Community Fund gives almost $1 million to 28 organizations

03.31.2011 Ron Karten Spirit Mountain Community Fund

Helping military veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Supporting employment for people with mental health issues.

Providing housing for at-risk seniors.

Funding law enforcement coverage in the Grand Ronde area.

Those are just some of the worthwhile efforts the Tribe supported through its philanthropic arm, Spirit Mountain Community Fund, with 28 grants totaling $992,125 that were awarded on March 16 in the Tribal gymnasium during the fund's quarterly check presentation.

Spirit Mountain Community Fund now has distributed $53.4 million in charitable grants since it was formed in 1997, said Tribal member and Community Fund Director Shelley Hanson.

The fund distributes 6 percent of Spirit Mountain Casino profits annually to charitable organizations in an 11-county area.

"We are very, very, very proud of that," Tribal Council member Chris Mercier said about the burgeoning charitable total before representatives who attended the event to pick up their grants. "We're not just part of the West Valley, we're part of the community in Oregon."

The largest single grant distributed on March 16 was for $450,000 to the Polk County Sheriff's Office to help fund dedicated law enforcement coverage in the Grand Ronde area.

However, the 27 other grants will do a world of good.

"I couldn't miss the opportunity to tell the people who work to make the world a better place that they are important," Tribal Council member Steve Bobb Sr. said. "We are grateful that we can assist you."

Bobb serves on the Community Fund Board of Trustees along with fellow Tribal Council members Reyn Leno, who is Vice Chair, and Wink Soderberg.

After recipients watched the Tribe's 25th Restoration video to learn about Tribal history, Community Fund Programs Officer Louis King read through the list of donation recipients. Those receiving Community Fund grants in addition to the Polk County Sheriff's Office were:

  • Canyon Gleaners, to purchase food products and pay utility bills, $7,500;
  • Children's Cancer Association, Arms of Comfort program, $35,500;
  • Children's Center for Clackamas County, center program expansion, $45,000;
  • Christians As Family Advocates, neuro-feedback for veterans with PTSD, $10,000;
  • Civil Liberties Defense Center, capacity building, $5,000;
  • Comprehensive Options for Drug Abusers Inc., housing to reunite mothers with children, $50,000;
  • Exceed Enterprises Inc., improving the quality of life for adults with disabilities, $30,000;
  • Florence Area Coordinating Council, child care and learning center, $25,000 challenge grant;
  • FOOD for Lane County, gardens program, $15,000;
  • Hand 2 Mouth Theatre, "Uncanny Valley," $5,000;
  • Lane Arts Council, in-school artist residencies, $5,000;
  • Los Ninos Cuentan Inc., The Club, $5,000;
  • NAMI Multnomah, supportive employment community for people with mental illness, $30,000;
  • Nature Conservancy of Oregon, Willamette Valley Synthesis Project, $25,000;
  • Nonprofit Association of Oregon, Mid-Valley Evaluation Cohort, $26,215;
  • Northwest Down Syndrome Association, supporting parents of newborns with the syndrome, $5,000;
  • Northwest Pilot Project Inc., housing stabilization for at-risk seniors, $25,000;
  • Oregon Envirothon, Traveling Trunk program, $5,000;
  • Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health, improving women's health, $40,000;
  • Oregon Mental Health Consumer and Psychiatric Survivor Coalition, mental health leadership development project, $5,000;
  • Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, coastal climate change adaptation, $25,000 matching grant;
  • Portland Reading Foundation, sustainable growth initiative, $18,000;
  • Salem/Keizer Coalition for Equality Inc., parent organizing project, $25,000;
  • Tualatin Riverkeepers, environmental stewardship, $25,000;
  • United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, dental health for low-income children, $30,000;
  • Willamette Falls Hospital Foundation, Founders Clinic, $15,000;
  • Willamette Farm and Food Coalition, Farm to School in Lane County, $5,000.

Tribal Council members Toby McClary, Wink Soderberg and Valerie Sheker also attended the presentation, as did Tribal member and Spirit Mountain Casino Human Resources Director Camille Mercier, who served on the Community Fund's Board of Trustees.

Grant recipients had their photos taken with Bobb and Soderberg by Tribal photographer Michelle Alaimo and the photos were posted on the Community Fund's Facebook page.