Mithun Receives the PSBJ Healthy Community Champion Award

Date Posted: 06.24.2019

Puget Sound Business Journal

The Puget Sound Business Journal (PSBJ) recently honored Mithun with the 2019 Healthy Community Champion Award in the category of Basic Needs.

In an interview with PSBJ writer Carolyn Bick, Mithun president Dave Goldberg shared insights into the firm’s deep-rooted culture of giving. In fact, the firm’s philanthropic ethic reaches back to its founder, Omer Mithun, who was a professor at the University of Washington, involved in several civic organizations and “always generous in the community.”

Mithun has three primary philanthropic goals: giving back to the community, education (with a primary focus on environmental education) and working with community partners on social issues like homelessness. In 2018, Mithun donated $240,000 in cash and about $300,000 in pro bono work.

Among the pro bono efforts is a family housing project for Somali refugees in Tukwila. The nonprofit developer Forterra explains that Wadajir (which means “together” in Somali) was initially going to be a rehabilitated motel, but with Mithun’s help they were able to create a new residential development and market tailored to this community’s needs.

“What they’ve done is taken it from an aspiration to concept and partially through schematic design,” Forterra President and CEO Michelle Connor said. “They did all of this pro bono.”

Mithun’s work on Wadajir integrates multiple of the firm’s philanthropic priorities. The environmentally sustainable affordable housing project aims to create a replicable model that can help make a dent in the homelessness crisis and provide a safe landing space for refugees for whom Tukwila is a major port of entry.

In addition to project-based activities, Mithun encourages community engagement within its team by offering all staff members two full paid days to work with community non-profit organizations.

When it comes to education, Mithun is endowing a design fellowship at the University of Washington that provides scholarships for design students from underserved communities in order to help create more diversity in the architecture profession.

Read the full article, “Designing with an Eye on the Future,” via the Puget Sound Business Journal (subscription required).