Members of Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) Western Washington Chapter
decided long ago that community outreach would be a cornerstone of its operation. Just one year after the chapter was founded in 1985, the chairman proposed the idea of teaming up with another burgeoning organization: the Make-A-Wish Foundation
of Alaska, Montana, Northern Idaho & Washington. Now, after more than 20 years of working together, ABC’s Western Washington Chapter is the largest non-corporate sponsor of the Make-A-Wish chapter.
"When we were first getting started, we thought it would be a good idea to have one or two charities to sponsor that we could really get involved with," says Kathleen Garrity, president of ABC’s Western Washington Chapter. "Everyone knows or has heard stories of a sick child, so Make-A-Wish was universally appealing."
Last November, the chapter hosted its 25th Annual Dinner Auction, with a portion of the proceeds going to Make-A-Wish. The event had a luau theme, complete with Tahitian dancers and island cuisine. Live and silent auctions also took place, featuring two trips to Arizona, a trip to Sun River Resort in Oregon, a Duchati scooter and many other items.
Between the auction and donations, ABC’s Western Washington Chapter raised $13,600 for the local chapter of Make-A-Wish.
Additionally, Laura, a Wish Child who benefited from the chapter’s previous fundraising efforts, spoke during the dinner about how Make-A-Wish allowed her to pursue her passion for photography while visiting Hawaii. She also presented Grant Larson, 2008 chairman of ABC’s Western Washington Chapter, with a plaque to commemorate the chapter’s involvement in granting her wish.
Because community outreach plays a large role in the chapter, plans for next year’s dinner auction already are under way.
"It is important that chapters look beyond just ABC for opportunities to improve their community," Garrity says. "Make-A-Wish is very appreciative of what we do, and we will continue to work with them in the future."