United Way will boost campaign donation goal

  • By Kurt Batdorf HBJ Editor
  • Thursday, September 6, 2012 3:40pm

TULALIP — United Way of Snohomish County has ambitious plans to increase donations to the community service organization by $1 million per year over the next three years.

Joyce Eleanor, CEO of Community Transit and 2012 United Way campaign chair, made the announcement at United Way’s annual awards for volunteers and community service at its annual Spirit of Snohomish County Breakfast on Thursday at the Tulalip Resort Casino.

Eleanor singled out Premera Blue Cross employees, whose $570,000 in pledges to United Way was more than any single company in Snohomish County other than the Boeing Employees Community Fund, which pledged $1.8 million.

United Way Snohomish County counted 13,957 donors in 2011 who gave an average of $325, she said. Those donations directly helped 346,979 people in the county last year. The organization raised more than $9 million in fiscal year 2010-2011 from corporate and individual donors.

The organization also gave its annual Spirit of Snohomish County awards.

• The Reeves-Sievers Founders’ Award went to the Bob Smith Family, Mary Smith and Richard and Mayumi Smith. The late Bob Smith had a big reputation in Everett’s philanthropy circles after the family moved to the city in 1955, earning him the name “Mr. Fundraiser.” Bob and Mary Smith passed that spirit of helping the community to their son, Richard, and his wife, Mayumi.

“My dad Bob showed how easy it was to get involved,” Richard Smith said. “In his memory and in honor of him, we humbly accept this award.”

• Campbell’s StockPot soup operation in Everett received United Way’s Community Partner Award. Their employees’ close work with Senior Services of Snohomish County’s Meals on Wheels program gained attention. Campbell’s Dollars for Doers incentive program gives $500 for every 25 hours an employee donates to an organization. That let Meals on Wheels buy fresh fruit to distribute with clients’ meals.

• United Way’s Labor Award went to Allyn Triezenberg, who works for the Snohomish County Labor Council. She coordinated local efforts on the U.S. Postal Service’s annual letter carriers food drive and has organized many other labor service projects.

Thanks to her parents, Triezenberg said, “I didn’t know what it was not to volunteer.”

• Mary Jane Brell Vujovic received United Way’s Adult Award for her work to improve others’ lives. The Workforce Development Council of Snohomish County employee recalled starting her charity work as a child by collecting pennies in a milk carton for UNICEF.

“My mother taught me the value of service,” Vujovic said.

• Dominick Juarez won United Way’s Youth Award for his volunteer work at Cocoon House’s U-Turn Resource Center. Amber Arrowsmith of Cocoon House said Juarez, a high school dropout and onetime gang member, knows how to help troubled kids since he was one himself. He turned his life around and now holds down three jobs, volunteers several hours each week at Cocoon House and attends Everett Community College. He said he plans to earn an associate’s degree and transfer to the University of Washington to study biochemistry and neurobiology before continuing to dental school.

“He has dreams, he has goals,” Arrowsmith said of Juarez.

Kurt Batdorf: 425-339-3102; kbatdorf@heraldnet.com.