Smiling father and young sitting outside on a porch

People Helping People Awards

The People Helping People Awards are an annual member-led program that recognizes and supports great causes in our communities.

Each year, BECU members and employees can nominate local nonprofits for a People Helping People Award of up to $50,000. Each winner will receive thousands of dollars in grant funds.

People's Choice Award

Voting is now closed, but you can still learn more about our incredible 2023 finalists by viewing the videos below.

Our 2023 People Helping People Award winners will be announced in December. Thank you for voting!

Our Finalists

350 Seattle

350 Seattle is a grassroots climate organization that builds people power and partnerships for local climate solutions. Since their founding in 2013, they work toward climate justice by organizing people to make deep system change: resisting fossil fuels; building momentum for healthy alternatives; and fostering resilient, just, and welcoming communities.

The Bridge Music Project

The Bridge Music Project teaches youth how music and songwriting can be used as tools to deal with life's challenges. Through music, mentorship, and community, The Bridge equips youth with tools for self-expression and understanding that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Cares of Washington

Cares of Washington's mission is to support people with disabilities and low incomes to realize their purpose, potential, and strength. They connect clients to employment and basic needs resources.

Emma's Exceptional Equipment Exchange

The mission at Emma's Exceptional Equipment Exchange is to bridge the gap between what insurances cover and what individuals with disabilities need to comfortably and safely enjoy basic daily living. Their program provides a space for families to request and find items, share items when they have an abundance/have outgrown things and to obtain things at no cost.

Empower Youth Network

Empower Youth Network's (EYN) mission is to promote and inspire youth to live safe, healthy, and successful lives. They help build, support, and coordinate community leadership to promote health and wellness through effective strategies to make the Snoqualmie Valley a place where all residents thrive.

For The People

For The People supports grassroots marginalized community organizers who meet the needs of their communities. They provide a stable platform for community organizers to fundraise for social justice projects.

Generation Alive

Generation Alive's mission is to activate youth to lead with compassion. They do this by creating a sense of belonging, promoting understanding and empathy, igniting a passion for service, encouraging youth leadership, and nurturing a lifelong commitment to compassion.

Jubilee REACH

Jubilee Reach's mission is to bring healing, build community and transform the lives of students and families in Bellevue. They work towards their mission in four service areas: in the schools, their community center, thrift store, and community-building events.

New Start Community Garden

New Start Community Garden cultivates a connected, diverse community through education about sustainable food gardening and environmental stewardship. They envision a garden park where everyone can come to learn, grow, and contribute to building food security, science education, and community.

Northeast Youth Center

For more than 50 years, Northeast Youth Center (NEYC) has provided stimulating educational and recreational opportunities that build self-esteem and teach basic life skills for some of Spokane's most disadvantaged and marginalized youth. The goal is for students to succeed not just in the classroom, but also within their families and communities.

OneWorld Now

OneWorld Now's mission is to develop the next generation of global leaders. They envision a world where all young people have access to transformative international education. Through teaching languages critical to the global community (Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Korean, and Swahili) - and combining those skills with leadership development and education abroad experiences - they equip students to thrive in a globalized world while giving them access to new educational and career opportunities.

PFLAG Skagit

PFLAG Skagit's mission is to support, advocate for and educate about the LGBTQIA+ community by providing an opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.

Pongo Poetry Project

Pongo Poetry Project's mission is to engage youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth. At the heart of the program is the Pongo Method, a trauma-informed technique for teaching poetry created in collaboration with mental health professionals and academics. This approach helps youth write about painful life experiences – often for the first time – in a way that promotes insight and healing.

Real Change

Real Change exists to provide opportunity and a voice for people experiencing homelessness and poverty while taking action for economic, social, and racial justice. The mission is pursued through three main program areas: Work opportunity that supports individuals in meeting their goals, weekly independent journalism that covers issues that impact local communities, and bold anti-poverty advocacy that works to change systems that perpetuate poverty.

Seattle Universal Math Museum

Seattle Universal Math Museum's (SUMM) general purpose is to address the root causes of the equity gap in math education for girls, students of color, as well as neurodiverse and non-traditional learners by providing equitable and culturally relevant science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) learning opportunities. They foster positive connections to math, boost math confidence and help students see math as relevant to their future.

Stanwood Camano Food Bank Services (SCFBS)

Stanwood Camano Food Bank Services (SCFBS) mission is to provide critical food, clothing, and household goods to under resourced individuals. SCFBS's diverse service portfolio includes a backpack and summer meals program for 750+ youth weekly; and a dual-location food bank with 4 public and 1 private senior serve day for ~450 households weekly.

Unemployment Law Project

The Unemployment Law Project (ULP) offers crucial legal assistance at no charge to unemployed Washington workers and develops policies to improve unemployment insurance. With an emphasis on outreach to underserved communities, particularly people with disabilities and BIPOC workers, ULP has provided free representation to low-income clients appealing denials of unemployment benefits or fighting employer challenges of their benefits since 1984.

Whatcom Center for Early Learning

Whatcom Center For Early Learning's mission is to partner with families to provide high-quality, equitable, and comprehensive therapy and support services to children experiencing developmental delays and disabilities.

BECU member nominations: April 3 – 28

Semifinalists notified: May 15

Nonprofit supplemental applications due: June 9

Finalists notified: August

Voting for People's Choice Award: Oct. 23-Nov. 3

People Helping People Awards Celebration: Dec. 7

The BECU People Helping People Awards are granted in the following amounts:

Member Volunteer of the Year Award: (1) $50,000
Selected by a panel of judges, the award is granted to a nonprofit organization on behalf of an outstanding member volunteer.

People's Choice Award: (1) $40,000
Selected by popular vote from the community, the award is granted to one nonprofit organization.

Employees' Choice Award: (1) $30,000
Selected by popular vote from BECU employees, the award is granted to one nonprofit organization.

Past PHPA Recipients' Choice: (1) $30,000
Selected by popular vote from past PHPA recipient nonprofits, the award is granted to one nonprofit organization.

Community Benefit Award: (14) $15,000
Selected by a panel of judges, the awards are granted to fourteen nonprofit finalists that have been nominated by members.

BCDP Nonprofit Capacity Award:
As part of the Black Community Development Project, BECU is awarding up to $150,000 in grant funding to small, Black-led nonprofits that are trying to build capacity to deepen their work in the community.

In addition to the above listed award amounts, all PHPA recipients will receive a glide path grant of $2,500 for the two years following their initial award (glide path funding does not apply to BCDP grant recipients).

BECU members may nominate any nonprofit organization you support with your time, talents or money. 2023 nominations are now closed. Nonprofits must also meet the following requirements:

  • Active 501(c)(3) tax exempt status with the IRS.
  • Must have a direct impact in one of the following areas:
    • Washington state
    • County of Charleston, South Carolina
    • Oregon Counties: Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Deschutes, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington, Yamhill
    • Idaho Counties: Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Clearwater, Idaho, Kootenai, Latah, Lewis, Nez Perce, Shoshone
  • Nonprofit work must be focused in any one of the following seven giving areas:
    • Advancing education (Pre-K through college): Access to education, mentoring, educational materials and programming, classroom, school and PTSA funding for educational programs/materials/experiences.
    • Arts and culture: Equitable access to art experiences, underrepresented art and cultural organizations, cultural programs.
    • Creating economic opportunity: Living-wage jobs, small and startup businesses, job quality for low-wage workers.
    • Preserving health and promoting wellness: Access to healthcare, illness prevention/cure, mental health, patient support, disabilities, veteran advocacy.
    • Preserving or restoring the environment: Conservation, stewardship, sustainability.
    • Providing for basic human needs: Affordable housing, homelessness, senior advocacy, infant and child advocacy, food/diaper/clothing banks.
    • Strengthening local communities: Neighborhoods, public safety, search and rescue, outdoor spaces, rotary/chamber.


Contact the BECU social impact team: