Submitted by Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County
The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) has named Heather Powell as the most recent recipient of the Local Hero Award, for her leadership and dedication to serving children and families in Whatcom County.
The Local Hero Award is given to those who have made noteworthy contributions to their communities. WSBA President Rajeev Majumdar presented the award during the Board of Governors virtual meeting on Friday, June 26. Powell was nominated by the Whatcom County Bar Association.
As the CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County since 2013, Powell has a long history of helping children, especially those who are the most in need of support, and continued to help her community even as the COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented challenges. As the health crisis broke, Powell was already in the midst of spending long hours to incorporate the childcare of the newly acquired Kids’ World, an acquisition Powell spearheaded to save that organization from shutting its doors and impacting hundreds of licensed childcare locations serving children of primarily low-income families. The health crisis only inspired her to work even harder to ensure those childcare services would stay open to support families with essential workers.
“Heather knew that it was essential for many low-income working families to have childcare in order for these families to remain working,” said Jennifer Slattery, a partner with Kulshan Law Group. “And so Heather made it happen.”
In further support of her community as it reeled from the COVID-19 pandemic, Powell helped coordinate the Grab & Go meal service, which has been serving up to 1,800 meals a week since March to hungry children throughout Whatcom County. In addition to her role as CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs, Powell recently completed her term as president of the Bellingham Sunrise Rotary Club, in which she was instrumental in an annual auction that generated tens of thousands of dollars for Skookum Kids, a nonprofit supporting children in foster care.
“Heather is a committed, articulate advocate at the local and statewide level for some of the most at-risk youth in our community and regularly collaborates with neighboring Boys & Girls Clubs to benefit kids,” said Boys & Girls Clubs Chief Development Officer Sara L. Maloney. “She possesses an innate ability to share Club kid stories in an authentic, compelling way to garner support. … Heather is an energetic leader who acts with courage, determination, and a desire to make a difference.”