DELIVERING: Northwest Harvest CEO Thomas Reynolds at the Cherry Street Food Bank on First Hill in Seattle.
GOLD AWARD: NORTHWEST HARVEST
Location: Seattle | Employees: 80
Top Exec: Thomas Reynolds, CEO
Hunger relief agency Northwest Harvest is 50 years young this year, and CEO Thomas Reynolds says the statewide organization is constantly reinventing itself.
Northwest Harvest distributes food to about 375 partner organizations. According to the nonprofit, one in eight Washingtonians live in poverty, and one in five live in a household that struggles with hunger. During the 2008 recession, Reynolds says there was a surge in need in Seattle, and although the economic dynamics have improved, the need has not diminished.
“Working, low-income families are now faced with a choice,” he says. “They’re choosing between higher health care costs, higher costs of rents or mortgages, and higher costs of food.”
With continued job growth drawing more people to Seattle, Reynolds believes the need will continue to grow. “I think that [job growth] is driving up housing costs, so that the need for families to choose how to spend that minimum-wage amount of monthly salary is going to continue. Specifically, it’s kids and seniors who are the most vulnerable. They make up between 35 to 50 percent of all of the food that we distribute.”
SILVER AWARD: LEADERSHIP TOMORROW
Location: Seattle | Employees: 4
Top Exec: Jan Levy, executive director
For the past 35 years, the Leadership Tomorrow program has been helping develop and refine the leadership skills of the region’s emerging thought leaders and influencers.
Each year, the program selects 80 candidates from the private, public and nonprofit sectors to explore the seven pillars of a healthy community and the specific issues affecting the Puget Sound region: neighborhoods and community, environment, education, economy, arts and culture, health and wellness, and basic needs. Graduates of the program include senators, representatives, council members, mayors and activists.