Employees at Bellingham's Saturna Capital donate bonuses; total tops $144,000

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDDecember 30, 2013 

BELLINGHAM - An unusual end-of-the-year donation program by a financial services company continues to pay dividends for the nonprofit community.

Saturna Capital employees and the company are donating $144,500 to 49 nonprofit organizations. The money was raised through a program in which employees donated their year-end bonuses to charities of their choice, with Saturna chipping in three-and-a-half times the size of the bonus.

More than half of Saturna's 62 eligible employees opted to donate their bonuses to charity.

Now in its seventh consecutive year, the program has sent a total of $847,250 to nonprofits.

Along with raising money, the program's goals are to educate employees about philanthropy and to learn about needs in the local community, said Jane Carten, Saturna's president and CEO. She said the program has worked well, with many employees joining local nonprofit boards and donating time to those organizations.

"They (employees) are encouraged to explore and evaluate many organizations, especially those in their local communities, in order to make the greatest impact," she said.

The organization receiving the largest donation, as directed by employees, was Bellingham BMX Racing, which received $9,000. Carten said several employees and their children are involved in the organization, which built a BMX track off of Guide Meridian in 2012.

Other nonprofits receiving the largest donations include Western Washington University Foundation ($8,000), Bellingham Food Bank ($6,500), Blue Skies for Children ($4,500), F.A.C.E.S. Northwest ($4,500), Sean Humphrey House ($4,500), UPLIFT Charity ($4,500) and Whatcom Humane Society ($4,500).

Reach DAVE GALLAGHER at dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2269.

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