BECU Celebrates its 75th Anniversary

Gives $80,000 to Puget Sound Area Affordable Housing Efforts

Dec 07, 2010, 11:00 ET from BECU

TUKWILA, Wash., Dec. 7, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- BECU proudly announces that December 7 marks its 75th anniversary as a financial cooperative. BECU started in 1935, when Washington state and the country were struggling under the weight of a collapsed economy spurred by the Great Depression.  At the time, to work at The Boeing Company machinists needed to provide their own tools. Unfortunately, they found it impossible to find banks lending funds for the purchase of the tools. Inspired by a Reader's Digest article on the benefits of credit unions, 18 employees organized the Fellowship Credit Union to provide a banking alternative for themselves and their fellow Boeing workers. Each of the original founders contributed 50 cents, amounting to total beginning assets of $9. Chartered on December 7, 1935, the credit union, now known as BECU, has grown to over 665,000 members, over $8 billion in assets, and serves state residents as well as Boeing employees.


Over the last 75 years, BECU has focused, and continues to focus, on serving its members and the communities in which they reside.  A primary area of focus is affordable housing and in 2010 BECU awarded grants totaling $80,000 to non-profit organizations committed to creating and sustaining affordable housing. Four recipients were selected to each receive $20,000 to further enable their community outreach efforts.

BECU requested and accepted proposals for grant consideration from non-profit organizations serving King, Pierce, Snohomish, Kitsap, Skagit and Thurston counties. After a comprehensive review process Housing Hope of Everett, Vision House of Renton, Plymouth Housing Group of Seattle and South Sound Outreach Services of Tacoma were selected as the 2010 BECU Housing Grant recipients.

Housing Hope will use the $20,000 grant in support of Lincoln Hill Village, a unique affordable housing complex planned for Stanwood, Washington. Plans for Lincoln Hill Village include emergency shelter, service supported transitional housing, below-market rental housing and sweat equity homeownership opportunities.

Vision House will put the $20,000 grant towards basic construction costs for Vision House Jacob's Well (VHJW), a planned project that will provide affordable housing units in Shoreline, Washington, to serve families in both King and south Snohomish counties. The complex will include a licensed child care center, after-school program space and a counseling center.

Plymouth Housing Group will use the $20,000 grant towards funding their Housing Support Program. The grant will help pay for program costs including supplies, outside counseling services, overhead and individual grants to help residents with clothing and household needs.

South Sound Outreach Services will use the $20,000 grant to increase the capacity of their financial and housing counseling program. This program helps nearly 4,000 seniors, disabled, and economically vulnerable people each year access the resources they need to achieve sustainable, independent living.

Each of the selected non-profit organizations plans are contingent on charitable support such as BECU Housing Grants. "We understand that affordable options and support are the biggest issues many face when it comes to finding a home. To help overcome this obstacle, BECU is investing in the work of non-profit organizations to develop strong vibrant communities throughout the region," says Debbie Wege, BECU Community Affairs Manager. BECU will begin a new cycle for housing grants in 2011.

About BECU

BECU is a not-for profit credit union owned by members. With more than 665,000 members and more than $9.0 billion in assets, BECU is the largest credit union in Washington and one of the top five financial cooperatives in the country. BECU currently operates over 40 locations in the Puget Sound region. All Washington state residents and students attending Washington colleges and universities are eligible to join. Learn more at