Since 1951, Boeing employees have contributed more than $600 million to Washington nonprofits through the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound, one of the largest employee-owned and managed charitable funds in the world.
In 2015, the fund implemented new guidelines to focus on making larger, more impactful grants for capital campaigns and major renovations, explained Colette J. Ogle, ECF Puget Sound program officer.
"We are in a unique position because ECF is one of the major funders who still make grants for capital items and equipment," she said.
The fund distributed more than $8 million through 99 grants to 86 health and human service nonprofits in the region last year, including food banks, mental health counseling, youth programs, job-training programs, senior centers, domestic violence shelters and low-income dental clinics. Major grants included:
- More than $5 million to 10 United Ways to distribute to nonprofits for services that address issues such as homelessness, family stability, early learning and youth programs. "The United Ways are knowledgable of the needs and trends in their local communities," Ogle explained. "Therefore, ECF effectively partners with each United Way — ensuring that they reach the clients in need through the best available programs."
- $500,000 to El Centro de la Raza for construction and build-out of their unique multi-use campus to include 112 units of affordable housing, a commercial kitchen to support start-up micro-food business and expansion of the childcare development center. Over 18,000 clients will be served by this expansion.
- $500,000 to FareStart covers the entire costs of construction and all the furnishings and equipment for their expanded Youth Barista Training Program for homeless youth. The build-out will double in size from 72 youth served annually to 144.
- $250,000 funded to Food Lifeline toward construction of their new Hunger Solutions Center warehouse. The facility will encompass two buildings with warehouses and cold storage, administrative offices, conference rooms and demonstration kitchen space.
- $215,000 funded to Plymouth Housing Group to completely equip 63 units with furniture and kitchen appliances, as well as equip the computer lab; community rooms and kitchen; building security, and staff/counseling offices at their newest low-income housing facility, Sylvia’s Place.
The Boeing Company covers all administrative costs of ECF in the Puget Sound and other regions, allowing 100% of the employees' combined donations to support the communities where Boeing employees live and work. More than 15,000 employees contributed to ECF Puget Sound in 2015, Ogle confirmed.
Under ECF Puget Sound's new grant guidelines, the fund's major grants, ranging from $125,000 to $500,000, are by invitation only. The fund's supporting grants, ranging from $10,000 to $40,000, are accepted during two open application periods.
"Our employees build the world’s best jets and systems — and our employees help build strong communities via ECF," she said. "In 2016, we will continue to make much-needed grants to our local nonprofit agencies so they can best serve those in need."
Nicole Neroulias Gupte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.