March 11, 2008
Center for Human Services Honors King County Councilmember Bob Ferguson
Councilmember recognized for supporting human service programs in North King County
The Center for Human Services in Shoreline has honored King County Councilmember Bob Ferguson
with its annual Dorrit Pealy Award for Outstanding Community Support. Presenting Ferguson with the award last Friday, officials of the north-end human service provider recognized the councilmember for raising awareness of the human service needs across the region.
“Councilmember Ferguson has been a friend of CHS and a leading human service advocate since his first days in office,” said Beratta Gomillion, Executive Director of the Center for Human Services, which provides counseling, education and support services to youth and families in Shoreline and surrounding communities. “Human service agencies like ours don’t have high-powered lobbyists advocating for our clients, so we have a special need for public officials like Bob to raise the profile of our work and to advocate for families, seniors, and the least fortunate.”
Ferguson has worked to eliminate funding shortfalls for human services and public health that were brought on by the repeal of the state motor vehicle excise tax. He sponsored and worked for over a year to gain support for the Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Action Plan to improve wrap-around treatment services and therapeutic courts, and a one-tenth of one percent sales tax increase to fund the plan. The Veterans and Human Services Levy, which the voters adopted in 2005 and which generates $45 million annually for health care and housing assistance for vulnerable populations, was also developed under Ferguson’s leadership.
As Chair of the Council Operating Budget, Fiscal Management and Mental Health Committee, Ferguson was instrumental in securing funding for CHS to continue serving north-end families.
“CHS offers valuable programs that enrich our community by strengthening individuals and families,” said Ferguson. “One of my top priorities as an elected official is to improve human services and assist organizations such as CHS in attaining the resources to perform their work effectively, so to receive this award from such a fine organization and in the name of Dorrit Pealy, one of our region’s most impressive human service advocates, is a tremendous personal honor.”
Ferguson’s efforts to build a strong community stretch beyond his tenure on the King County Council. After graduating from the University of Washington, he spent a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Portland, Oregon. He directed an emergency services office and tutored children in an inner-city environment. As an attorney in Seattle, Ferguson devoted hundreds of hours to pro bono work, particularly with non-profit groups.
“In just four years on the County Council, Bob has done a great deal in our region to bring attention to human service needs,” Gomillion added. “And whether you’re talking about the Veterans and Human Services Levy, the Mental Illness and Drug Dependency sales tax, or general budget support for north-end human service agencies, these victories simply would not have been possible without Bob’s tireless support.”
This award is named in honor of the late Dorrit Pealy, a professor of political science at the University of Washington and founding board member of CHS. In her work with CHS, Pealy served as a community leader in addressing the human services needs in North King and South Snohomish Counties.
In presenting the award to Ferguson, Ms. Pealy’s son, Nick Pealy, invoked the group of women leaders with which she worked to improve human services in the north-end—including current U.S. Senator Patty Murray—by proclaiming Bob an “honorary ‘mom in tennis shoes.’”
Home Depot of Bothell also received a Dorrit Pealy Award at Friday night’s event. Home Depot donated services and materials for the construction of the playground and landscaping at the new Northshore Family Center operated by CHS.