Association of Washington Cities Employee Benefit Trust


The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) embraced employee wellness long before it became “the thing” for organizations to do.

Back in the mid-1980s, when there was limited research on the benefits of employee wellness programs and even less was known about how to craft a program that would bring results, AWC was the only municipal league-sponsored health plan to venture into employee wellness.

The AWC Board of Trustees believed wellness would be a key cost-containment strategy for the Employee Benefit Trust that would serve our members well into the future.




“We have relied on the HOPE Health Letter® for so long that it feels like part of the family!”

Julie McDowell
Health Promotion Supervisor

AWC Employee Benefit Trust

Association of Washington Cities Employee Benefit Trust Team

The AWC Team — Back row, left to right: Andy Clarke, Jon Smith, Heidi Buswell, Julie McDowell, Beverly Lakey. Front row, left to right: Niki Charneski, Shawna Rice, Kim Lund Not pictured: Tanya Campbell, Darla Mansfield


AWC has partnered with Hope Health since the Program’s conception in 1986, providing members with a customized wellness newsletter that serves as a critical component to the program’s success.

The AWC newsletter is distributed to 14,500 employees and 1,400 retirees.

Employee Wellness Newsletter HOPE Health

When we started the program, we felt like we were venturing into uncharted waters. So we felt it was important to surround ourselves with experts to help us light the way. We have worked with many vendors over the years, but Hope Health is the only one that’s been with us on our entire journey. That’s a testament to the trust we place in Hope.

The HOPE Health Letter’s easy-to-read, friendly style has become a familiar and trusted source of information for our insured population. And, our employers rely on it as a key part of their employee communication strategy. Many of our members are very small employers and don’t have an HR department, much less an employee newsletter. They rely on our resources and tools, including the newsletter, to get accurate benefits and wellness information out to their employees.

We have multiple audiences including employer representatives and the insured population. We need to ensure our member employers have accurate and timely information to distribute to their employees. And that’s where the HOPE Health Letter comes in.

The use of home mailing gets our messages to the entire household. Reaching insured spouses is a challenge for us. We insure a large number of spouses who contribute to the health-care claims. Although they don’t have a direct relationship with the employer, they are an important player in the cost-containment equation.

We need to not only inform people about programs and services, we need to empower them to take action to improve their health. Health behavior change is complex.

“The HOPE Health Letter gives us a consistent vehicle for communicating programs and directs consumers to a wide array of programs and services.”

We also believe that the HOPE Health Letter’s trademark illustrations resonate with our members. At a time when people are bombarded with messages and slick marketing materials, it’s difficult for consumers to filter through it all and know where to focus their attention. While we try to stay nimble in an ever-changing world and keep our programs fresh and relevant, we believe our members find comfort in the friendly, familiar style of the HOPE Health Letter.

Our members are facing very challenging times, with many of them making severe budget cuts and layoffs. As part of our commitment to providing efficient and cost-effective services, we try to minimize the use of glossy materials or the appearance of costly communication pieces.

“We really appreciate the lack of glossy or varnished paper stock in the illustrated version of the HOPE Health Letter. This is one reason we haven’t moved to a full-color print newsletter. We think this helps makes the HOPE Health Letter stand out in our members’ mailboxes.”

We get lots of positive feedback from employee groups about the newsletter. And what’s interesting is that the newsletter has helped them to keep up to date with employee addresses. Employees often forget to notify HR when they move. The employees don’t realize this oversight until they stop receiving their newsletter. They miss it and call us to let us know, and then we inform the groups of the address change.

Hope Health has a friendly, professional staff with talented communication experts who are very easy to work with. Quality customer service and quality products are Hope’s top priorities.

They understand the importance of personalization to the customer to keep the product relevant for the reader.

We have a high degree of trust in Hope Health. They respond quickly and appropriately to correct issues. Hope takes customer feedback seriously.

“Hope’s values around quality and customer service mirror the values of the AWC Employee Benefit Trust. We are proud to have Hope Health as a valued partner.”