Donor Spotlight: Q&A with Sellen Community Foundation

Sellen + WSOS

Since 2022, Sellen Community Foundation and Sellen Construction have invested in Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS), supporting Career & Technical Scholars studying construction management.

About Sellen Community Foundation

Sellen Community Foundation’s mission is to improve the lives of those around us through leadership, engagement, partnership, and investment. Founded in 2016, the foundation formalizes Sellen’s robust philanthropic and volunteer commitments, as well as refines areas for grant-making and impact in our community. The foundation is focused on Arts & Culture, Health & Human Services, Industry Advancement, and Environmental Stewardship. Sellen Community Foundation distributes grants to local nonprofits, funds scholarships for students pursuing careers in construction, and invests in organizations committed to racial equity and social justice. The foundation also hosts an annual fundraising campaign with Sellen Construction’s subcontractors to fund free pre-apprenticeship programs in the Puget Sound region.

About Sellen Construction

Sellen has been locally owned and operated out of the same South Lake Union location in Seattle since our founding in 1944. We are consistently ranked among the top contractors by volume in the region by the Puget Sound Business Journal. Our purpose is to improve the lives of those around us – as builders, partners, and neighbors. Sellen serves clients in corporate office, healthcare, life sciences, technology, hospitality, sports, private K-12, higher education, and arts and culture markets. We have been fortunate to partner with many of the leading privately-owned firms and public institutions in the region, including Seattle Children’s Hospital, Amazon, Microsoft, the University of Washington, UW Medicine, CommonSpirit, MultiCare, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Storm, and One Roof Foundation.

Sellen’s team has the capability to deliver a wide range of project types, including large, multi-phase campuses; multi-floor tenant improvement and acute care facility renovations; and hourly service van repair and renovation work. Along with teams who lead large-scale, multi-phase developments, our Sellen Special Projects teams specialize in complex renovations and sustaining work for long-term health care and life sciences clients.

Why is Sellen passionate about WSOS and increasing access to higher education?

Sellen and Sellen Community Foundation are passionate about increasing access to fulfilling careers in the construction industry for people from all backgrounds. By supporting students at high schools, community colleges, and universities throughout the region, we can help the next generation of project managers, superintendents, and industry leaders find their path. Our WSOS scholarship funding focuses primarily on those entering a community or technical college – a nontraditional, often overlooked pathway where there is often a significant need for financial assistance. In 2024, Sellen Construction was awarded the Puget Sound Business Journal’s Corporate Citizenship award for Economic Opportunity. This honor was awarded to our firm in part because of our support for WSOS and countless local institutions helping to lower barriers to entry in the construction industry.

What aspects of WSOS interest Sellen the most?

Many Sellen employees have been mentors through WSOS, helping to guide, listen, and launch the careers of the next generation of skilled workers in Washington. We appreciate that WSOS offers a variety of avenues of support to those pursuing various pathways in higher education.

What do you wish others knew about WSOS?

WSOS is providing critically important support for students across the state, including many pursuing degrees at local community colleges and technical schools. Some of Sellen’s best leaders started their construction career by following nontraditional paths into the industry, and we strongly support students following in their footsteps or finding their own way. Supporting WSOS is one of the more equitable ways to help students across the state, and we hope that leading firms in the Puget Sound region will join us in supporting its mission.