As a community, it is good to take time to celebrate milestones. It is also good to thank those who make this a better place to live, work and raise our families.
It is my honor to do both by drawing our collective attention to a major accomplishment of the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound, the charity arm of Boeing employees, which has just surpassed the $500,000,000 mark in charitable giving.
That’s right. Half a billion dollars.
Boeing employees and retirees, through their Community Fund, have given half a billion dollars to nonprofits in the Puget Sound since the fund’s inception in 1951.
Yes, it’s a lot of money. Yes, we owe those who give to the Employees Community Fund a debt of gratitude. Beyond that, however, is the greater truth: Boeing employees are the community – not a group apart, but an integral part, just as we all are.
We all have a responsibility and a role in making this a better community, not only for those who struggle, but also because it benefits us. When we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all.
Much of the giving to the Employees Community Fund has gone out to the community through local United Ways., which fund services that people rely on day in and day out, and focus on finding long-term solutions to our communities’ most urgent problems. It’s a balanced partnership that cares for the whole community while allowing the partners to focus on their primary mission. After all, there are airplanes to be built.
Boeing employees also give in other ways. Many are active volunteers, lending their voices and knowledge on committees and boards, and their time and muscle to building wheelchair ramps, mentoring youth, coaching teams or serving a meal.
Both ways of giving back underscore a philosophy that measures the true quality of a company and its people not only by the integrity of its products and services, but also by the strength of its partnership with the larger community.
Through good and challenging times, this partnership has held fast. So, not only on behalf of United Way, but on behalf of all who have benefited, it is my pleasure and privilege to say “thank you.”
In the end, half a billion dollars is just a number. The true value lies in the countless lives Boeing employees and retirees have changed as a result of their generous giving to the community through the Employees Community Fund.