OLYMPIA...Timber giant Weyerhaeuser and a six-employee food produce business are among this year’s five recipients of the Corporations for Communities award, which honors exceptional Washington businesses that make it a priority to help the community.
Other businesses receiving the state’s most prestigious civics award are IKEA, the furniture store whose Washington headquarters are in Renton;Town Auto Group, located in Wenatchee;McClain Insurance Services, an Everett company that received honorable mention last year;and Columbia Fresh Produce, Inc., a Walla Walla business with six employees.
It is the first time that more than two companies have received the award since the Corporations for Communities program was launched in 2009 by the Office of Secretary of State’s Corporations and Charities Division.
“When I sat down to review this year’s nominees, it was clear to me there was no way I could present this award to only two companies,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “Many companies deserved to receive this honor, so we’ve decided to expand the number of award recipients this year to five. These companies have shown a strong sense of giving back to their communities and making a difference.”
Wyman will present executives from the five companies with the National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion Award during a ceremony in her office on Oct. 22 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. The Medallion Award recognizes civic engagement, voter education efforts, government services and a commitment to giving back to the community.
Here is a closer look at the 2013 award recipients:
- Weyerhaeuser. A Corporations for Communities nominee last year and based in Federal Way, it has created local programs for employees to contribute to affordable housing, education and youth development, environmental stewardship and human services. Weyerhaeuser has collected more than 750,000 diapers as part of its companywide Operation Diaper Drive to support low-income families. It also has partnered with World Vision to provide disaster supply kits and lumber donations to rebuild disaster areas.
- IKEA. IKEA has donated $500,000 to the Renton Performing Arts Center;sponsored Renton River Days;supported Renton Schools Vision House (homeless services) and child care to homeless mothers;donated furniture to several local organizations;held an annual Toys for Tots drive;and sponsored a campaign in which $1 from every soft toy donated is given to UNICEF and Save the Children.
- Town Auto Group. The company runs food drives at its several locations to help local food banks. It created the High School Challenge to raise money to support failing school sports programs. Its Drive for Kids program has gathered 900 pairs of shoes for local students, 50 scholarships and more than 1,000 books. It has provided cash and in-kind contributions to Red Cross and other charitable organizations.
- McClain Insurance Services. McClain’s employees are provided with 16 hours of paid time per year to volunteer with nonprofit organizations of their choice. It supports the “Stuff the Bus” supply drive, hosts and sponsors senior defensive driving classes, hosts document shredding drives to prevent ID theft, and sponsors local Christmas toy drives. McClain also is a longtime sponsor of local sports teams, Cinema Under the Stars, and July 4th fireworks shows.
- Columbia Fresh Produce, Inc. Columbia was nominated for obtaining oversupply produce for packaging and delivery to the hungry. It has partnered with the Salvation Army on building a new location that includes a food bank. It contributes to the Walla Walla Cattlemen’s Youth Association and other events at the Walla Walla County Fair and Frontier Days, and supports several local nonprofit groups.
During the Oct. 22 ceremony, another five businesses will be recognized for their community efforts: Cedar Grove Composting, Inc. (Seattle);Pacific Alliance Title (Yakima);KHQ Television (Spokane);Storman’s (Olympia);and Valley Athletic Club (Tumwater).