Moss Adams Pledges $500,000 to Western Washington University

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By Jason Bramwell

The charitable arm of Seattle-based accounting and consulting firm Moss Adams LLP has pledged to donate $500,000 over the next five years to the College of Business and Economics at Western Washington University (WWU) in Bellingham to help fund student scholarships and enhance faculty development opportunities.

As part of the donation by the Moss Adams Foundation, WWU plans to add the Moss Adams name to its soon-to-be-launched Professional Readiness Center, a facility that will provide career services and resources to accounting and business students.

Russ Wilson, a member of the Moss Adams Foundation board and a partner in the firm's Bellingham office, told AccountingWEB that Moss Adams is committed to advancing the academic success of WWU students pursuing careers in accounting and business.

"Western has been a really strong recruiting source for the firm. I would wager that it's in the top two or three universities for new recruits for our firm in the past fifteen years. It produces some good people, and we've worked hard to be in a position to get the most talented graduates coming out of the university", said Wilson, a 1979 graduate of WWU. "Western's focus is primarily undergraduate education, and it does a really good job. It's a nice campus, and it tends to attract people from all across the state because the accounting program has a good reputation."

Moss Adams and WWU have a thirty-year collaboration of educating and developing talented accounting and business professionals. Nearly 200 WWU alumni have worked at Moss Adams in the past twenty years, and in turn, the firm regularly supports the university through endowment funds, event sponsorships, and participation in lectures and boards.

"Our students have greatly benefited from Moss Adams' involvement with the accounting department and the college through guest speakers, mentoring, Beta Alpha Psi scholarships, internships, and, of course, jobs", Brian Burton, PhD, dean of the WWU College of Business and Economics, told AccountingWEB. "Our faculty has benefited from the perspective Moss Adams' partners bring to our advisory boards as well as their donations toward continuing faculty development. Moss Adams and WWU have been partners in accounting education for decades, and I expect the partnership to continue for decades to come."

The Moss Adams Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization funded by Moss Adams, its partners, and employees. Its programs promote accounting excellence in teaching, research, and curriculum and contribute to global disaster relief.

The pledge to WWU comprises donations from Moss Adams employees and distinguished WWU alumni, including a major pledge by former Moss Adams CEO Rick Anderson and his wife, Lori, along with a Moss Adams Foundation commitment to match partner and employee donations up to $250,000.

"It's great to be able to make a difference and give back to the place that gave me my start", Anderson, a 1973 graduate from WWU, said in a written statement. "Through my time at Western, I achieved the skills and education I needed to excel in my career."

Burton said the donation will fund scholarships that will help deserving undergraduate and graduate accounting students further their education. 

"[The endowment] also will enhance faculty development opportunities in the accounting department – helping us to attract and retain high-quality faculty – to ensure our students continue to receive the best accounting education possible", he added.

The Moss Adams Professional Readiness Center, which is expected to open this fall, will benefit all college of business and economics students by helping them prepare for their careers, in areas from resume preparation to financial strategies when they become employed, according to Burton.

"This will be accomplished through workshops and some individual sessions, along with help from executives", he said.

Wilson said one of the reasons the naming opportunity was attractive to the firm was that the money wasn't needed to fund the building of the facility.

"The funds that we're going to donate are going to be endowed to the accounting program", he concluded. "This contribution will provide funds to the department forever."

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