United Way thanks Snohomish County for “Stepping Up” during 2011 Community Caring Campaign

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Charles Elder (right) of Edmonds and Barbara Parkhurst accepted the award for Best New Campaign on behalf of Monroe-based Damar AeroSystems. Elder is Damar's general manager.

More than 400 representatives of Snohomish County companies, nonprofits, school districts and government agencies earlier this week celebrated the close of the 2011 Community Caring Campaign, benefiting United Way of Snohomish County.

The event celebrated the third year in a row where revenues held steady despite difficult economic times. This included contributions to the various United Way campaigns, the Combined Federal Campaign and the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound.

“With this economic downturn, some nonprofits have had to close their doors,” said Dr. Dennis Smith, the organization’s president and CEO. “Fundraising became more difficult. Across the country, at other United Ways, revenues went down. But here, at our United Way, we’ve held steady. The community definitely stepped up to meet this challenge.”

Although United Way is also raising money through for its endowment, is actively seeking grants and works with policymakers to leverage state and federal dollars, the annual campaign through various worksites continues to be the group’s primary source of revenue. Final numbers for the year will be reported in July.

“The money we raise, particularly the contributions that go to our Local Community Fund, go to ensuring that kids are ready to learn, that families have financial stability and our community as a whole is healthy,” said Sue Ambler, CEO of the Workforce Development Council of Snohomish County and chair of the 2011 Campaign.

In addition to several of its own initiatives, United Way supports 102 programs through 39 local nonprofits touching the lives of 330,000 people each year.

The most prestigious award of the evening, the President’s Award, went to Jamco America, Inc. In addition to increasing their fundraising in 2011, they were honored for converting their corporate frequent flyer miles into dollars and working with American Express to donate that money to United Way.

The Executives of the Year were Gubby Barlow of Mountlake Terrace-based Premera Blue Cross and Ed Rubatino of Rubatino Refuse Removal, an Everett-based, family-owned company. Rubatino won the award in part because he personally conducts meetings to talk about the investments United Way is making in the community and the fact that he matches employee contributions to dollar for dollar. Barlow, a former United Way campaign chair, is an active and visible supporter throughout the year. Premera runs their campaign in May, setting an example for the rest of the community. One of the reasons Barlow was recognized is that Premera allows its pays its employees while they do volunteer work.

The largest contributions came from The Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound ($1.8 million) and The Boeing Company ($800,000) – co-winners of the Premier Partner Award.

With the close of the 2011 campaign year, the community thanked Sue Ambler for her leadership of the campaign with a standing ovation. The evening ended when Joyce Eleanor, CEO of Community Transit, was introduced as the 2012 Campaign Chair. After three years of holding steady, her goal is to help the organization start three years of growth. “The needs of our community are growing. We need to start increasing revenues so we can respond to both the short-term immediate needs and the long-term systemic needs of our community.”

Event sponsors included The Boeing Company; Union Bank; AT&T; The Everett Clinic; Jamco America, Inc.; Providence Regional Medical Center Everett; Swedish/Edmonds; Fluke Corporation; Puget Sound Energy; The Herald and Stadium Flowers.

Here is a full list of award winners:

President’s Award
Jamco America, Inc.

Executive of the Year Award
Gubby Barlow, Premera Blue Cross
Ed Rubatino, Rubatino Refuse Removal

Premier Partner Award
The Boeing Company
Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound

Employee Campaign Manager of the Year Award
Nancy Abell, City of Marysville
Theresa Peloso, Premera Blue Cross
Lindsay Crow and Jane Hoagland, Rodland Toyota/Scion

Positive Change Award
Snohomish County Employees Charitable Campaign

Local Community Hero Award
Agilent Technologies
CMC Biologics
Electroimpact, Inc.

Labor Partnership Award
Josh Estes, Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers Local 183

Loyal Contributor Award
Providence Regional Medical Center Everett

Best New Campaign
Damar AeroSystems

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