Dr. Gloria Burgess and the Community Foundation of Snohomish County have been selected as the 2024 Beloved Community Award recipients by the Lift Every Voice Legacy (LEVL) board of directors.
The awards will be presented by LEVL at the 6th Annual Tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Inspiring a Beloved Community in Song, Spoken Word and Dance program beginning at 6 p.m. Jan. 15 at the Edmonds Waterfront Center. General admission tickets for the evening program are $15 and can be purchased through Eventbrite or at the LEVL website: beloved4all.org.
According to a LEVL announcement, the two honorees have long histories of enriching local communities through their work in philanthropy, continuous learning, mentorship, and economic empowerment.
Burgess, who lived in Edmonds for 36 years before her recent out-of-state relocation, is CEO and president of Jazz, Inc. and is recognized as a trusted advisor, consultant and executive coach locally and worldwide, the LEVL announcement said. She is also known for her grounded approach in intercultural competence, appreciative inquiry and advocacy on tough issues related to race, reconciliation, reflective thought and leadership.
“She has a calming nature but the strength and depth of her knowledge and wisdom has made her a lasting icon of coaching and mentoring to many of us for more than three decades,” said Donnie Y. Griffin, LEVL’s Founder and president, quoting a statement from one of her award nominators.
In addition, along with her husband John, Gloria administers the family foundation providing program support and financial assistance to children and youth with emphasis on leadership, technology, the arts and cross-cultural citizenship.
The other Beloved Community award honoree — the Everett-based Community Foundation of Snohomish County (cf-sc) — “does not make much of a fuss about promoting its work throughout Snohomish County but its fingerprints can be found on the good works of several non-profit projects in small and large population service areas. This is particularly the case among Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) community-based organizations,” said Griffin.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation nutured and financially assisted over 70 BIPOC-led nonprofit organizations in the county as part of a CARES Act cohort support group — many of which would have otherwise never survived the harsh economic downturn, Griffin added. According to the organization’s public statement on equity: “The Community Foundation of Snohomish County has made a commitment to advance equity and social justice by transforming itself into a diverse, equitable and inclusive foundation.”
With 50% of its staff and 75% of its board of directors consisting of people of color, it appears the foundation is living up to its equity values internally as they are extremally, Griffin said.
“Dr. Gloria Burgess and the Community Foundation of Snohomish County are excellent role models of our Beloved Community values — creating communities free of hatred, injustice and poverty,” Griffin said. “LEVL is excited to shine a light on their good works.” In addition to the evening program, A Beloved Community – Morning Program for children and families will take place from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 15 at the Edmonds Waterfront Center. Admission to the morning program is free and will feature local performers in addition to a variety of fun activities designed for children and families such as a cooking demonstration, art workshops, tap and ballet dance lessons and storytelling.