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Published August 2006

Tulalips giving back
to community

A long line of grateful people from a variety of 150 community charitable groups and police, fire and emergency departments paraded to the plaza at the Tulalip Tribes’ amphitheater in Quil Ceda Village last month to receive $2.2 million in checks ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Even more impressive is the fact that total contributions for all 14 years of tribal giving were announced for the first time: $22 million. From 1993, when the tribes’ first small casino provided $297,823 in community giving, to 2006, when $2.2 million was shared, the Tulalip Tribes have worked to foster partnerships and good working relationships with their neighbors.

No matter that the tribes’ generosity is spurred in great part by its casino gambling agreements with the state of Washington that dictate certain percentages of their net profits must be shared with charitable groups, as well as with government agencies that are impacted by the casino’s presence.

That’s not the point.

In fact, the tribal members are so openly and genuinely pleased to be providing help to these community groups and agencies that it would be surprising if they didn’t share some of their hard-won wealth each year, regardless of a state covenant.

It’s also evident they take a lot of time picking deserving groups, projects and services. The large welcoming program for the event — dubbed the Tulalip Tribes’ 14th annual Charitable and Community Impact Fund Reception — carried an important tagline: “Helping fellow citizens, neighbors, brothers.”

Charitable groups and their grants included $500 to $160,000 for a variety of causes and organizations, including the YWCA of Snohomish County, the Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett, the American Red Cross, the Stanwood Senior Center, the Marysville Food Bank, the Visitors’ Information Center, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, the Marysville Police Department and the Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce. In addition, donations to Boys & Girls Clubs in the county from 1997 to 2006 have totaled $8.8 million.

“We’ve always been here,” said the master of ceremonies for the program, Quil Ceda Village General Manager John McCoy. “You came to join us, and nobody is going anywhere. We need to work and play together.”

Thanks for the contributions, as well as for the Tulalip Tribes’ great community attitude, should go to all of the tribal members, but perhaps most of all to their board of directors and tribal leadership, which currently includes Chairman Stanley Jones Sr., Vice Chairman Melvin Sheldon Jr., Treasurer Chuck James, Secretary Marie Zackuse and directors Glen Gobin, Herman Williams Jr. and Marlin Fryberg Jr.

Beyond those charitable and impact contributions, the Tulalip Tribes’ Quil Ceda Village development has become an economic catalyst for all of Snohomish County, spurring job and revenue growth by its casino, name-brand factory outlet mall, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and a variety of smaller businesses. Added to that is the Tulalip Casino and its multimillion-dollar, multi-story hotel and conference center that will be under construction by mid-August adjacent to the casino.

The Tulalip Tribes’ savvy business sense and creative imagination have created a tourism, shopping, meeting and entertainment center that is making Snohomish County a major destination center in the Pacific Northwest.

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© 2006 The Daily Herald Co., Everett, WA