The United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties (UWBF) in Washington state has a big mission: partner with individuals, businesses, and nonprofits “to address challenges that no one agency can solve alone, and provide the building blocks of opportunity—education, income and health—that every person needs to thrive.”

In the past two years, the nonprofit organization has helped improved the lives of more than 58,900 people.

UWBF recently started a COVID-19 community response fund to direct resources to local nonprofits providing food, childcare and mental and behavioral health services during the coronavirus pandemic. Bechtel has frequently partnered with UWBF as a member of the community for more than 40 years through our work on the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Project (WTP) in Richland.

Strength in Numbers

When the Bechtel Group Foundation, which is Bechtel’s philanthropic organization, created the Bechtel COVID-19 Relief Fund, UWBF was a natural choice as a partner in helping communities coping with the pandemic.

On May 6, Valerie McCain, Bechtel project director at the WTP, virtually delivered a $100,000 check from the Bechtel Group Foundation to LoAnn Ayers, CEO of the United Way of Benton and Franklin Counties.

“This is an amazing and resilient community," said McCain.  "By supporting the United Way’s fund, we are supporting many nonprofits working at the frontlines helping those in greatest need. I’m honored that we can help our friends and neighbors in these most challenging of times.”

In a news release, Ayers said: “This generous gift provides an incredible infusion to help individuals and families struggling with hunger, depression, family violence and abuse. We will use it to do what we are best at — bolster the capacity of local nonprofits to fill critical gaps in services. It will help local nonprofits, which have been draining their savings, continue to meet extraordinary demand.”

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