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.
After witnessing the effects of COVID-19 on locals, we searched for a way to help those struggling in the communities we serve. 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. “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 doubled as more people relied on their services.
- Family Support Center. Among its many services, it operates 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. Little Red Schoolhouse 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 local communities.
- The United Ways of the Pacific Northwest’s Wildfire Relief Fund. The fund helps those affected by the wildfires in the Pacific Northwest.
- Family Education and Support Services. Provides critical services to families to help keep children safe.
- Community Youth Services. Provides short- or long-term care for youth needing a safe, nurturing home.
- Olympia-Tumwater Foundation. A continuation of the Schmidt Family philanthropic legacy.
We give credit for much of this success to the generosity of our 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.