Whatcom Center for Philanthropy: Building Community. Together.
Thanks to the support and creative thinking from Washington Federal Bank, three leading philanthropic organizations in Whatcom County will co-locate in the Bank’s Bellingham regional headquarters this fall.
United Way of Whatcom County, Chuckanut Health Foundation (CHF) and Whatcom Community Foundation (WCF) will move into the 4400+ squarefoot Whatcom Center for Philanthropy, sharing the second floor of the downtown Washington Federal location at 1500 Cornwall Avenue later this fall.
“Washington Federal has demonstrated consistent and committed support for community nonprofits”, according to Peter Theisen, President of United Way of Whatcom County. He remarked “Washington Federal is a longstanding United Way partner: CEO, Roy Whitehead, is on the United Way of King County Board of Directors, and served as their annual campaign chair in 2011. When Tom Kenney, the Regional President for Northern Washington, took the idea to the corporate office in Seattle they were eager to find a solution that works for everyone.” Theisen added, “Thanks to Washington Federal Bank’s support, we are now able to invest a greater portion of funds into community programs and initiatives.”
Renovations will begin soon. The space on Cornwall Avenue will be completely remodeled to accommodate a suite of offices for each organization as well as common areas and shared meeting space. Although the three organizations will continue to remain distinct with their own focus and objectives, the synergy and collaboration potential by sharing space is a significant benefit. The advantage of the bank’s generous rental rate means more funds will be available to support the local community. The three community-based funders each work closely with local donors, businesses and other partners to make a difference in Whatcom County.
Chuckanut Health Foundation Executive Director Sue Sharpe noted, “We already work closely as funders. This is an extraordinary opportunity to build on our existing efforts and leverage our resources to best support the health needs of Whatcom County. The community will benefit from the Center in ways we haven’t even considered yet.”
“Washington Federal’s generosity sets the tone for this project,” said Whatcom Community Foundation CEO Mauri Ingram. “The people who live in and care about our community fuel everything we do. They make financial contributions, they volunteer and they think with us.” Ingram added, “There’s an element of necessity to strengthening a community. What makes our community a bit different is that we actually want to work together.”
“This is our home, too,” said Kenney. “In the banking industry, we know how important trust is. We have confidence in these three organizations and we’re excited to welcome them to their new home.” Kenney added, “This was a great opportunity for us to further demonstrate our commitment to Whatcom County by providing needed office space to create a hub for community philanthropy.”