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Another Way BOMA Members are “Better by Association”

Tuesday, January 14, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Christine Miclat
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Another Way BOMA Members are “Better by Association”

 By Rod Kauffman, BOMA President


I grew up hearing the saying “many hands make light work.”  Another was “love finds expression in doing and giving.” I think my favorite has always been a quote by Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”


I have always been encouraged by the value BOMA leaders have continually placed in dedicating a proportion of our collective efforts and resources to our community.  For several years it was a bit challenging to organize these efforts as we would change our community outreach beneficiary almost every year.  Then about 15 years ago, the BOMA Board adopted the concept of sticking with one organization to help for three-year cycles that could be renewed.  That plan has worked well and now we have a rich history of making a difference and helping many in need.



Ryther Child Center 2003-2008: BOMA and its wonderful member firms and individuals provided goods, services and at least $10,000 in cash each year to Ryther Child Center in Lake City, from 2003-2008.  During those 6 years, BOMA members contributed some $75,000 in cash and an estimated $72,000 in labor hours in a series of work days each year.  Another $50-$70,000 was donated by BOMA Industry Partner firms who installed a new HVAC system, rewired their entire education facilities for grounded GFI electrical outlets and installed a sprinkler system for their playfield.  BOMA members also help fund and erected an extensive swing and slide area.  BOMA members painted Ryther’s resident cottages and furniture was donated many times over the years. 



Mark Barbieri, BOMA Seattle King County Chair, and Lee Grogg, Ryther Executive, 2007



One of my favorite memories of that time was when we were doing a Ryther update at a BOMA monthly lunch and the speaker was talking about how the children came to Ryther most often with the clothes on their backs and the rest and their personal items stuffed in a plastic garbage bag because they had no luggage or personal bags to hold their things.  During that lunch, a senior executive from one of BOMA’s security member companies was visiting from their national office back east.  A week after that lunch, I received a call that 80 duffle bags had been delivered to Ryther from that firm for the children so they would have their own bag to hold their own things.  One BOMA Board member personally donated a large passenger van.


When BOMA’s Board decided to begin helping another organization, BOMA left an ongoing legacy and connection with Ryther Child Center.  Dave Herr from MacDonald Miller and Coleen Spratt now with Nitze-Stagen, both went on to serve on Ryther’s Board and as their chairman.  BOMA members have also continued a legacy connection with Ryther Child Center and for 16 years now, our members have provided 150 or more gifts for the children every Christmas.




Kim Berg-Jones taking a tag from the Ryther Giving Tree.



DESC – The Downtown Emergency Services Center 2009-2015: in 2014, the BOMA Board decided to select a new community outreach partner.  A special task force was formed to research and nominate a new organization.  The DESC was selected because their reach is county wide and they help the very people BOMA’s members interact with in and around their properties every day.   


BOMA’s association with the DESC turned out to be 7 years.  In that time, BOMA, through our member’s generosity, contributed $70,000 in cash and another estimated $80,000 in goods and services.  Richard Stevenson now retired from Clise Properties and a former BOMA Board Chairman, served on the DESC’s Board and as their chairman. BOMA leveraged our special relationship with the DESC to learn more about the challenge to end homelessness and complicated issues and opportunities to help better the circumstances for people without shelter.



2011 Major Sponsors and Coleen Spratt, BOMA Seattle King County Chair



The Bellevue Men’s Shelter 2016-2017: In 2016 BOMA’s Board began looking to focus our community outreach help on the east side of the lake. While the task force was researching candidate organizations, BOMA was coincidentally contacted by a former BOMA Board member and Chairman, Bill Cote, with Integrated Real Estate.  Bill had become aware of a real need and thought that BOMA might be well suited to help. He was correct. 


We quickly learned that there is only one men’s shelter in Bellevue, and it was operated by an organization called Congregations for the Homeless (CFH).  This organization works with churches of many different faiths who would volunteer their facilities on a rotating basis to house men overnight. 


A few years ago, CFH began to use a City of Bellevue owned property just east of 405 between NE 4th and 8th streets to provide a day center and overnight shelter in the winter months. They could not operate overnight year-round because of fire code issues. There have been other challenges with the space and shelter operations because there was no indoor restroom facilities, forcing the use of portable toilets outdoors. The only shower and laundry facilities they had access to were being provided by a mobile truck and this truck was going away.


The city had some funds that could be used to upgrade the site, but not enough. The estimated cost to build out showers, a laundry room, restroom and some cooking facilities was estimated at $450,000.  Washington State law allows a municipality to engage negotiated no-bid contracts up to $350,000. In some of the most generous gifts to our community, four BOMA member firms stepped up in a huge way to donate labor and materials by way of below cost bids to get the needed upgrades done and keep the costs to the state mandated limit. 


McKinstry’s team did all the scoping and cost estimating and permit work at no cost.  McDonald-Miller did all the kitchen venting which was especially challenging and costly due to space constraints and fire code requirements.  American Mechanical did extensive plumbing and mechanical work.  SME Electric did the lighting and electrical upgrades.  These firms “invited” their suppliers to help with the fixtures and equipment. 


In 2019, it was announced that an effort led by former Bellevue City Council member and real estate colleague, Kevin Wallace, was successful in getting the philanthropic contributions needed to install fire sprinklers so the overnight shelter can operate year-round.  BOMA and our members also contributed cash.




The Sophia Way 2018-2019 and Continuing

In 2018, after providing significant support to the Bellevue Men’s shelter, BOMA’s Board of Directors asked BOMA’s Community Outreach Task Force to research and recommend a women-focused services organization that BOMA could support. The task force considered many organizations and ultimately recommended The Sophia Way.


The Sophia Way
The Sophia Way provides shelter, social services, temporary and permanent housing for women without shelter in King County. The Sophia Way is currently the only women’s shelter on the eastside. The average age of the women they help is over 50. The Sophia Way has housed as many as 60 women per night and provided 16,756 bed-nights in 2018. They have helped 1500 women each year and served over 28,000 meals.


Many of the women that seek help from The Sophia Way find themselves without shelter because of situations out of their control. Their overnight shelter, Sophia’s Place, is located in the lower level of a church in Bellevue. BOMA Members have been helping with facility needs.


BOMA Gives Back
Since BOMA’s partnership with The Sophia Way began, BOMA has contributed $20,000 through the generosity of our members and their companies.


The first project BOMA undertook was to purchase and install an awning to protect the women from the hot summer sun and inclement fall and winter weather while they wait for the day services center to open. A special thanks to Bob Barlish of Swinerton Builders, who helped connect our team to the contractor we hired to do the work.


Before the awning installation.
After the awning installation.


First Day of Caring
On August 15, 2019, nine
BOMA member volunteers donated their time to clean and paint the storage areas of Sophia’s Place. Volunteers painted dirty, gray walls a bright white and installed new LED lighting, totally transforming a dark room into a bright one.

A huge thank you to the BOMA members that donated their time and resources. Sound Painting Solutions donated 5 gallons of high-quality reflective paint and Bo Kendall and David Grove from Seahurst Electric donated and installed new lighting fixtures.

First Day of Caring Volunteers


Additional volunteers consisted of Jose Aleman (Schnitzer West), Paul Nollette (Clise Properties), Patrick Miller (HARBRO Emergency and Restoration), Kristal-Lynn Archer (Cort Furniture), Karen Coleman (Precor Commercial Fitness), Eric Luncinski (Precor Commercial Fitness) and Justin Wallander (BOMA).


Second Day of Caring
Due to the high volume of donations and the constantly changing needs of the women utilizing the shelter, the storage areas were in need of reorganization. On August 21, 2019, BOMA member volunteers spent the afternoon cleaning, organizing and implementing a new labeling system designed to help employees and volunteers find and store items quickly and efficiently. With this effort, The Sophia Way team can spend more time focusing on the needs of the women.


Second Day of Caring Volunteers


It was quite a team effort and volunteers included: David Corrigan (Enwave), Megan Rockstad (CBRE), Peter Marshall (Western Specialty Contractors), Jackie Davis (Fischer Restoration), Hayley Hughes (Unico Properties), Jeremy Kuhn (Commercial Cleanings Systems), Angela Merculief (Skotdal Real Estate), Rene Randall (Reef Parking), Liza Skorupski (Steelwave), Rachel Johanson (CBRE), Scott Baluch (Unique Elevator), Jenn York (Avara Construction), Justin Wallander (BOMA), Christine Miclat (BOMA), Megan Furstenberg (BOMA) and Amber Eswani (BOMA).


How You Can Help
There is still more work to be done and about $12,500 worth of costs that still need to be covered. If you or your company would like to help, please contact the BOMA office at 206-622-8924 or visit the BOMA Community Outreach page.


We are better, together.

Thank you to our first contributers:
Hudson Pacific Properties
Kerry Carlson
Allison Delong
Jeff Myrter


Corporate and personal donations are all welcome! For questions, please contact the BOMA office at 206-622-892.


Important links:
Photos from the Volunteer Event
Contribute to The Sophia Way
The Sophia Way Needs


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