Around the Table: Wells Fargo, Vulcan, Microsoft & Starbucks

Here’s a look at some of the great things our members are up to this fall…

Wells Fargo Commits $5 Million to Establish GRID Alternatives’ Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund
Wells Fargo recently announced a philanthropic commitment of $5 million over three years to support solar projects in tribal communities across the U.S. The donation to nonprofit GRID Alternatives, a national leader in making solar technology and training accessible to underserved communities, supports the founding of GRID’s new Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund. The fund is an extension of GRID’s National Tribal Program and aims to catalyze the growth of solar energy and expand solar job opportunities on tribal lands. Learn more here.

Paul Allen, Vulcan Break Ground on New Resource for Seattle’s Homeless Families
Thanks to a $30 million contribution from Paul Allen, a new building will house 94 families in South Seattle. Allen and the Vulcan Inc. team said the new 100,000 square foot complex would include a computer lab, meeting rooms, and housing units for both homeless and low-wage working families. “Like most locals, Allen and employees at Vulcan Inc. see homelessness on their commutes and daily travels around the region,” wrote editors in a blog post on “As an organization working to solve some of the world’s toughest problems, it was expected that Allen and Vulcan would want to take on the issue.” Learn more here.

Microsoft Launches Flagship School Initiative
Microsoft announced the first cohort of schools who have been selected to participate in the Microsoft Flagship School program. According to a blog post by Anthony Salcito, VP of Education, “The Microsoft Flagship School Program partners with like-minded leaders from around the world across a multi-year engagement to design, develop, and deliver amazing new places to learn.” Microsoft said the new initiative was field-tested at Wilburton Elementary in the Bellevue School District. There were 17 schools selected for this first cohort, 15 of which are located outside the United States. Renton Prep in the Renton School District was one of two U.S.-based schools selected. Learn more here.

Starbucks Announces Global Greener Stores Commitment
Starbucks Coffee Company announced the “Starbucks Greener Stores” framework and a commitment to design, build, and operate 10,000 “Greener Stores” globally by 2025. “Starbucks Greener Stores” framework will be built upon comprehensive performance criteria that help ensure the company’s approach to designing, building, and operating its company-owned stores sets a new standard for green retail. “Simply put, sustainable coffee, served sustainably is our aspiration,” said Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of Starbucks. “We know that designing and building green stores is not only responsible, it is cost effective as well. The energy and passion of our green apron partners has inspired us to find ways to operate a greener store that will generate even greater cost savings while reducing impact.” Learn more here.

New: 2018 Chair’s Report

Thirty-five years ago, in the Washington Roundtable’s inaugural year, then-chairman George H. Weyerhaeuser wrote, “Our purpose is to work to improve the future of the state of Washington.” Three and a half decades later, the Washington Roundtable is more focused than ever on making this state a better place to live, work, and do business.

Today, we release our 2018 Chair’s Report, our annual assessment of progress on state policy issues that our members believe matter most. In the report, Roundtable Chair Betsy Cowles writes about the two areas where we have focused most of our energy over the last year: promoting statewide economic growth and preparing Washington’s young people for success in their home state.

Four headlines from this year’s Chair’s Report:

  1. A postsecondary credential—such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate—is essential to compete for most jobs available in our state. In 2015, we set a goal that, by the high school class of 2030, 70 percent of Washington high school students will go on to attain a postsecondary credential by age 26. It is estimated that only 40 percent of our high school students hit that benchmark today. Drastically increasing enrollment of high school graduates into postsecondary programs at two- and four-year institutions is essential to reaching the 70 percent goal. To that end, lawmakers this year increased funding for the State Need Grant, a financial aid program for low-income students, and expanded eligibility for the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship and College Bound Scholarship programs.
  2. Lawmakers took multiple steps toward promoting diversified and inclusive growth. Lawmakers enacted legislation requiring adoption of rules for the use of mass timber products for new building construction, which has the potential to catalyze manufacturing and spur job creation in rural areas. Additionally, the Legislature created a program to provide scholarships to rural students pursuing postsecondary education in high-demand fields and invested in a statewide tourism marketing fund focused in part on rural, tourism-dependent counties.
  3. The McCleary ruling is now resolved. We applaud lawmakers for their tenacity and commitment to provide better educational supports for Washington students. This year, they made adjustments to the 2017 McCleary package, including providing full funding for school employees in 2018-19. The Supreme Court responded positively, and the legal phase is now complete. On to pursuing better outcomes for all kids.
  4. The state resolved key rural water rights issues. Lawmakers came to an agreement to address the water rights issues that arose from a 2016 Supreme Court ruling in the Hirst case. The state also committed to appropriating $300 million for water mitigation projects through 2033.

Click here to read the full report. Thank you, Chairman Cowles, for your leadership this year and your commitment to making Washington a better place to live, work, and do business.

Around The Table: McKinstry, PNNL, Starbucks

In ‘Around The Table,’ we highlight member news and share information on industry trends. This week, we shine the spotlight on McKinstry, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Starbucks.

McKinstry’s Hiring our Heroes Fellowship Program Featured in Contractor Magazine

In 2016, Seattle-based McKinstry welcomed its first Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program cohort. The initiative was launched in 2011 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to “assist military veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses in finding meaningful employment opportunities in a 21st century workforce.” Contractor Magazine recently covered the program at McKinstry and how the fellows have brought “tremendous value” to the organization. Read the full article here.

UW, PNNL to Host Energy Research Center Focusing on Bio-Inspired Design and Assembly

The United States Department of Energy has awarded an expected $10.75 million, four-year grant to the University of Washington, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and other partner institutions for a new interdisciplinary research center to define the enigmatic rules that govern how molecular-scale building blocks assemble into ordered structures — and give rise to complex hierarchical materials. The Center for the Science of Synthesis Across Scales, or CSSAS, will bring together researchers from biology, engineering and the physical sciences to uncover new insights into how molecular interactions control assembly and apply these principles toward creating new materials with novel and revolutionary properties for applications in energy technology. Learn more here.

Starbucks Joins Pearl Jam to Raise Funds for Unsheltered Families in King County

As Pearl Jam gets ready for their much-awaited Home Shows later this week, Starbucks is inviting customers to donate to the band’s Home Fund, which will support a range of organizations in King County, Washington working to move people to stable housing and keep people from becoming unsheltered in the first place. From July 31 through August 12, The Starbucks Foundation will match 2:1 every dollar customers donate to the Home Fund through the Starbucks® mobile app or online at up to $500,000, all to address the crisis of unsheltered families and children sleeping outside. With this donation, The Starbucks Foundation’s support over the last two years alone for unsheltered families in King County will total more than $3 million. Learn more here.



Around The Table: Boeing, Wells Fargo

In ‘Around The Table,’ we highlight member news and share information on industry trends. This week, we shine the spotlight on Boeing and Wells Fargo.

Boeing Announces Additional $350,000 Grant to “A Better Chance” Nonprofit Partner
Credit: A Better Chance

Boeing recently announced an additional grant award of $350,000 to “A Better Chance” (ABC) – a nonprofit organization working to increase the number of well-educated young minorities in the United States. Grant dollars will help fund the College Preparatory Schools Program (CPSP) and Alumni Relations program. “This additional investment, along with our previously announced commitment, will help lift up our young people and in turn improve our local communities,” said Tim Keating, executive vice president of Government Operations at Boeing. “Our relationship with ABC is stronger than ever, and we hope this show of support enables the organization to further its impact, bringing educational equity to children across the county.” Learn more here.

Wells Fargo to Invest Nearly $2 Million in Rainier Valley
Credit: Wells Fargo

HomeSight and the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund announced nearly $2 million in grants and lending capital from Wells Fargo at the Summer Othello-bration event on June 16th. The funds will be used to help improve the Othello/Rainier Valley community and create more diverse small business ownership in South Seattle. Wells Fargo is working with HomeSight and its South Seattle community partners On Board Othello, Rainier Beach Action Coalition, and the Multicultural Community Coalition to implement a comprehensive, resident-driven neighborhood plan that includes a meal program for seniors, technical assistance for neighborhood small businesses, and an online media clearinghouse. Learn more here.