BI foundation gives out philanthropy awards

The Bainbridge Community Foundation’s Philanthropy Awards were presented Nov. 3.

Akuyea Karen Vargas won the inaugural Philanthropic Spark Award; Eleven Winery the Outstanding Philanthropic Co. Award; and Bainbridge High School Tiny Homes Project the Outstanding Youth Philanthropists Award. The foundation also posthumously recognized Susan Guffey for her outstanding philanthropic commitment to Bainbridge Island.

Vargas received her award for inspiring others to give to and serve important community issues. She moved with her family to BI in 1992 and got involved with the school when her kids were discriminated against due to the color of their skin, a BCF news release says. She advocated for their social, emotional and cultural needs, and over time the causes expanded to the entire community. She mobilized diverse groups and people in the county through various initiatives and nonprofits.

Giving back is an integral part of Matt Albee and Eleven Winery’s business model. It donates 1 percent of its annual income to charity and buys most of its products from philanthropic companies. It also supports local charities with gifts of auction items and discounts on wine for fundraising, as well as hosting events at its winery.

BHS architecture and construction students built two tiny homes and delivered them to provide affordable housing in King County. Many of the students are girls, who are traditionally underrepresented in those fields. The students were given up to $1,300, depending on the time spent on the project, led by Sean Eaton.

Meanwhile, Guffey preferred anonymity to the spotlight, but that didn’t stop her from being a community leader and counselor to numerous local nonprofits. Guffey, who died earlier this year, often provided seed money to enable new programs to be built.