March 3, 2018 — On Feb. 22, people from Coos, Curry, Douglas, Lane and Lincoln counties trekked through the snow to attend the 7th annual gifting luncheon of the Three Rivers Foundation. The Three Rivers Foundation, established by the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians as the giving arm of its Three Rivers Casino Resort, announced gifts to 24 deserving nonprofit organizations in the Tribe’s service district areas.
The luncheon was held at the Three Rivers Casino Resort event center in Florence.
The Three Rivers Foundation supports innovative ideas, collaborative approaches and grassroots efforts in the following areas: education, health, public safety, problem gambling, the arts, the environment, cultural activities and historic preservation.
During this gifting cycle, the Three Rivers Foundation received more than 150 grant proposals from nonprofits located in nearby counties and from communities throughout Oregon.
Foundation Chairperson Teresa Spangler cited data from the 24 organizations the Trustees selected.
“In those 24 organizations were 74,023 volunteer hours,” Spangler said. “And even more amazing is that over 190,000 people were helped through these organizations.”
The organizations also had a total of 550 employees.
“Our successes are a reflection of the commitment and passion of our dedicated leadership,” Spangler said.
In Florence, three organizations received grant awards: the Florence Community PTA, Florence Food Share and Oregon Coast Emergency Repeater (OCER), Inc.
Three Rivers Foundation Trustee Tom Grove presented the awards to the Florence-area nonprofits.
“The PTA here is taking on a task that is something new to me,” Grove said. “But then, back in my day they weren’t drinking bottled water, either. … The PTA has picked up as one of its projects to put in a water dispenser in the Siuslaw Middle School so students can refill water bottles. I hope this will get kids to start drinking more water and keep those disposable water bottles out of our system. That alone will be a huge benefit for everyone.”
Florence Community PTA President Tiffany Holdahl, two Siuslaw Middle School students and PTA member Stephanie Sarles accepted the award.
“The students are excited for their school to get not only one but two water bottle refilling stations,” Holdahl said. “There will be one in the commons where they eat lunch and one in the gym, where they have sports practice, PE and games. This will encourage children to drink more water and hopefully save the environment. Our goal is to save our environment one bottle at a time.”
According to Holdahl, Siuslaw High School already has water bottle refilling stations which have saved filled more than 20,000 water bottles - potentially preventing disposable water bottles to be used once and then thrown out.
Grove also presented an award to Norma Barton and Florence Food Share for a Community Outreach and Food Distribution Project.
“Food Share was founded in 1989, and since that time it has made a tremendous imprint on this community,” Grove said. “Florence Food Share has unearthed an issue that I don’t think anyone in this community had dealt with - and that was a need for people in this community to have food. I don’t think most of us had any idea there were that many low income or people that needed assistance in our community.”
The food share did not provide specifics to the project awarded the grant money, but it regularly distributes more than 2,000 pounds of food to clients each day.
“Every organization in Florence has Florence Food Share on their front list to donate to,” Grove added. “Florence Food Share is always in line to support the community - and Florence is a very supportive community.”
The third Florence-based organization to receive an award from the Three Rivers Foundation was OCER for a digital radio and camera upgrade.
“What they have established in this community is a network of emergency communications,” Grove said. “This type of organization is very, very valuable in the first hour after an emergency. We’ve seen how disasters can devastate communities.”
OCER is also known as the Central Coast Amateur Radio Club and the West Lane ARES/RACES group. It is comprised of 104 members and serves Florence, Mapleton and Dunes City. Its mission is to provide reliable backup communications to the West Lane Emergency Operations Group and Siuslaw community in the event of an earthquake, tsunami or other disaster.
“They picked a good location for a repeater on top of Herman Peak,” Grove said. “If Herman Peak goes under, I think we’re all in deep water.”
According to OCER Preside Bob Pine, the upgrades will update radios for the Florence Justice Center, Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue Main Station, Dunes City Hall and Mapleton.
“It will also allow us to do something for the fire department,” Pine said. The radios can attach now to a digital camera, which can send a picture over the radio to the emergency operation center, so they can get an instant view of the disaster area. These are dedicated radios for that very purpose.”
Three Rivers Foundation also awarded the following organizations grant dollars:
And: The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
The board of trustees ensures that the Three Rivers Foundation continues to reflect the goals and commitment of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians to its local communities. The board consists of: