People helping people: BECU awards $515,000 to member-nominated nonprofits

SEATTLE, WA (December 21, 2018) — After reviewing more than 600 nominations from its members, BECU announced the recipients of its 2018 People Helping People Awards, recognizing 18 local nonprofit organizations and BECU members dedicated to serving their communities. The finalists, including Rain City Rock Camp for Girls, Reading Partners, Brigadoon Service Dogs and White Center Food Bank, received awards ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 across five categories: Member Volunteer of the Year, People’s Choice, Employee’s Choice, Past People Helping People Recipient’s Choice and Community Benefit.

Since 2013, BECU has donated nearly $1.5 million to local organizations through the program.

“It is truly inspiring to see how nonprofits are making a positive difference in their local communities,” said Tom Berquist, BECU’s senior vice president of Marketing and Cooperative Affairs. “As a not-for-profit credit union, supporting the organizations our members care about isn’t just part of who we are, it is in our DNA. We created the People Helping People Awards as a way to honor those who are making a difference.”

BECU members nominated their favorite nonprofits across the state of Washington, including the Puget Sound region and Spokane, as well as in Charleston, South Carolina. The recognized organizations are devoted to tackling important issues like homelessness, hunger, education and healthcare.

For the second year, the People Helping People Awards program grew even bigger thanks to BECU’s “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 purchase made using a BECU Debit Mastercard® or BECU Visa credit card® in August and September this year. Upon completion, the credit union successfully reached its goal of raising $515,000.

BECU’s 2018 People Helping People Award recipients include:

  • Member Volunteer of the Year ($50,000): Rain City Rock Camp for Girls empowers girls, women and gender non-conforming individuals to engage their creative potential through music, champion equity, and thrive in a community of allies and activists.
  • People’s Choice ($40,000): Reading Partners was selected by popular vote amongst members on The organization partners with under-resourced schools and engages volunteer reading partners to work one-on-one with students who struggle with reading.
  • Employees’ Choice Winner ($30,000): Brigadoon Service Dogs was selected by popular vote amongst BECU employees. The nonprofit provides service dogs for veterans, other adults and children with physical, developmental and behavioral health disabilities to promote a more independent and enriched life.
  • Past Recipients’ Choice Winner ($30,000): White Center Food Bank was selected by popular vote amongst past People Helping People award recipients. The organization is committed to minimizing hunger while nourishing community, nurturing self-reliance and embracing its rich cultural diversity in the White Center and Highline neighborhoods.
  • Community Benefit Winners ($15,000):

o   Arlington Kids Kloset (

o   Beyond Pink Spokane (

o   Capitol Hill Housing (

o   Cares of Washington (

o   The Dance School (

o   The Good Foot Arts Collective (

o   Mini Mart City Park (

o   Northwest Harvest (

o   Pike Market Senior Center & Food Bank (

o   Seattle Repertory Theatre (

o   Snoqualmie Valley Community Network (

o   Shared Breakfast (

o   Victim Support Services (

o   Viva Farms (


In addition to awards for the 2018 finalists, BECU cultivates a community among their past recipients by offering glide path funding, and introducing a new collaboration grant to the People Helping People Award program in 2018.

About BECU

With more than 1.4 million members and $28.8 billion in assets, BECU is the largest not-for-profit credit union in Washington and one of the top four financial cooperatives in the country. As a member-owned credit union, BECU is focused on helping increase the financial well-being of its members and communities through great rates, few fees, community partnerships and financial education. The credit union currently operates 60 financial centers, including two in South Carolina. For more information, visit


Bethany Hawley

Natalie Hobbs

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