BECU People Helping People Recipients Announced

Posted in Community News on Aug. 29, 2013

BECU has always been committed to our communities. For over 75 years we have been giving back through time and dollars to local organizations to help those that live in the Puget Sound area, with four focal giving areas: Financial Literacy, Affordable Housing, Environmental Sustainability and Education.  And each year, we grant $300,000 through our School Grants programBECU Foundation Scholarship Program and Housing Grants. This year, our Cooperative Affairs team set out to recognize non-profits that our members are passionate about but that we aren’t supporting through our existing giving programs. Thus the People Helping People Awards were born.

We asked members to nominate non-profits that they have supported with either time or money in the last 12 months. We were overwhelmed with the response we received. Over 1,000 nominations came in for all sorts of non-profits representing a host of different areas and categories. It solidifies for us that our members are truly living out the credit union philosophy of People Helping People.

Each non-profit that was nominated is doing great things in our community. We have created a list of all that received a nomination. Please take a moment to look it over. Perhaps you will learn about a new organization or see that your fellow members are supporting the same organizations as you.

The number of nominations far exceeded the funding we had available, so we spent many days and hours carefully reviewing each one.  Each nomination was read and reviewed by no fewer than three BECU judges. We would like to commend each member nominator for the support they have showed these non-profits, and encourage you to continue giving back – we plan to do the same.

This was the inaugural year of the People Helping People Awards, and the process has provided many lessons on how we can improve for next year. And we would love your feedback.  If you nominated a non-profit this year and have a few moments, please take our survey at; your comments are appreciated.

We are pleased to announce our recipients of the 2013 BECU People Helping People Awards:

$10,000 Community Benefit Award recipients (in alphabetical order):

Sibling House
Nominated by Lori Church

Sibling house was founded by Michael & Lynne Gaskill in 1997 in Kirkland, Washington. They believe foster families are stronger when siblings are placed together. They provide new and gently used donations of clothing, diapers, toys, food and supplies—free of charge—to foster homes that accept siblings. These kids are often dropped off at foster homes with literally the clothes on their backs—often in the middle of the night. Sibling House helps reduce the stress for these kids and their foster families by providing the supplies that they desperately need.

Friends of the Children King County
Nominated by Jennifer Travis           

Friends of the Children King County chapter started in 2000 and is the only mentoring organization in the nation that pairs children from distressed neighborhoods with paid, full-time professional mentors for 12 years. They select high-risk children from kindergarten or first grade, pair them with mentors, and put them on a path to becoming contributing members of society. Each mentor spends at least four hours a week with his/her assigned child, every week until they graduate from High School.

StandUp For Kids Seattle
Nominated by Nancy LaJambe         

Stand Up for kids Seattle exists to end the cycle of youth homelessness. The Seattle chapter was re-established in 2008 and is made up of 100% volunteers who devote their personal time to create a brighter future for vulnerable kids and a help make communities healthier and safer. Their Thursday night teams connect with homeless and at-risk youth to let them know that there are people who are concerned about their well-being and are there to help.This critical bonding is the first step towards helping these kids get off the streets and live a better life.

Outdoors for All
Nominated by Mark Illing  

Outdoors for All began in 1978 with fifteen children with disabilities learning to downhill ski Snoqualmie Summit. They provide opportunities for people with disabilities to get out and experience activities that many of us take for granted, like hiking, biking, climbing, and skiing. They provide the volunteers, equipment and venues needed for participants to overcome their disabilities and accomplish things they could not have imagined. The independence learned through these activities extends into their everyday lives and helps them successfully overcome obstacles.

King County Explorer Search and Rescue
Nominated by Katie McGee              

Members of the King Count Explorer Search and Rescue team are ordinary people with an extraordinary willingness to get up in the middle of the night—rain or shine—to search for lost climbers or an elderly person who has walked away from a nursing home. The 100% volunteer organization was founded in 1954 as the first youth based search and rescue team in the nation. They respond to over 60 missions a year in both King County and around the state of Washington.

Magnuson Community Garden
Nominated by Kathy Dugaw

The Magnuson community garden, established in 2001, was designed to provide support programs for seniors, transitional housing residents, youth, people with special needs, and neighborhood P-Patch gardeners.  Its purpose is to encourage people to enjoy the environment and learn about sustainable practices. It promotes beauty, neighborliness, living and stewardship of the natural resources of the Sand Point Peninsula.  This year alone, their P-Patch garden has contributed over 2,300 pounds of fresh produce to the less fortunate in the area.

The Goodtimes Project
Nominated by Anne Scurlock           

The Goodtime Project was created to keep the magic of 30 years of Camp Goodtimes West alive for Pacific Northwest kids with cancer, creating their own non-profit in 2013 to ensure that camp would continue in 2014. For a week each summer, an all-volunteer staff helps over 225 kids and their siblings cope with cancer by having fun in a safe environment with others in similar life-threatening situations. The care extends beyond camp to create a support community of friends. If kids are in the hospital, The Goodtimes Project volunteers rally to pay visits, send cards, or throw parties to create joy for these young people with cancer.

National Federation of the Blind of Washington
Nominated by Marci Carpenter        

The NFB of Washington has been the voice of Washington’s blind community since the 1920’s. Their mission is to achieve widespread emotional acceptance and intellectual understanding that the real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight but the misconceptions and lack of information which exist. They do this by bringing blind people together to share successes, to support each other in times of failure, and to create imaginative solutions. They put on science camps for blind children, serve as mentors for blind youth and their parents, help blind adults explore job opportunities, do public speaking about the capabilities of blind people, and provide information and support to newly blinded adults and seniors who are losing their vision.


$5,000 People’s Choice Award (voted by the community)

The Goodtimes Project      

$15,000 Member Volunteer of the Year

Real Escape from the Sex Trade
Bridget Battistoni

REST was founded in 2009 by a group of men and women who wanted to take action against the commercial sexual exploitation of girls and young women in Seattle, WA. They work to provide a path to freedom, safety and hope for victims of sex trafficking and people involved in the sex trade.  They offer safe and supportive short- and long-term housing, free of charge, so victims of sex trade can rebuild their lives through the education, employment and healthy mentor relationships. REST helps with case management and provides support as long as is needed to provide a real escape for these vulnerable women.   Bridget has worked 60-70 hours per week unpaid over the past 2.5 years as the director of operations to allow continued growth and expansion of REST, and only recently has begun to draw a salary.


View PDF of BECU People Helping People Recipients.


  1. Ruth Chaffee

    Where is the link for the 2014 nominations?

    1. admin

      Hi Ruth, the nomination process kicks off on May 1. Check back at on May 1.

  2. Where do I find the application for the 2015 nominees?

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