s mission is to provide emotional support to immigrants in detention and, when they are released, to warmly welcome them and provide transitional support.
  • Employees’ Choice Winner ($34,400): Harbor WildWatch was selected by popular vote amongst BECU employees. The nonprofit inspires stewardship of the Puget Sound and greater Salish Sea by providing equitable learning opportunities about the environment to our local community and beyond.
  • Past Recipients’ Choice Winner ($34,400): Freedom Education Project Puget Sound was selected by popular vote amongst past People Helping People Award recipients. The organization provides a rigorous college program for incarcerated women, trans-identified and gender non-conforming people in Washington and creates pathways to higher education after students are released from prison.

Community Benefit Winners ($19,400):

In addition, all 2019 People Helping People Award recipients will receive a grant of $2,500 for the two years following their initial award.