It takes kindness, collaboration and money. Those are building blocks for a community that cares. Former Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel delivered that message Thursday at the 10th annual Human Services Breakfast.
“Collective kindness is what makes this community strong,” Drewel told a crowd of nearly 200 in a ballroom at Everett’s Xfinity Arena conference center.
Breakfast proceeds will boost an endowment fund named in Drewel’s honor that supports the work of local nonprofits. The Human Services Fund in Honor of Bob Drewel was started in 2004 by the Greater Everett Community Foundation, which in 2015 changed its name to the Community Foundation of Snohomish County.
The foundation oversees the Human Services Fund, which in the past decade has made grants to more than 50 groups. Cocoon House, Housing Hope, Work Opportunities and the Youth Suicide Prevention Program are a few of the many agencies helped.
Maddy Metzger-Utt, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Snohomish County, said that since 2005 some $372,000 in grants have been awarded from the Human Services Fund.
“Right now, the balance in the fund is almost $480,000, not including today’s breakfast,” Metzger-Utt said Thursday, adding that $35,000 was raised at the event last year. The foundation’s goal is $1 million in the endowment fund by 2025.
The Human Services Fund is one of more than 100 charitable funds — in all, more than $13 million in investments — under the umbrella of the Community Foundation. Along with human services, funds started by families, businesses and nonprofits are used to help educational, cultural, environmental and other efforts
On Thursday, the focus was human services and people who have spent their lives helping others. Those with long careers in human services were asked to stand.
One newcomer was among the speakers. Allison Warren-Barbour took over Jan. 1 as United Way of Snohomish County’s president and CEO, succeeding Dennis Smith. Since arriving from a United Way in North Carolina, Warren-Barbour said she feels a “spirit of collaboration” here.
Speakers representing two groups shared how Human Services Fund grants have furthered their missions.
Nancy Nelson, development director for Warm Beach Christian Camp and Conference Center, talked about a Special Friends camp program for people with disabilities. “Thank you, your investment is reaping huge dividends,” she said.
Todd McNeal, founder and executive director of Hand in Hand, spoke of children rescued from abuse, including a baby with a sexually transmitted disease. The Everett nonprofit’s Safe Place is a short-term shelter for children coming into foster care. “There are fewer of those horror stories because of the work of the Community Foundation,” McNeal said.
Drewel spoke just hours after returning from Colorado, where Wednesday he joined Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert and Darrington Mayor Dan Rankin for the announcement of a winner in the America’s Best Communities competition. Arlington and Darrington were finalists, but not among the top three.
“It was the kind of competition you never lose,” Drewel told the crowd, noting the economic and quality-of-life progress made by Stillaguamish Valley communities. “Nobody loses if we work for other people.”
He wrapped up the breakfast with thoughts on kindness.
“An act of kindness, at its core, shows faith that things can get better,” Drewel said. “Kindness gives everyone the sense that you can move forward. Kindness supports the human spirit. We — each of us — have a role.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein @heraldnet.com.
How to help
Information about the Community Foundation of Snohomish County: www.cf-sc.org
Donate to the Human Services Fund in Honor of Bob Drewel: www.cf-sc.org/give/donate-now