Community Fund distributes $646,429 in grants to 30 nonprofits

12.30.2015 Dean Rhodes Spirit Mountain Community Fund

Spirit Mountain Community Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, continued its quarterly presentation of grants on Wednesday, Dec. 16, awarding a combined $646,429 to 30 nonprofit organizations.

The awards were distributed in the Governance Center Atrium.

The Community Fund distributes grants to charitable organizations in an 11-county area of western Oregon in the categories of arts and culture, education, environmental protection, health, historic preservation, problem gaming and public safety.

Once a year, the fund also gives grants to Oregon Tribes that apply for funding.

As part of the Tribe’s gaming compact with the state of Oregon, the Community Fund receives 6 percent of Spirit Mountain Casino profits to fund its grants.

The latest round of grants brings the Community Fund’s running total to $67.8 million awarded since it was founded in 1997.

The check distribution started with five children from the Lilu preschool classroom singing a Christmas carol and honor song in Chinuk Wawa.

Board of Trustees Chairman Sho Dozono, dressed in a festive red sweater and Santa Claus hat, and State Rep. Val Hoyle, who is the newest member of the Board of Trustees, also attended.

“We are thrilled today to get to, in most cases, renew our partnerships on 30 absolutely fantastic projects,” said Community Fund Director Kathleen George.

Tribal Council member Chris Mercier welcomed representatives to Grand Ronde.

“What I see is that the Tribe really buys into the vision of giving back to the community,” Mercier said. “A lot of the organizations that the Community Fund puts money toward really do help the people of the state of Oregon.”

“This right here is how we build community and how the Tribe gives back,” Hoyle said. “For us on the board, we look at each project, and there are so many worthwhile projects. I think there is nothing more difficult than having to pick between all these really, really good things, but there is a clear direction and focus that has been set by the board in terms of making investments in the community that really move the dial and make a difference.”

After organization representatives watched a video that detailed the history of the Grand Ronde Tribe and provided background on organizations previously helped by the Community Fund, Program Coordinator Louis King read off the list of recipients while Dozono handed out the checks.

Large grant recipients were:

  •        American Heart Association of Portland, $39,700 for its “Have a Heart, Save a Life” program;
  •        Campbell Institute of Portland, $50,000 for “Early Works Earl Boyles: A Roadmap to Third Grade Success” effort;
  •        CASA of Lane County in Springfield, $30,000 for its “A Voice for Every Child” program;
  •        Community Cycling Center of Portland, $2,550 for its holiday bike drive;
  •        Dayton School District, $48,500 for its “STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) After School!” program;
  •        Dial A Bus Inc. of Corvallis, $13,402 to purchase an all-wheel drive vehicle for medical transportation;
  •        Friendly House Inc. of Portland, $25,000 for its Rebecca Longaker Scholarship Program;
  •        HomePlate Youth Services of Hillsboro, $15,000 for its outreach to connect homeless youth with employment and stability;
  •        Latino Network of Portland, $25,276 for its “Ninth Grade Counts” program;
  •        Liberty House of Salem, $50,000 for mental health support for abused children;
  •        Marion-Polk Food Share of Salem, $20,523 to replace a truck to increase emergency food service capacity;
  •        Northwest Family Services of Portland, $50,000 for its enhanced Peer Court/Gang Prevention project;
  •        Oregon Justice Resource Center of Portland, $27,413 for its “Women in Prison” project;
  •        Portland Homeless Family Solutions, $20,000 for overnight shelter coordinators for homeless families with children;
  •        Salem Free Clinics, $34,500 to fund culturally competent care for uninsured diabetic patients in Marion and Polk counties;
  •        Special Olympics Oregon Inc. of Portland, $44,565 for its Oregon Team Wellness project;
  •        Todos Juntos Inc. of Canby, $50,000 for expanding access to culturally competent after-school programming in Clackamas County;
  •        Volunteers in Medicine Clinic of Springfield, $10,000 for its access and outreach efforts;
  •        Womenspace Inc. of Eugene, $40,000 for preventing intimate partner violence through community outreach and education.

Small grant ($5,000 maximum) recipients were:

  •        Beaverton Police Activities League, $5,000 for its After School Art Enrichment Club;
  •        Boom Arts Inc. of Portland, $5,000 for its Boom Arts Spring International Performance Series;
  •        Community Arts Project of Cloverdale, $5,000 for its arts literacy program;
  •        Ecology in Classrooms and Outdoors Northwest of Portland, $5,000 for increasing access to ecology enrichment for elementary school students;
  •        Friends of the Florence Events Center, $5,000 for “Dancing With Sea Lions”;
  •        Hands and Voices of Oregon of Portland, $2,500 for “Guide By Your Side” project;
  •        Living Yoga of Portland, $5,000 for expanding its volunteer coordination, mentoring and training program;
  •        Mid-Valley Literacy Center of Keizer, $5,000 for its GED project with the Salem Housing Authority;
  •        Portland Kitchen, $5,000 for the winter and spring session of its culinary training program;
  •        Sycamore Lane Therapeutic Riding Center of Oregon City, $5,000 for exercise riding for children with disabilities;
  •        Z-man Scholarship Foundation of Beaverton, $2,500 for its Z-Man Police and Scholarship Mentorship Program.

To accentuate the Native tradition of potlatch, the Community Fund also raffled off three gifts bags that went to Marion-Polk Food Share, Salem Free Clinics and the Dayton School District.

“I don’t think there is a better way to end the year than to have you with us today,” George said.