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Secretary of State Kim Wyman with awardees McClain's Insurance - Stuff the Buss Weyerhaeuser - Operation Diaper Drive Walla Walla County Fair, Creature Feature, Columbia Fresh Produce

GIVING PRAISE TO COMPANIES THAT GIVE BACK

Two of the companies are household names and strong national brand names. Two others are longtime and well-respected fixtures in their communities. And the fifth is a small shop in Walla Walla with only six employees.

What do they have in common? They are recipients of the 2013 Corporations for Communities award, which honors exceptional Washington businesses that make it a priority to help the community.

Representatives from Federal Way-based timber icon Weyerhaeuser, furniture chain IKEA, Town Auto Group in Wenatchee, McClain Insurance Services in Everett, and Columbia Fresh Produce in Walla Walla were part of a Tuesday ceremony in Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office at the Capitol.

Wyman presented the winners with a certificate and a National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion Award, which recognizes civic engagement, voter education efforts, government services and a commitment to giving back to the community.

“It’s such an honor for me to present these deserving companies with this award,” Wyman said. “There are so many businesses, big and small, that make a difference by donating money, items or volunteers toward worthy causes. It makes me proud that we have so many generous companies here in Washington.”

Five other businesses were recognized by Wyman for their community efforts: Cedar Grove Composting, Inc. (Seattle); Pacific Alliance Title (Yakima); KHQ Television (Spokane); Stormans (Olympia); and Valley Athletic Club (Tumwater).

A closer look at this year’s five winners:

• Weyerhaeuser. A Corporations for Communities nominee last year, it has created local programs for employees to contribute to affordable housing, education and youth development, environmental stewardship and human services. Weyerhaeuser has collected more than 750,000 diapers as part of its companywide Operation Diaper Drive to support low-income families. It also has partnered with World Vision to provide disaster supply kits and lumber donations to rebuild disaster areas.

• IKEA. IKEA, whose Washington headquarters are in Renton, has donated $500,000 to the Renton Performing Arts Center; sponsored Renton River Days; supported Renton Schools Vision House (homeless services) and child care to homeless mothers; donated furniture to several local organizations; held an annual Toys for Tots drive; and sponsored a campaign in which $1 from every soft toy donated is given to UNICEF and Save the Children.

• Town Auto Group. The company runs food drives at its several locations to help local food banks. It created the High School Challenge to raise money to support failing school sports programs. Its Drive for Kids program has gathered 900 pairs of shoes for local students, 50 scholarships and more than 1,000 books. It has provided cash and in-kind contributions to Red Cross and other charitable organizations.

• McClain Insurance Services. McClain’s employees are provided with 16 hours of paid time per year to volunteer with nonprofit organizations of their choice. It supports the “Stuff the Bus” supply drive, hosts and sponsors senior defensive driving classes, hosts document shredding drives to prevent ID theft, and sponsors local Christmas toy drives. McClain also is a longtime sponsor of local sports teams, Cinema Under the Stars, and July 4th fireworks shows.

• Columbia Fresh Produce, Inc. Columbia was nominated for obtaining oversupply produce for packaging and delivery to the hungry. It has partnered with the Salvation Army on building a new location that includes a food bank. It has sponsored youth programs at the Walla Walla County Fair, and supports several local nonprofit groups.