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2020 People Helping People Award Recipients

BECU Honors Nonprofits with Annual Awards

Our annual People Helping People Awards have special significance this year, highlighting the relentless determination of local nonprofits to drive social change for the good of their communities despite the many hurdles of 2020.

BECU's Solynn McCurdy describes what makes this year's People Helping People Awards — and award recipients — so special. McCurdy is senior vice president of Social Impact and leader of community engagement, financial health programs and philanthropic teams.

This year has tested our communities like never before. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a national reckoning with racial injustice and a tumultuous political climate, 2020 has been complex and, at times, painful. 

As we approach the holiday season, we want to acknowledge the hardships many are facing, while also recognizing the people who devote their time and energy to helping others. So many individuals and organizations have overcome this year's tremendous hurdles to help their communities. This dedication to helping others is the people helping people philosophy that BECU was founded on 85 years ago this December.

The voice of our members is more important than ever in helping us determine where to direct our dollars and resources. BECU's People Helping People Awards is one way we can recognize and thank local nonprofits that are working tirelessly to help others. The annual program provides BECU members the opportunity to nominate and help us select local organizations that will receive a grant between $15,000 and $50,000. Since 2013, BECU has donated more than $2.5 million to charities through the program.

This year, we received more than 500 nominations and 1,000 votes from members. We're proud to help recognize the recipients of the 2020 People Helping People Awards for their invaluable contributions to their communities.

Member Volunteer of the Year 

Sangeeta Gupte was selected as this year's Member Volunteer of the Year for her work with Young Women Empowered. Selected by a panel of judges, the award is granted to a nonprofit organization on behalf of an outstanding member volunteer.

Gupte, who is also a BECU employee, is dedicated to the nonprofit's mission, leveraging her experience as the child of immigrants in her hands-on mentoring work and serving on Young Women Empowered's board of directors. A $50,000 grant will help further Young Women Empowered's efforts 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 Award

Selected by popular vote of BECU members, Densho was awarded $40,000 for its work to promote equity and justice by preserving and sharing the history of incarcerating Japanese Americans during WWII.

Employees' Choice Award

Selected by popular vote of BECU employees, Everyone for Veterans was awarded $30,000 for its work to improve the quality of life for veterans by connecting them to their communities for services and goods.

Past Recipients' Choice Award

Selected by popular vote of past nonprofit award recipients, Families of Color Seattle was awarded $30,000 for its dedication to building a strong community by supporting families of color through equitable parent programs, resource sharing, and fostering meaningful connections.

Investing in Our Communities

Videos of each of our recipients are available on BECU.org/awards. A full list of the 2020 People Helping People Award recipients, including the Community Benefit Awards and Collaboration Grant recipients, is available on the BECU newsroom.

The People Helping People Awards program has been in place since 2013 and is funded through BECU's philanthropic budget. We are grateful for the opportunity to reinvest our profits back into the community through organizations our members support.

Thank you to all these incredible organizations, and to the BECU members who nominated, voted for and supported them.