Symetra, a national provider of employee benefits, annuities and life insurance, has committed a $100,000 donation to The Sophia Way, a Bellevue, Washington-based nonprofit dedicated to helping end homelessness for single adult women in King County.
The Symetra funding helped the organization re-open the Eastside emergency shelter for women earlier this month in a new, interim location at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church in Bellevue and keep it operating through the summer. The shelter will ultimately become part of a new, permanent facility in Kirkland for women and families with children scheduled for groundbreaking in 2019.
“The Sophia Way provides such a vital service to women experiencing homelessness in our Eastside community, we were compelled to step up as soon as we understood that even a temporary closure of the emergency shelter could have devastating consequences for those who depend upon it,” said Symetra CEO Margaret Meister. “As Symetra actively explores how we can be part of a comprehensive solution to address the ongoing crisis of homelessness, we’re humbled by the humanitarian work of organizations like The Sophia Way and grateful we could play a role in ensuring there’s an immediate option for shelter for women in need on the Eastside.”
“Symetra’s generous gift has made it possible to keep the shelter for women open during the summer and early fall—a significant milestone for us as it is the first time the shelter will be able to operate year-round,” said Angela Murray, executive director, The Sophia Way, in a press release. “The women we serve were thrilled to hear the news and expressed their relief at knowing that they will continue to have a safe place to sleep at night. Symetra has been a longtime supporter of The Sophia Way, and we are deeply appreciative of their commitment to provide comfort and hope to women experiencing homelessness on the Eastside.”
Symetra’s relationship with the Sophia Way began in 2009, when the organization operated its day center at the Bellevue First Congregational Church’s former location across the street from Symetra headquarters at NE 8th and 108th Ave. NE. The company’s support has expanded over the years to include sponsorship of The Sophia Way’s annual fundraising luncheon event and volunteer support through the Symetra Week of Service. Most recently, as part of the 10th annual Symetra Week of Service, employee-volunteer teams helped prepare the interim shelter location for the June 11 re-opening by cleaning the facility and laundering bedding.