BECU Grants $525,000 to Nonprofits Through People Helping People Awards


During a virtual event, BECU honored 28 nonprofits and BECU members as part of its annual People Helping People Awards program, granting $525,000 in total. The program was driven by more than 500 nominations from BECU members, who recognized nonprofits serving communities in the Puget Sound region and Spokane, Washington, Oregon, and Charleston, South Carolina.

“This has been a year of immense and unforeseen social and economic challenges in every region. We’re continually inspired by the selfless work of volunteers and local nonprofits that are dedicated to the well-being and resilience of communities,” said Solynn McCurdy, BECU’s Senior Vice President of Social Impact. “Guided by our purpose, BECU is honored to support the important work of these organizations, who live out the ‘people helping people’ philosophy each day in our communities.”

BECU’s 2020 People Helping People Award recipients are awarded in five categories:

  • Member Volunteer of the Year ($50,000): Sangeeta Gupte was honored as Member Volunteer of the Year for her volunteerism with Young Women Empowered. The funding will help the organization further its mission to cultivate the power of diverse young women — those who identify as women or girls, or who were assigned female at birth—to be creative leaders and courageous changemakers through transformative programs within a collaborative community of belonging.
  • People’s Choice ($40,000): Densho was selected by popular vote from the community. This organization is focused on working to preserve and share the history of the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans to promote equity and justice today.
  • Employees’ Choice Winner ($30,000): Everyone for Veterans was recognized by popular vote amongst BECU employees. The nonprofit is working to improve the quality of life for veterans by connecting them to their communities for services and goods.
  • Past Recipients’ Choice Winner ($30,000): Families of Color Seattle was selected by popular vote amongst past People Helping People Award recipients. The organization works to build a strong community by supporting families of color through equitable parent programs, resource sharing, and fostering meaningful connections.
  • Community Benefit Winners ($15,000):
    • Ada Developers Academy
    • Arivva
    • Because People Matter
    • The Breakfast Group
    • Inside Health Institute
    • Lake City Partners Ending Homelessness
    • Southeast Seattle Senior Center
    • St. Stephen Housing Association
    • StolenYouth
    • Tacoma Refugee Choir Project
    • Transitions
    • University Beyond Bars
    • Washington Wild
    • Way Back Inn Foundation

Previous program recipients are also encouraged to apply for People Helping People Collaboration Grants, which recognize a joint opportunity for two or more organizations to collaborate on a project.

The following five partnerships received 2020 Collaboration Grants ($15,000):

  • Community Roots Housing Foundation and Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority: Expanding meal delivery for high-need affordable housing residents through a project called Community Kitchens.
  • Friends of the Children Seattle and Childhaven: Offering specialized support services through Childhaven to address trauma, and continued care and mentorship through Friends of the Children.
  • Open Doors for Multicultural Families and Benefits Law Center: Providing access to legal representation in Social Security matters for people living with developmental/intellectual disabilities.
  • Reading Partners and Literacy Source: Supporting families with learning at home during COVID—19.
  • Urban Artworks and Mini Mart City Park: Partnering on an arts-based employment opportunity for youth experiencing barriers to arts, employment and education.

All 2019 and 2020 People Helping People Award recipients receive a grant of $2,500 for the two years following their initial award. Since 2013, BECU has donated more than $2.5 million to local charities through the program, which recognizes nonprofits focused on key community issues such as health and wellness, education, arts and culture and environmental welfare.

Posted in Member News.