Submitted by O Bee Credit Union
In 2020 O Bee Credit Union donated over $50,000 to local charitable organizations through their combined “Masks-for-Charity” initiative and brewhouse t-shirt donations.
Soon after COVID upturned so many lives this year, O Bee saw a real need in the communities they serve and looked for a way to help. When the state-wide mask mandate went into effect it sparked an idea. “We thought, why not offer our iconic Olympia, Rainier and Pabst beer logos on masks in exchange for a small donation,” said Lee Wojnar, VP of Marketing. The response was overwhelming. The masks were wildly popular. “People were happy to donate. Now the masks are practically collectors’ items because they sell out so quickly,” he added.
“We raised more money in six months through mask donations than we did over two years with our popular brewery t-shirts,” said Wojnar. To date, masks brought in about $30,000 and t-shirts $20,000. O Bee raised the first $10,000 with their masks in the month of April. Many people offered well over the $5 suggested contribution. Soon after, O Bee began donating money to community organizations focused on helping those impacted by the pandemic. O Bee has donated between $3,000 and $10,000 each to the following non-profits:
- Thurston County Food Bank & Nourish Pierce County. Both food banks faced shortages when a surge in demand for their services doubled as more people out of work relied on their services.
- Family Support Services, among their many services, they operate Pear Blossom Place, a 24/7 family shelter in Olympia that was impacted by a fire in May displacing families already impacted by COVID.
- Little Red Schoolhouse which provides school supplies, backpacks and gently used clothes to students in need at the start of each school year.
- Homeless Backpacks, an organization committed to fighting food insecurity for homeless children and teens in our community.
- The United Ways of the Pacific Northwest’s Wildfire Relief Fund helps those affected by the wildfires in the Pacific Northwest in August.
- Family Education and Support Services, provides critical services to families to help keep children safe.
- Community Youth Services, providing short- or long-term care for youth needing a safe, nurturing home.
- Olympia-Tumwater Foundation, which continues the philanthropic legacy of the Schmidt Family.
O Bee gives credit for much of this success to the generosity of its members. Without the support and enthusiasm of the community it would not be possible to have raised so much so quickly. The fundraising continues and most branches have some of the mask-styles and shirts still available, including sizes and designs for children.