It’s not every day an employee-run organization gets displayed on a 787 Dreamliner.
“This plane is just spectacular!” said Patty Meissner, president of ECF Puget Sound, as she stood in the shadow of the special 787-9 Dreamliner that rolled out of the hangar last month with a bright pink and purple livery featuring a new Employees Community Fund of Boeing (ECF) logo and branding.
On Sept. 19, at an event at Boeing Future of Flight in Everett, Wash., employees got to see the plane up close — an exciting opportunity for long-time ECF donors who eagerly took advantage of the chance to take pictures in front of the eye-catching livery. The 787 program is certifying the largest full-body decal ever tested on a composite aircraft, and the chance to have the nonprofit showcased like this is especially meaningful for donors.
“It embodies the employees of Boeing who give so generously of their time, talent and treasure, creating for their communities and neighbors a brighter and more vibrant future,” said John Blazey, vice president of Boeing Global Engagement.
The Employees Community Fund of Boeing is an employee-managed nonprofit — one of the largest of its kind the world — that traces its roots back to 1948, when its predecessor organization was started at McDonnell Aircraft. Over the last 70 years, ECF has contributed approximately $1 billion to help nonprofits in Boeing communities.
In addition to employees, community partners also attended the event, including Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin. Before becoming mayor, Franklin was CEO of Cocoon House, a nonprofit providing short and long-term housing options for homeless youth. ECF grants have funded construction of Cocoon House’s facility in Everett.
“I can tell you firsthand the incredible impact this organization has,” Franklin said.
ECF Puget Sound has also long supported the YMCA of Snohomish County with grants that have funded things like youth exercise equipment and a van with a wheelchair lift. A new grant of $500,000, which Meissner announced at the event, will help pay for the construction of a new children’s area at the new YMCA facility in Everett.
“When Boeing employees step up to fund projects like this, many others follow,” said Jennifer Willows, YMCA of Snohomish County’s chief development officer. “I’m thankful for the inspiration they provide and their dedication to the community.”
The livery also represents a strategic transition for ECF; it began a restructuring in 2018 to become a more efficiently run organization for employee donors and nonprofit partners. Previously, ECF was made up of three independent nonprofits – each of which was comprised of various governance structures and followed different operating procedures. The reorganization combined these entities into one nonprofit to streamline processes which will allow individual locations to focus on making grants and building community relationships.
Grantmaking decisions have always been, and will continue to be, made locally by employee volunteers. Any ECF donor in good standing is also eligible to serve on a local committee, now called chapter grantmaking committees. ECF currently has 20 chapters at U.S. Boeing sites.
“I would encourage any employee to get involved,” Meissner said. “It’s so easy to give, and every donation — no matter how small — really adds up.”