By Julie Muhlstein, The Herald
EVERETT — United Way of Snohomish County celebrated its 2012 Community Caring Campaign with a recent dinner honoring top fundraisers. The campaign’s total, due in July, is expected to be slightly higher than in the previous year.
The 2012 campaign saw a slight increase in revenue, said Neil Parekh, the local United Way’s vice president of marketing and communications. Despite the slow economy, revenues have held steady in the past few years, he said.
“We so appreciate that Snohomish County always works together as a community. It’s a testament to our county’s caring and can-do spirit,” said Dennis Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County, in a statement after the March 6 dinner at Comcast Arena’s Edward D. Hansen Conference Center.
The Community Caring Campaign is the agency’s primary source of revenue. It includes contributions to campaigns organized at area workplaces, the Combined Federal Campaign, and the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound. United Way also raises money for its endowment, seeks grants, and works with lawmakers to obtain state and federal money for efforts here.
The largest contributions to the 2012 campaign came from the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound, with a gift of $1.86 million, and the Boeing Co., which donated $800,000. Together, they were named co-winners of the Premier Partner Award.
Parekh said Fluke conducts an annual campaign that benefits six United Way agencies around the country, including the one here. Fluke’s local campaign raised more than $246,000, a 25 percent increase over the previous year. Since 2008, employee and corporate giving from the Fluke Corporation has totaled $1,042,952. Parekh said Fluke’s effort is United Way’s second largest local corporate campaign.
“The folks at Fluke have a history, a legacy of community participation. It was important to John Fluke when he founded the company,” said Jim Lico, president of the Fluke Corporation. The Everett-based Fluke Corporation, which makes industrial testing equipment, is now a subsidiary of the Danaher Corporation.
Lico said United Way team leaders at Fluke have done a good job in recent years getting the word out to employees about campaign participation. “United Way is a great way to engage in charitable giving, an easy way,” Lico said.
The other President’s Award winner, UPS, is a longtime national partner with United Way and a past winner of United Way’s Spirit of America award, Parekh said. Locally, UPS corporate and employee giving has exceeded $400,000 since 2008, he said.
Parekh said UPS held a campaign kickoff event at Safeco Field and its employees increased their United Way participation by 44 percent, with their donations up 59 percent. There are UPS locations in Everett and Arlington.
Jessica Scrace, an area spokeswoman for UPS, said the business has been a United Way partner for 31 years. “Last year we were very proud to become the first company to have given over $1 billion to United Way nationally,” Scrace said.
Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor, chairwoman of United Way’s 2012 campaign, said that with all the donations the agency was able to help hundreds of thousands of people. Programs helped by United Way of Snohomish County serve about 330,000 people annually.
The dinner was also a welcome for Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring, chairman of the 2013 United Way Community Caring Campaign.
Below is the full list of award winners:
President’s Award: The Fluke Corporation and UPS.
Premier Partner Award: The Boeing Co., and Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound.
Local Community Hero Award: Vine Dahlen PLLC; Target, Marysville; Tulalip Gaming Organization.
Best New Campaign: American Girl.