Andy Clay Sustainability Champion Award

Every year Sustainable Connections honors five local businesses that are taking steps towards achieving a healthy triple bottom line–taking care of employees, our environment, and the local economy–with a Sustainability Champion Award. Drawn from the four tenets of our mission, the awards celebrate local businesses who are leaders in Strong Community, Healthy Environment, Meaningful Employment, and Buying Local First, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded to an individual that has spent a lifetime both personally and professionally investing in our community and championing sustainability. This year’s award goes to Andy Leebron-Clay of Mt. Baker Care Center!

Andy is a mother to four sons, two stepsons, and two stepdaughters. She and her husband Jim have 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, and after retiring from a 40-year career as a nurse she is now serving as a volunteer firefighter in the county and is also taking EMT classes!

She is a lifelong learner, with three Masters Degrees–her most recent in Nonprofit Development–making her more effective in her philanthropy…which she does a lot of! Both Andy and her husband Jim have served on a total of 13 boards and have also held leadership positions for countless local organizations–some of which include Explorations Academy, Boys and Girls Club, Brigid Collins, Northwest Straights, We Snip, Alzheimer’s Society, St Francis Foundation, Sea Shepherd…and the list goes on.

Andy not only goes out into the community to serve others, she (and her family) have also opened up their home to welcome the community in–through retreats, donations, and charity auctions. They also donate the use of their farmhouse and barn to the Humane Society to house large animals, and Andy was instrumental in securing donations for the new Whatcom Humane Society building. Recently, they agreed to let Generations Daycare use a large space inside Mt. Baker Care Center free of charge.

They employ over 120 people in Whatcom County alone, and have consciously chosen not to sell their business to large corporations so that employee quality of life and quality of care can continue to thrive. They’ve also started and continue to be the primary sponsor of a free high school in Kenya, and routinely travel there to meet with teachers and students.

We could go on, but I think it’s safe to say that there are few people who haven’t been changed, inspired, or uplifted by Andy, and we can easily say this community wouldn’t be the same without her and her family’s tireless work and dedication. We are humbled by her presence and impact and so happy to give this award.

Thank you Andy for all that you do, both in this community and around the world!

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