SanMar: Doing the Right Thing, No Matter What
It was pouring rain when employees from SanMar Corporation, an Issaquah-based supplier of uniforms and accessories, gathered to kick off this year’s annual employee giving campaign. Balloons were blowing everywhere as more than 250 attendees gathered for the outdoor event — but that didn’t matter when Bailey-Boushay House (BBH) Executive Director Brian Knowles came on stage.
“Brian talked about Bailey’s work and the community they serve,” says Jennifer Larson, SanMar’s vice president of Human Resources. “Everyone was so engaged by his message and moved by their impact.”
A SanMar employee for over 25 years spoke after Brian, sharing a story about how BBH provided incredible, end-of-life care for a close friend in the early '90s.
“Hearing first-hand how this organization impacted one of our team members really drove home how special Bailey-Boushay House is,” Jennifer says.
SanMar made BBH the focus of their 2019 employee giving after learning how BBH serves those with HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions. Employees were excited about how the organization not only provides medical support for their community, but also offers warm meals, shelter, mental health services and many other resources that their clients wouldn’t otherwise be able to access.
Many SanMar employees became even more inspired after Brian invited them to tour the facility. They took time out of their days to see the space and learn first-hand about how it serves the community. One employee, who is also a talented magician, was so moved that he volunteered to put on a magic show at BBH.
“With Bailey-Boushay House, Virginia Mason saw a need in the community when there was a huge fear and stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, and stepped in to help. They did — and continue to do — the right thing, no matter what. That’s why we support them.”
This year’s campaign was no small event. SanMar hosted raffles, dunk tanks and fundraising competitions between departments. Many company leaders also pledged matching gifts to encourage their teams to support the cause. These efforts even got remote employees and teams from distribution centers across the country — totaling nearly 4,000 employees — excited about supporting BBH. These efforts raised more than $120,000 for the organization.
“One of our company values is doing the right thing,” Jennifer says. “With Bailey-Boushay House, Virginia Mason saw a need in the community when there was a huge fear and stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, and stepped in to help. They did — and continue to do — the right thing, no matter what. That’s why we support them.”