Dennis R. Washington and Phyllis J. Peterson Washington married in 1964, the same year Dennis launched his construction business. Through their early lean years, Phyllis’ income from teaching elementary school helped make ends meet, while Dennis worked long hours bidding and overseeing jobs. As his effort paid off and his business grew, Dennis reinvested in it, maximizing his equipment fleet and diversifying successfully into other business opportunities. After raising a family, Phyllis was able to follow her interests in antiques and interior décor by opening her first retail store, PJ’s Interiors and later, Maison Felice and Phyllis Washington Antiques. Today both Phyllis and Dennis look back on a lifetime of accomplishment guided by core values of integrity, compassion, courage, vision and perseverance. They remain grateful for all those who offered support and made a difference in their lives. They have chosen to give back in a like manner by helping others to have the opportunity to succeed.
Dennis and Phyllis share a keen interest in philanthropy, believing that the greatest benefit to society is made through uplifting individuals. Toward this, they founded the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation in 1988 to serve as a platform for their personal giving and coordinate the charitable activities of the Washington Companies that also contribute to the Foundation. Besides helping people access the basic necessities of life, Dennis and Phyllis have a particular interest in youth and education. By influencing young people during their formative years and providing opportunity for personal advancement through education, Dennis and Phyllis hope to create a positive and lasting impact on our culture and society.
In addition to significant monetary gifts and the creation of many scholarships, Dennis and Phyllis donated the construction of the Washington Grizzly Stadium, a valuable resource for the University of Montana, led other fund-raising efforts, and provided significant financial support to construct the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences Building at UM. The facility provides state-of-the-art training for teachers, administrators and counselors in current technologies and distance learning.
Dennis and Phyllis also have an ongoing commitment to Young Life, a Christian ministry for youth, to which the Washington’s donated the Washington Family Ranch in Oregon as a site for summer camps for teens and middle school age children.