Outerwall announces community grant awards

Bellevue-based Outerwall announced Tuesday its award of more than $250,000 in general operating grants in the Seattle and Chicago areas and its collaboration with grantees to provide company employees with volunteer opportunities.

Outerwall first stated its goal of committing 1 percent of its previous year's after-tax profits to charity in its 2011 consolidated fiscal report and issued its first grants in 2012, said Nicole Trimble, senior director of corporate responsibility at Outerwall.

"We invited, in total, about 30 organizations to apply for two different requests for proposals," said Trimble of this year's Better Everyday and Community Connection grants, adding of those 29 applied.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of King County, Childhaven, FareStart, Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County, Hopelink and Treehouse are recipients of this year's Better Everyday grants in the Seattle area. This grant is awarded to nonprofits that help individuals develop skills and access opportunities to improve their lives.

Neighborhood House, Powerful Voices and YWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish received Community Connection grants for their efforts that align with Outerwall's diversity and inclusion initiatives.Grants were made in Chicago through Outerwall's largest kiosk business, Redbox, and the same for Coinstar in Bellevue and the King County area. Outerwall's newest business venture, ecoATM — where people can recycle their old electronic devices — could open new grant and volunteer opportunities where it's based in San Diego, said Trimble.

"If they're ready as an organization to commit … we'd be happy to support them in this," she said.

Outerwall is also close to meeting its 2015 goal of engaging one-third of its workforce in volunteerism a year early. Trimble said employee volunteers are just shy of 30 percent of its workforce. Organizations receiving company grants agree to host Outerwall employees for volunteer opportunities based on their skill sets.

Outerwall also incentivizes its employees by donating $150 to a nonprofit of their choice for every 10 hours of volunteer work completed, up to $600 annually. Employees also qualify for up to eight hours of paid volunteer time.

"It helps us build our reputation as an employer, and we really hope people will learn what a great place we are to work from our employees out in the communities," Trimble said.

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