Story by
Margaret D. Smith

Photo by
John Keatley

Every year, students in the Seattle Pacific University School of Business and Economics (SBE) get the chance to nominate local businesses for five Pacific Northwest Good Works Awards. Sponsored by KCTS Television, these awards honor companies that demonstrate philanthropy and public service without doing it for promotional purposes.

One of the awards, the Environmental Award, went this year to Patagonia, which funds an internship program that offers staff members two months' paid leave to work for a nonprofit environmental group. Microsoft received the Corporate Citizen Award, in part for its dollar-for-dollar match of employee gifts of up to $12,000 each.

The winner of this year's Small Business Award was Gary.Manuel Salon in Seattle. Among their many volunteer activities, salon employees give free haircuts and manicures to the elderly in Heritage House, a congregate care facility. Salon co-owner Gary Howse sees a number of benefits to doing good, not just making money. "We get to help out a lot of people, and we get individual satisfaction. And this fulfills the company's mission: making people feel good. That's better than making people just look good."

Two Good Works Awards went to longtime local companies run by Seattle Pacific alumni. The Good Neighbor Award was given to Vitamilk Dairy, whose president is Gerald Teel '63. Vitamilk was praised for delivering free milk each week to Boys and Girls Clubs. And the Community Partnerships Award was handed to Oak Harbor Freight Lines, run by Edward VanderPol '72, for transporting an average of 28,000 pounds of food each day to food banks around the state.

In past years, the honors have gone to popular Northwest organizations such as the Seattle Mariners and Pagliacci Pizza. Students who nominate winners join the organization's representative at the annual awards presentation hosted by the Seattle Rotary. The KCTS television program "Serious Money" televised this year's winners in February.

Professor of Business Ethics Kenman Wong appreciates the chance to show undergraduates the good side of business. "We often study what not to do," Wong says. "This is a chance to applaud positive role-modeling in the community." "These are 'good' businesses," agrees SBE Dean Jeff Van Duzer. "While not as flashy as Enron, these companies mark the way out of the dead-end Enron model. This is where we should be going."

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