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United Way is buying a home

The organization says its new place will save money and have better public access.

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By Sharon Salyer / Herald Writer
@NWhealthwriter
Published:
EVERETT - After 13 years in south Everett, United Way of Snohomish County is moving its headquarters to the central part of the city near Everett Station.
United Way is buying an existing two-story building at 3120 McDougall Ave., just off Broadway. The organization expects to be in its new quarters by March 31.
United Way's current headquarters is at 917 134th St. SW.
"Our goals were to lower our expenses, have a greater presence in the community and have a facility that is more functional and able to be used by various groups," said Carl Zapora, the organization's president.
With I-5 nearby and the transit center nearly at its back door, the public will have easy access to the new quarters, Zapora said.
The 20,000-square-foot building cost $3.45 million. United Way plans to occupy the top floor. The building has a meeting room that can hold 50 people and be used by community organizations, Zapora said.
The building's current first-floor tenant, AMO Recoveries Inc., will remain through at least May 2008, he said.
United Way of Snohomish County has received three challenge grants to help it with its building purchase: $300,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, $150,000 from the Boeing Co. and $50,000 from Frontier Bank, he said.
But to get that money, the organization must raise $113,000 for the project by June 30, spokeswoman Deborah Squires said.
Contributions to the building campaign are not being made in lieu of pledges to United Way's annual fund drive, Zapora said. That campaign supports 112 local programs at area organizations that provide wide-ranging services to the area's children and adults.
So far, 36 businesses or individuals have donated to the building fund, he said.
The local United Way board decided about a year ago to begin looking for a new home that the nonprofit could buy instead of rent, Zapora said.
Long-term ownership rather than leasing space will mean decreased overhead.
When the mortgage is paid in about 25 years, United Way will have $150,000 more per year to invest in community programs, Zapora said.
United Way hopes that in the future, the entire building will be filled with other nonprofits, "sharing meeting rooms, technology and possibly staffing," Zapora said.
Reporter Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

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