By Jim Davis <i>HBJ Editor</i>
EVERETT — Premera Blue Cross consistently runs one of the largest campaigns every year for United Way of Snohomish County.
For the efforts of the health insurer and its employees, Premera was honored with the President’s Award on Wednesday night at a dinner thanking United Way contributors.
Wes Pringle, the president of the Fluke Corp., and Bob Farrell, CEO of Community Health Center of Snohomish County, also were awarded as executives of the year.
About 500 people attended the dinner at Comcast Arena’s Edward D. Hansen Conference Center that celebrates the close of United Way’s 2013 Community Caring Campaign.
“It’s really remarkable to get out and see so many give so much to make Snohomish County a better place,” said Jon Nehring, the mayor of Marysville who chaired the 2013 campaign.
The Community Caring Campaign is United Way’s single biggest source of revenue each year. The campaign includes contributions from the various United Way campaigns at businesses, nonprofits and individuals, the Combined Federal Campaign and the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound.
The money raised for the campaign is given to 107 programs that help people focusing on education, financial stability and healthy communities. More than 14,000 individuals and 300 workplaces contributed to last year’s campaign.
The total dollar amount of the campaign won’t be known until late June or early July, said Neil Parekh, United Way’s vice president of marketing and communications. The nonprofit expects the campaign portion at businesses, nonprofits and individuals will raise $5.7 million this year.
Premera, which is based in Mountlake Terrace, raised $615,068.17 last year. CEO Gubby Barlow has long been a supporter of United Way and won an executive of the year award last year. Kathy Culver also won an employee campaign manager of the year award for her work last year.
The company set a record for giving two years ago and then came back and beat it again in 2013, said Dennis G. Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County.
“I had no choice, but to choose Premera Blue Cross” for the President’s Award, Smith said.
Pringle, who joined Fluke last year, was a visible presence throughout the campaign, helping to increase the test- and measurement-equipment company’s total contributions to $283,431. Pringle also played an active role in Fluke’s Days of Caring project at Camp Killoqua. He could not attend Wednesday’s event.
Farrell of Community Health Center won the executive of the year award for a nonprofit. He oversaw a campaign where giving increased by 48 percent to $23,536 with almost all of the contributions going to United Way’s Local Community Fund.
American Girl, the shop at Alderwood that sells dolls and other items, won two awards, a LIVE UNITED Award recognizing the scope of their giving, advocating and volunteering in the community and an Employee Campaign Manager of the Year Award for Victoria Eldridge.
As campaign manager, Eldridge guided the business to giving the most of any American Girl franchise in the country.
The Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound gave more than $1.7 million and The Boeing Company gave $810,000.
This year, United Way featured social media posts from the event, which can be found at www.tagboard.com/UWSC_CCC.
Here is a full list of award winners:
President’s Award: Premera Blue Cross
Executive of the Year awards: Wes Pringle, Fluke Corp., and Bob Farrell, Community Health Center of Snohomish County
Employee Campaign Manager of the Year Award: Victoria Eldridge, American Girl; Angie Lamie, Royell Manufacturing, Inc.; Kathy Culver, Premera Blue Cross
Premier Partner Award: The Boeing Company; Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound
LIVE UNITED Award: American Girl
Positive Change Award: HomeStreet Bank; Providence Regional Medical Center Everett
Labor Partnership Award: Snohomish Education Association
Best New Campaign: The Bank of Washington