Gifts boost United Way of Snohomish County

TULALIP — A new United Way of Snohomish County endowment fund has gotten a healthy boost thanks to several gifts announced Monday, including $25,000 from the Kimberly-Clark Foundation and a land donation from Rodland Toyota of Everett.

Dennis Smith, president and CEO of the local United Way, announced the donations at the agency’s first-ever Legacy Luncheon: A Gathering of Friends. The event at the Hibulb Cultural Center honored former United Way campaign leaders, longtime volunteers, and 91-year-old Ralph White, executive director of the agency from 1967 to 1983.

White was “the inspiration” behind the luncheon, said Karen Crowley, United Way vice president of impact and resource development. The event was paid for by sponsors, not donor dollars.

“When you dream, dream big. Then work hard to make those dreams come true,” White told his audience of about 80 people. The Mill Creek man started at the agency when it was United Good Neighbors, with a staff of three.

“We do have a very wonderful legacy,” said Smith, adding that since 1995 the local United Way has raised almost $200 million.

The United Way of Snohomish County Endowment, launched last year, is a next step. The fund was started with $400,000, donated about a decade ago by the Wyrens Trust, according to United Way spokesman Neil Parekh.

Smith said IAM District 751, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers at Boeing, initially gave the fund $25,000. Managed by KeyBank, the endowment fund has grown to $818,000, Crowley said. With expected insurance proceeds, the value is estimated at $1.6 million, she said.

Smith announced several significant donations to the fund Monday, including the Kimberly-Clark Foundation’s $25,000. It’s a parting gift following the closure, in April, of the Kimberly-Clark pulp and paper mill on Everett’s waterfront.

“It’s a one-time donation. We’ve closed the plant, and in this transition period wanted to reach out to United Way,” said Bob Brand, spokesman for the Kimberly-Clark Corp. Brand said the gift is meant to honor former Kimberly-Clark employees for their generous support of United Way over many years.

Josh Estes, former president of the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers Local 183, is a United Way board member. He said at the luncheon that about 175 former mill workers are now employed by the Boeing Co., and many have returned to school.

Smith also announced the gift of a wooded lot in Whatcom County, from Rodland Toyota of Everett. The land donation is a first for United Way.

Buzz Rodland, president of the family-owned dealership and a longtime United Way supporter, couldn’t attend the luncheon. He said later that the residential lot was acquired by the dealership “probably in the 1960s” as partial payment for a car. “It used to be common to take all kinds of things. We used to take in livestock, and we’ve taken in an airplane and boats,” he said Monday.

The lot is in an area called Glenhaven, Crowley said. Rodland said it’s on a lake. United Way now owns the lot and will sell it to boost the endowment. Crowley said the asking price is $39,990. “Doing something for perpetuity makes a lot of sense,” Rodland said.

Two other gifts to the endowment were announced Monday. Debra Warden and Steve Kohlmyer, Tocquville Society-level donors who give at least $10,000 per year to United Way, have made the fund the beneficiary of a $250,000 life insurance policy.

And Grace Holland, a machinists union member who is on United Way’s board of directors, designated that her United Way payroll deduction go directly to the endowment fund.

Crowley said the goal for the fund is $10 million, and that earnings from that amount would provide an additional $400,000 per year. Endowment donors can choose to support an impact fund that invests in community work, or a sustaining fund that supports United Way operations.

This year, $9,000 from endowment fund earnings supported programs for English language learners, Parekh said.

“A gift to the endowment never goes away. It creates a source of revenue forever,” Crowley said.

It was announced Monday that Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring will be chairman of the 2013 United Way campaign, with the theme “Strength in Community.” Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor is leading the 2012 campaign.

The luncheon, which included a tour of the Tulalip Tribes’ Hibulb center, wasn’t all about the future.

“It’s celebrating people’s generosity. It’s about past leaders of the organization coming back and sharing stories,” Parekh said. “It’s almost a family reunion.”

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460;

United Way grants

Snohomish County nonprofit organizations have a chance to apply for three-year grants offered by United Way of Snohomish County.

Award decisions will be made in May 2013 for programs that focus on children and youth, improving access to basic needs, or helping people be involved in their communities.

Applicants must submit, online, a letter of intent by Dec. 20.

Potential applicants are invited, but not required, to attend one of two bidders’ conferences.

Meetings are scheduled for 10 a.m.-noon Tuesday and Dec. 4 in the United Way Board Room, 3120 McDougall Ave., Suite 200, Everett.

Applicants are asked to RSVP with a name and agency to Toni Wishon, 425-374-5523 or email

More information is at

Talk to us

More in Local News

911 received multiple calls reporting a fire at Marie Anne Terrace apartments early Monday morning, Feb. 6, 2023 in Everett, Washington. There were no injuries or fatalities. (Everett Fire Department)
Fire damages Everett apartments, displaces 10

The fire at the Marie Anne Terrace apartments Monday night displaced four families and caused extensive property damage.

A rack with cards bettors can use to choose their own numbers to purchase lottery ticket on a counter at a market. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Been to Auburn lately? That’s where $754M Powerball ticket was sold

This is only the second time a Powerball jackpot has been won in Washington.

Granite Falls
Man shot near Granite Falls; assailants at large

Two suspects fled after shooting a 33-year-old man in a motorhome Tuesday morning, according to police.

Photo by David Welton
A federal grant will help pay for the cost of adding a charging station to the Clinton ferry terminal.
Federal money to help electrify Clinton ferry dock

The Federal Transit Administration awarded state ferries a $4.9 million grant to help electrify the Mukilteo-Clinton route.

Community Transit is leasing a 60-foot articulated BYD battery electric bus this year as an early step in the zero emission planning process. (Community Transit)
Community Transit testing 60-foot electric bus

The agency leased the BYD K11M for $132,000 this year as the first step in its zero-emission planning process.

Angelica Montanari and daughter Makena, 1, outside of the Community Health Center of Snohomish County Everett-Central Clinic on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Amid patient woes, CHC of Snohomish County staffers push for a union

Doctors and nurse practitioners are worried about providers being shut out from clinical decisions, which hurts patient care.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of education.
Public school enrollment still down, even as rural districts grow

Smaller districts in Snohomish County seem to be recovering more quickly — and gaining students — than their urban counterparts.

Snohomish home-invasion suspect had been released weeks earlier

Eleazar Cabrera, 33, is accused of breaking into a home and shooting a man three times. He has a lengthy rap sheet.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
A holiday for Lunar New Year, a return of green and white license plates

It’s Day 29. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

Most Read