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Jim Davis, Editor
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Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012

United Way honors county's top contributors

EVERETT -- United Way of Snohomish County, which is still working to total the amount raised in its 2011 Community Caring Campaign, recently honored top fundraisers.

United Way's Community Caring Celebration was held March 6 at the Edward G. Hansen Conference Center at Comcast Arena. The event recognized contributions to area United Way campaigns, the Combined Federal Campaign and the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound.

A year ago, the agency announced that its 2010 fundraising campaign had raised an estimated $9.9 million, a slight increase over the 2009 total.

Dennis Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County, said that despite a tough economy, revenues have held steady over the past three years. The final amount for the 2011 campaign is expected to be released in July.

"With this economic downturn, some nonprofits have had to close their doors," Smith said in a statement released with the list of award winners. "Across the country, at other United Ways, revenues went down. But here at our United Way, we've held steady. The community definitely stepped up to meet this challenge."

Along with its own initiatives, United Way supports 102 programs through 39 area nonprofit organizations.

Sue Ambler, the 2011 United Way campaign's chairwoman and CEO of the Workforce Development Council of Snohomish County, said the money raised goes "to ensuring that kids are ready to learn, that families have financial stability, and our community as a whole is healthy."

The top prize, the President's Award, was given to Jamco America Inc. Through employee giving, sponsorships, corporate gifts and special events, the aircraft interior company donated $76,518 to the 2011 campaign.

Smith said Jamco America increased employee giving by more than 55 percent and corporate contributions by more than 400 percent. Honorees from Jamco America included CEO Norikazu Natsume; Scott Miller, vice president of finance and administration; and Bill Aldrich, employee campaign manager.

Jamco America has its home office in Japan. Smith said Natsume worked to convert travel miles earned by employees using the company's credit card into dollars to be donated as part of Jamco America's corporate gift.

The year's largest contributions came from the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound, which raised $1.8 million, and the Boeing Co., which contributed $800,000. They were named co-winners of United Way's Premier Partner Award.

Other United Way awards announced this month include:

• Executive of the Year for a large company: Gubby Barlow, CEO of Premera Blue Cross, was honored for a campaign that donated $540,283. That includes employee giving, sponsorships, corporate gifts and special events.

Jim Litz, United Way of Snohomish County board chairman, said Premera provides a substantial corporate gift and corporate sponsorship. Litz said Premera employees are paid while they volunteer.

• Executive of the Year for a small company: Ed Rubatino, president of Rubatino Refuse Removal Inc., was honored for a campaign that donated $13,157.

Litz said Rubatino's company is a longtime United Way donor, and that the 2011 campaign was the company's most successful ever. Rubatino conducts employee United Way meetings and works with union leadership to help the community, Litz said.

• Employee Campaign Manager of the Year Award: Nancy Abell, City of Marysville; Theresa Peloso, Premera Blue Cross; Lindsay Crow and Jane Hoagland, Rodland Toyota-Scion.

• Positive Change Award: Snohomish County Employees Charitable Campaign.

• Local Community Hero Award: Agilent Technologies; CMC Biologics; ElectroImpact Inc.

• Labor Partnership Award: Josh Estes, Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers Local 183.

• Loyal Contributor Award: Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.

• Best New Campaign: Damar AeroSystems.

At the end of the event, Joyce Eleanor, CEO of Community Transit, was introduced as chairwoman of the local United Way's 2012 campaign.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; muhlstein@heraldnet.com.