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19th Annual National NeighborWorks® Week June 1 - 8, 2002

Submitted by: Washington Mutual, Inc.

Categories: Community Development

Posted: May 21, 2002 – 12:00 AM EST


President Bush Praises Annual Community Revitalization Effort

May 21 /CSRwire/ - WASHINGTON, D.C. & SEATTLE, Washington - National NeighborWorks Week, an annual campaign to restore homes and revitalize neighborhoods, takes place June 1 - 8, 2002, with activities in hundreds of communities including major events in 14 cities:

Atlanta, GA
West Palm Beach, FL
New York, NY
Staten Island, NY
Long Island (Shoreham), NY
East Orange, NJ
Chicago, IL
Houston, TX
Boston, MA
Oakland, CA
Sacramento, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Inglewood, CA
Seattle, WA

Sponsored by Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM) and spearheaded by the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NRC) and its more than 230 NeighborWorks network affiliates nationwide, this year's event is expected to draw a record 20,000 volunteers to repair, paint and spruce up homes and neighborhoods across the country.

President Bush has hailed National NeighborWorks Week as a celebration of the work being done every day in communities throughout America: "Throughout the year, NeighborWorks groups help lower-income families cross the threshold of homeownership," the president said. "They forge partnerships that reinvigorate communities and leverage much-needed private capital for sustained development. The NeighborWorks network implements effective, long-lasting community revitalization strategies and is an outstanding example of public-private partnership at its best."

As the affordable housing crisis worsens in America, an increasing number of people
are paying more than 50 percent of their income for housing, live in substandard housing or both.
For many people, keeping up with rising housing costs means less available income for basic maintenance or other needs. National NeighborWorks Week is a weeklong, community effort to provide assistance for those who could use a helping hand.

"Supporting housing and community development initiatives is a corporate priority for Washington Mutual," said Craig S. Davis, president of Washington Mutual's Home Loans Group. "As America's leading mortgage lender, we understand the importance of strong neighborhoods and a place to call home."

National NeighborWorks Week is Washington Mutual's largest financial and volunteer effort in support of a single housing initiative. This year, the company will host community block parties for neighbors and volunteers and more than 6,500 Washington Mutual volunteers will participate, bringing the total value of this year's commitment to NRC and its NeighborWorks network to more than $3.5 million.

Last year, with Washington Mutual's financial and volunteer support as the first national sponsor of National NeighborWorks Week, an estimated 22,000 families were assisted and 3,500 homes were improved, making it the most widespread housing and community revitalization campaign in the event's 18-year history.

"National NeighborWorks week gives America the opportunity to see the type of energy and commitment that are at work every day of the year in communities served by NeighborWorks organizations," said Ellen Lazar, executive director of Neighborhood Reinvestment. "Our partnership with Washington Mutual is helping expand the scope of these activities and reflects Washington Mutual's strong commitment to affordable housing and community development efforts nationwide."

In addition to National NeighborWorks Week, Washington Mutual and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation offer these tips to help make neighborhoods better places year-round:

· Contact your local housing nonprofit to volunteer for a neighborhood project.

· Join the board of a local community organization.

· Donate money to your favorite nonprofit.

· Host a block party, meet your neighbors.

· Vote on community initiatives.

· Set up a block watch program.

For more information about NeighborWorks Week or how to volunteer throughout the year, visit http://www.nw.org or call 1-800-245-NWKS.

About the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation

The Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation is a national, public nonprofit intermediary created by Congress in 1978 to support and expand revitalization of lower-income communities throughout America. The Corporation founded and supports the NeighborWorks network of more than 230 community-based nonprofits serving more than 2,100 urban, suburban and rural communities nationwide. These organizations revitalize neighborhoods by mobilizing public, private, and resident-led partnerships and tailoring affordable housing, economic development, and resident leadership activities to meet specific community needs. In 2001, the network generated nearly $1.4 billion total direct investment and helped more than 64,000 low- to moderate-income families purchase or improve their homes.

About Washington Mutual

Washington Mutual is a national financial services company providing a diversified line of products and services to consumers and small- to mid-sized businesses. At March 31, 2002 Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had consolidated assets of $275.22 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,400 consumer banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, consumer finance and financial services offices throughout the nation.

With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual was founded to help Seattle families rebuild their homes after a devastating fire. More than 100 years later, the company's commitment to building better communities continues and this year, Washington Mutual's charitable giving will total more than $70 million in the form of grants and other assistance. Nearly half of the company's grants are dedicated to supporting affordable housing initiatives.

Additionally, in September 2001, Washington Mutual announced the largest-ever community lending commitment of $375 billion over the next 10 years, more than tripling its 1998 commitment to the low- to moderate-income communities it serves.

Washington Mutual complements its financial support with hands on involvement in the community through its employee volunteer program called CAN! (Committed Active Neighbors). Last year, 17,500 Washington Mutual employees volunteered nearly 200,000 hours in their local communities helping with more than 2,200 projects.

In March 2002, former President Bush presented Washington Mutual with the Points of Light Foundation's prestigious Award for Excellence in Corporate Community Service - one of the highest community service awards in the country.

Washington Mutual's press releases are available at www.wamu.com.

For more information, please contact:

Laura Jones Washington Mutual
Phone: (206) 377-2153
Mark Burneko Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
Phone: (202) 376-2360


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