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Announcing Nearly $40,000 in New Donations

10/15/2020

In response to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on our communities, Baker Boyer has sought additional ways to serve and support the people and organizations that need it most in these challenging times. Today, Baker Boyer announces nearly $40,000 in additional funding to support nonprofits in the region. For this round of donations, our focus is primarily on the impact of the pandemic on homelessness, including shelter, clothing, food, health, and hygiene. We have also funded programs to address mental health and domestic violence, the need for which has increased during this difficult time.

The causes, programs, and agencies were selected with significant input from Baker Boyer employees who provided more than seven pages of funding suggestions as part of a recent company-wide survey. In addition to the direct gifts detailed below, the bank’s Volunteer Committee came up with the idea to have a “Miles for Charity” challenge amongst employees.

#milesforcharity image

The Bank agreed to match dollar-for-dollar every mile logged by employees over a three-week period, while sharing photos and comments with each other in a series of weekly challenges. The final result: employees logged 4,282.13 miles. They decided to contribute the resulting $4,282.13 to Comprehensive Mental Health Foundation. They felt the “Miles for Charity” challenge was a light-hearted way to support the mental health of our employees but, more importantly, that Comprehensive Health served the much more serious needs of our broader community.

Through our research, we learned that not only do many nonprofits have increased demand for services due to the pandemic, but they also have significant resource limitations.

For example, several organizations that serve individuals experiencing homelessness report that COVID restrictions will not permit them to accept donations for lightly used items such as clothing or bedding. As a result, they need to purchase these items. In addition, there is concern that policies that have suspended penalties for those struggling to pay rent or utilities may end, just as the weather gets colder, creating more financial pressure on those least able to pay.

Here is the list of funding recipients:

In Walla Walla Valley:

  • Blue Mountain Action Council — $10,000 to address unforeseen costs as a result of losing work or re-entering the workforce due to COVID-19.
  • Walla Walla Alliance for the Homeless / Sleep Center — $4,000 for materials and construction of additional huts in preparation for increased demand with colder weather.
  • The Health Center — $2,000 to acquire additional technology to remotely serve health needs (including mental health) in the public school systems.
  • Helpline — $1,000 to support of emergency social services for low-income and homeless households in Walla Walla County.

In Yakima:

  • Rod’s House — $5,000 to help this youth homeless shelter purchase essential items they like clothing and bedding they would typically receive as used donations but can now only purchase new due to COVID restrictions.
  • YWCA – Yakima — $4,000 for its Domestic Violence Shelter needed to keep operations stable with increased demand for its services and PPE.

In Tri-Cities:

  • Union Gospel Mission — $5,000 to provide resources to meet increased demand for basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing.
  • Martha’s Cupboard — $4,000 to deliver basic household goods to people who may otherwise live without. Serves nearly 8,000 individuals in Tri-Cities annually through outreach/coordination dozens of local agencies.

 In our Region (Walla Walla Valley, Tri-Cities, and Yakima):

  • Comprehensive Health — $4282.13 raised by the “Miles for Charity” challenge to support mental health and substance use disorder treatments in Eastern Washington.

 

Typically, Baker Boyer contributes about $200,000 annually in donations and sponsorships to support local nonprofit and community organizations and programs. In 2020, that amount has nearly doubled in response to the increased need caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Walla Walla floods. In April, we funded “Meals for Frontline Healthcare Workers and First Responders.” In May, we announced we added $42,000 to our annual charitable budget to fund agencies that address the growing challenges with food insecurity in our region, like Food Banks and Meals on Wheels.