The Association of Washington Business has recognized 11 Washington employers for their exceptional commitment to philanthropy and corporate citizenship.

The recipients of this year’s awards include an Eastern Washington agriculture company that rallied to keep a small town from disappearing; a beef processor that helped stock the empty shelves of food banks with free meat; and a design studio that figured out a way to introduce students to the world of art. The awards were presented Tuesday evening at The Davenport Hotel in Spokane during AWB’s annual Spring Meeting. (

Among the winners and their awards are:

Projects the Mobilize People into Action: AB Washington Beef Processing Plant, an Agri Beef Co., Toppenish
Agri Beef Co. has long been one of the most dedicated supporters of Second Harvest, the nonprofit organization that fights hunger throughout the state. Recently, the company took its commitment to an even higher level by pioneering Beef Counts, a program that mobilized the beef industry to provide free beef for food bank clients. Protein-rich foods play an important role in the development of muscle tissue for children and adults, and they help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Yet they make up just 4 percent of Second Harvest’s inventory. Thanks to the program initiated by Robert Rebholtz, Agri Beef president and CEO, and Rick Stott, executive vice president, the Washington beef industry now provides thousands of people with beef products, something that low-income food bank clients had come to view as a luxury.

Revitalization & Development: Tyson Foods, Pasco
The people of Tyson Foods understand that their actions and decisions have an impact, and that serving the global community is consistent with the company’s core values. That’s why Tyson employees work with hunger relief organizations, help with disaster recovery and contribute to organizations that invest in young people. In Pasco, the team at the Tyson Fresh Meats processing plant is a contributor to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties, giving both time and money to the clubs throughout the year, and cooking and serving hamburgers at the end-of-the-year picnic. Employees also support Junior Achievement, typically through monetary donations and staff contributions in local classrooms. This year, however, a member of the management team will teach entrepreneurial skills to elementary students.

“These awards highlight what we have always known: Washington businesses take their responsibility to the community seriously,” said AWB President Don Brunell. “The 11 employers we honored this year not only displayed that commitment, but they also showed that it’s possible to find new and more effective ways to give back. Need will never go away, but the ways to address it must evolve. These businesses are leading the way.”

Source: AWB