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News Release
Northwest Community Credit Union, Trace Skopil, and Gabe Piechowicz receive award at Bushnell University's 13th annual Evening of Tribute the Beacon Awards - 11/18/22


Bushnell University’s Center for Leadership & Ethics hosted the 13th annual Evening of Tribute on November 15, 2022. Thank you to everyone who joined us in honoring this year’s recipients as we shine the light on those who continue to be Beacons in the community. Thank you to Moss Adams our presenting sponsor.

Evening of Tribute Program

The Evening of Tribute is a key way of helping our Bushnell Students and all proceeds from the night go directly to the Beacon Fund for aid in Student Scholarships. This year reward recipients as picked by the Center for Leadership & Ethics are:


Northwest Community Credit Union:

Northwest Community Credit Union was founded in 1949 by six Weyerhauser employees who wanted to start a fund to help friends in need. Their $50 seed money was the inspiration for the Eugene-based organization which now serves over 100,000 members across 14 branches and manages assets of over $1.6 billion. NWCU is a not-for-profit financial cooperative committed to superior service, compassion and loyalty to its members. The organization strives to help each family find resources to improve their financial future and is unwavering in its desire to treat everyone with courtesy, dignity, and respect. Creating a work environment in which employees can flourish personally and professionally is a key value, as is the desire to help the local community thrive.

NWCU has been deeply invested in Oregon through several service and philanthropy programs. Project Community is NWCU’s annual mini-grant program dedicated to helping educate youth. Grants fund materials and resources local schools for projects aimed at inspiring student engagement and learning. Their two college scholarship programs provide awards to over 20 students annually, and students are chosen for their dedication to their community. The credit union also hosts Financial Reality Fairs at schools to increase financial literacy. NWCU is also a committed sponsor of multiple nonprofit organizations all over the state of Oregon with an emphasis on youth education/development and community sustainability programs which provide support for those assisting people in need.


Trace Skopil:

Trace Skopil has forty years of accounting and finance experience in a variety of positions and organizations. Most of his experience is with Moss Adams, LLP, the 11th largest CPA firm in the United States and headquartered in Seattle, Washington. He worked in the Eugene, Oregon office for almost thirty years and retired in October 2018 with almost twenty years as an audit partner. The last four years Skopil was the Partner in Charge in Eugene, managing an office of 65 people and actively participated in the regionalization of the three Oregon offices in Eugene, Portland, and Medford. Prior to Moss Adams in Eugene, Skopil served as CFO at BodyWear in Seattle, and Finance Manager at Esprit de Corp in San Francisco.
Skopil has served on numerous board of directors including the Greater Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, the University of Oregon Accounting Advisory Board, the Moss Adams Endowment Board, Oregon Bach Festival, Eastside Faith Center Church Council, and Birth to Three (now known as Parenting Now).

Skopil was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon and a graduate of Sheldon High School and the University of Oregon with degrees in Accounting and Finance. He was awarded the University of Oregon Beta Alpha Psi (accounting honor society) Professional of the Year in 2008.

Trace and Lisa will have been married for 37 years next month and are parents of Erik and Bekah.


Gabe Piechowicz ’19: Distinguished Young Alumni Award:

Gabe Piechowicz ’19 is the leader of Everyone Church, an innovative ministry in west Eugene, Oregon. The Church does not hold worship services, but – instead – serves the needs of the unhoused through the work of Everyone Village. The Village is a holistic community that does more than simply provide shelter to previously unhoused individuals.

With wrap-around services provided by more than 70 partner organizations (business, government, non-profits, and the faith community), Villagers are able to take positive steps that will help them flourish: physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.

Piechowicz uses approachable language and practices spiritual consent, not discussing spirituality until the other person broaches it. And he is clear that his job is to walk with people on their journey, not to judge where they are.

As for the life-changing work, his approach is simple: remind people of their inherent value enough to get them to contribute and then they will see the value come back to them. Even with those in the depths of their use, he is clear that they still deserve acceptance: “You can affirm humanity without condoning behavior.”

Piechowicz is a 2019 graduate of Bushnell University and previously has worked as a professional logger, a track coach, and an overseer of homeless camps. Gabe and his wife, Gina, have three children: Athens, Sahalie, and Penelope.


Beacon Fund info:

The Beacon Fund for Student Scholarships helps Bushnell students by offsetting the cost of tuition, and providing an accessible and affordable college education. Nearly 50% of Bushnell students come from low-income families and 98% of students receive some form of financial aid. Giving to the Beacon Fund enables both local and out-of-state students the opportunity to graduate in approximately 4.1 years, without significant college loans or debt. Some of the very concrete ways Bushnell University makes a direct impact in our community include: preparing new K-12 educators to be classroom ready, providing bachelor’s and master’s-level nurses to meet significant staffing shortages in Lane County, and by training clinicians to respond to the massive mental health needs in our county. Additionally, Bushnell is successfully creating pathways for degree completion for adult learners who need bachelor’s and advanced degrees to progress in their industries, while bringing ethical leadership to their workplaces. Thank you for investing in the next generation of ethical leaders by supporting the Beacon Fund.

You can give online at give.bushnell.edu.


About the Center for Leadership & Ethics:

Strong, smart, ethical leaders make all the difference. At Bushnell University, we believe that all of our staff, faculty and students can be “Beacons” of integrity and agents of real change in the world. Established in 2005, Bushnell University’s Center for Leadership and Ethics exists to equip and inspire ethical leaders by providing faith-integrated and values-based training for our University students, alumni, and surrounding community. Tonight’s event, the 13th annual Evening of Tribute is sponsored by the Center for Leadership & Ethics. It’s an honor to award and celebrate exemplary ethical leaders in our community who embody caring, thoughtful, and change-driven communication. On behalf of the CLE Advisory Board, congratulations to the 2022 Beacon Award winners. Thank you for how you care for our community.

Learn more at bushnell.edu/cle-events


About Bushnell University
Bushnell University transforms lives. Devoted to offering a Christ-centered environment since its founding over 125 years ago, Bushnell encourages students to pursue wisdom, nurture faith, and champion service. Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the University was founded in 1895 by pastor-educator Eugene C. Sanderson and pioneer businessman and church leader James A. Bushnell. The University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in traditional undergraduate, adult degree, and graduate program formats, as well as online programs for MBA, MA in Leadership, and M.Ed. More information about the University is available at www.bushnell.edu.


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