Joe Burris

United Way of King County Raises More Than $50 Million to Invest in Building A Community Where People Have Homes, Students Graduate and Families Are Financially Stable

United Way reaches a financial milestone thanks to generous supporters in our community

SEATTLE- August 9, 2016. United Way of King County announced today its fundraising totals for the campaign year ending June 30, 2016, raising an impressive $51 million to invest in its priority work of building a community where people have homes, families are financially stable, and students graduate.

United Way of King County believes strategic, focused programs like Reconnecting Youth resonated with donors in the community. The program targets the 15,000 youth between the ages of 16 and 21 in King County who have left school without graduating. It provides personalized, comprehensive support to help a young person tap into available resources to earn their high school equivalency. Youth also gain skills and credentials they need for a successful career.

United Way of King County’s 2015-2016 campaign co-chairs Richard and Barrie Galanti are a big reason Reconnecting Youth has robust donor support. They championed the program which seeks to engage 50% of King County’s disconnected youth by 2020.

“The Reconnecting Youth Program is a great example of what United Way does and why this organization is so vital,” said Richard Galanti, CFO of Costco Wholesale and campaign co-chair for United Way of King County. “Reconnecting these deserving young people to their education really changes their lives moving forward. It’s fantastic, positive in so many ways for our community. Coming from a numbers guy, the investment is so worthwhile. Half of the $8,000 per-student cost is covered by leveraging state funds. Getting to know some of the kids participating and seeing them get reconnected to their education and viable career options is the reason Barrie and I have made a significant investment in the program.”

In addition to its Reconnecting Youth program, United Way of King County is building a community where students graduate through its Parent-Child Home Program. The early learning program reaches 1,200 low-income families when and where it matters most: in the home, when children are 2 and 3 years old. The program helps parents prepare their kids for success.

Funding strategies that help students graduate is only part of the story. The $51 million raised will also support a range of programs to assure people have homes and families remain financially stable.

United Way’s Summer Meals campaign served 640,000 nutritious meals to kids who rely on free and reduced-price meals during the school year, preventing families from having to choose between putting food on the table or paying rent. United Way’s Free Tax Preparation Program also bolstered local families, helping people avoid fees and reclaim a whopping $29 million in refunds.

United Way programs like Streets to Home, which makes flexible funds available to outreach workers so they can rapidly move people off the street, are helping make homelessness rare, brief and one time in King County. More than 200 people in the Streets to Home program successfully have been housed since the pilot launched in November of 2015.

Prompted by donor interest in easing the homelessness crisis in King County, United Way’s Jobs Connect program began in the spring of 2016 with the goal of connecting people experiencing homelessness to jobs that employers are looking to fill. The program removes barriers people face when securing stable work, including access to showers and laundry facilities, lockers to store belongings, appropriate work clothing, and transportation to and from work.

United Way also recognizes and celebrates a tremendous philanthropic spirit in King County. A fantastic outpouring of financial support from the community through donor-directed gifts to area non-profits brings United Way of King County’s overall fundraising tally for the year to $73 million.

“United Way exists to bring caring people together, to give, volunteer, and take action,” said Jon Fine, president and CEO of United Way of King County. “We are lucky to live in a community where people are aware and engaged. United Way is happy to make it easy for them to channel their generous gifts of both time and dollars and to encourage giving throughout the community.”

In addition to its overall fundraising total of $73 million, United Way of King County applauds the contributions of Microsoft’s employees in King County, who together with the company match gave an additional $52 million to other non-profits in the community.

“The United Way of King County inspires generous giving and we’re proud of the way our employees answer the call. We share a passion for working with nonprofit organizations to make a positive difference here in this community,” said Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer, Microsoft Corporation. “The United Way helps us raise the much-needed dollars to tackle the tough societal challenges we face and meet those challenges with dedicated purpose and optimism.”

Other generous corporate support came from The Boeing Company, Costco, Nordstrom, and PACCAR, as well as Puget Sound Energy and Virginia Mason Medical Center, two companies which recently reinvigorated their employee philanthropic giving campaigns.

The 2016-2017 fundraising season, led by Puget Sound Energy CEO Kimberly Harris, officially launched on July 1.