Connie Ballmer & Ballmer Group to be honored with the 2021 A.K. Guy Award

The Y honors Connie Ballmer’s platform of community service and long-standing commitment to children and families

Seattle, Washington


Seattle, Sept. 03, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SEATTLE—The YMCA of Greater Seattle will recognize the leadership and platform of community service of Connie Ballmer and Ballmer Group at the A.K. Guy Award on September 29, 2021. This virtual event is a celebration of volunteerism and Connie’s courageous activism, inquiry, and commitment to increasing economic mobility in our region and nationally.

The A.K. Guy Award is presented to individuals, couples, families, or groups who exemplify the ideals of the late Albert K. Guy through their outstanding volunteer service and dedication to social responsibility and equity and justice for all. A true Seattleite, A.K. Guy (1892–1983) graduated from the former Broadway High School in 1910. He served as President of G.O. Guy Drugs, was a 45-year member of the Seattle Rotary Club, a member of Queen Anne United Methodist Church, and a fellow of Seattle Pacific University. First presented in 1984 to Honorable Joel Pritchard, past Honorees of the A.K Guy award include Jeff & Tricia Raikes, Matt Griffin & Evelyne Rozner, Norman & Constance Rice, William H. Gates, Tomio Moriguchi, the Boeing Company & Frank Shrontz, Safeco & Roger Eigsti, Rev. Samuel B. McKinney, and many more.

Connie Ballmer and Ballmer Group were selected to receive the A.K. Guy Award for 2021 for their leadership and courageous commitment to increase economic mobility through strategic investments in our communities and to create systemic change through the alignment of government, philanthropic, and social service sectors. Connie Ballmer is the Co-Founder of Ballmer Group, whose mission is to improve economic mobility for children and families in the United States who are disproportionately likely to remain in poverty. Connie’s long-standing philanthropic focus has been on the well-being of children, especially those in the foster care system.

Since its inception, one major focus of Ballmer Group’s has been multi-year, general operating support to many non-profits to strengthen their capacity and to help ensure sustainability. This commitment has allowed many critical local organizations to thrive, including Amara, Childhaven, Friends of Youth, Friends of the Children, Treehouse, Mockingbird, Olive Crest, Ryther, and the YMCA of Greater Seattle, to name a few.

Through advocacy efforts, Connie Ballmer and Ballmer Group also contributed to the creation of Washington state’s Department of Children, Youth and Families, which works to ensure that individuals thrive through a healthy birth and stable family, a safe childhood and adolescence, a good education, and a career that can support a family.

“Their strategic investments have enabled the YMCA of Greater Seattle to grow the number of foster homes supported and licensed by the Y by 500% in the past five years, and provide evidence-based comprehensive care that enables youth aging out of foster care to develop their fullest potential in spirit, mind, and body,” said Loria Yeadon, President & CEO of the YMCA of Greater Seattle.

An 18-year-old in extended foster care recently said at the last meeting with their Y service team, "It felt like the ending of a TV show, with lots of happy tears and celebrations." They said they could not have met their goals without the support of their whole team.

Another 10-year-old youth in foster care shared, "I am proud that I've grown and that I have a lot of supportive adults in my life."

Another significant effort by Ballmer Group has been an initial slate of $38M in grants to support Washington state’s behavioral health system and workforce, through grants to the University of Washington, the Washington Council for Behavioral Health, and the Washington Health Care Authority. Among other things, the grants will support hundreds of students in master's programs in social work and mental health counseling who will go on to work in community-based behavioral health programs.

The A.K. Guy Award will be presented as part of a virtual celebration and volunteer activation event on September 29, 2021, from 6:00 -7:30 pm. To learn more about the event, it’s history, and how to register and get involved, please visit seattleymca.org/akguy

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The YMCA of Greater Seattle is the Northwest’s leading nonprofit organization strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Founded in 1876, the Y reaches more than 238,000 people of all backgrounds, abilities and financial circumstances annually through 13 branches, two overnight camps and more than 200 program sites throughout King and south Snohomish counties. It nurtures more than 92,000 kids and teens to develop their gifts and give back to our community and engages 23,000 volunteers who contribute more than 388,000 hours of service each year. Visit seattleymca.org.

For more information about the YMCA of Greater Seattle, email: awilliams@seattleymca.org

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Connie Ballmer will be honored September 29th for her impacts on foster care, youth development, removing barriers to economic inequalities and advocating for greater access to mental health services. (YMCA of Greater Seattle) Dorothy and her husband A.K. Guy. The award in his namesake honors Guy's lifelong commitment to volunteerism and inspired generations to "show up" in times of need and help each other. The Y carriers on his lessons and honors people, groups and organizations who live by Guy's example and help make communities stronger and healthier.  (YMCA of Greater Seattle)

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