Oct. 30, 2019 — The Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) held an informational meeting at Lovejoy’s Restaurant last Tuesday afternoon for individuals interested in applying for a grant during the upcoming year.
The mission statement on the OCF website states the objective of the group and its affiliated donors: “Our mission is to improve the lives of all Oregonians through the power of philanthropy. As a statewide community foundation, we work alongside donors, stewarding their priorities into strategic giving to support diverse communities across Oregon, creating lasting, transformative change.”
The Oregon Community Foundation has assets in a number of Funds which are each focused on a particular area of Oregon’s culture, education, art or business communities. These separate Funds each offer awards, of varying amounts, to a specific segment of Oregon’s population.
OCF reports net assets of $2.1 billion at the end of 2018.
OCF also awards numerous scholarships each year with 3,560 students from Oregon receiving a total of $10.4 million in educational assistance last year.
During that time 3,291 organizations in 572 communities received OCF Grants.
The objective of the meeting at Love Joy’s Restaurant was simple, according to Tina Garland, a Regional Program Associate for OCF.
“We wanted to share information about Oregon Community Foundation and Western Lane Community Foundation with the Florence/Siuslaw community, as well as learn from community members about the challenges they are working to address locally,” Garland said. “It’s an opportunity for people to meet OCF regional staff and gain a little more understanding of how the foundation works while, at the same time, sharing information that helps us be more supportive of the local community.”
Garland and her associates also want to come to areas in the state where they lack staff to assist with the process of understanding which grant from the many offered is best suited to their individual needs.
“Without the capacity to have staff located in every community we serve throughout Oregon, it’s important to us that we reach out to more rural areas to be sure that folks are aware of funding opportunities with OCF,” she said. “We are committed to supporting organizations throughout the state. Our intention is to help make OCF grant programs as accessible as possible.”
There have been a number of successful grant applications submitted and approved over the past few years from organizations in the Florence area and there may be more in the near future.
“OCF has granted $280,000 to organizations in the Florence Mapleton area since 2017. We are currently reviewing a few applications to our Community Grant Program from local organizations and the OCF board will make the final decision on these grants on Nov. 7,” Garland said.
One of the local recipients of the funding distributed by OCF is the Boys and Girls Club of Western Lane County which has been awarded.
Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Chuck Trent explained how the support his organization receives from OCF through the educational arm of the organization was acquired.
“We are participating in the K-12 Student Success: Out-of-School Time Initiative, which began in 2013 with an initial commitment from The Oregon Community Foundation of $5 million over five years in funding to support the expansion and improvement of out-of-school time programming for middle school students,” Trent said. “In 2014, through partnership with The Ford Family Foundation and its commitment of an additional $2.6 million, the Initiative added several more grantees, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Lane County. This is a three-year comprehensive Program Quality Improvement Initiative and our club is in our third and final year of the Initiative.”
Trent also said the Initiative funding includes summer, after- and before-school programming that promotes positive youth development for middle school students who are at a critical transition point in their development.
He then pointed out the programming addresses the opportunity and achievement gaps by focusing on support for students of color, students living in rural communities and/or students from low-income families. The initiative also includes work to connect students to the school day and provide academic support, to engage and support families and to provide positive adult role models for participating students.
Other local organizations that have received funding, in addition to the Boys and Girls Club, include The Siuslaw Watershed Council, The Mapleton School District, Florence Food Share and The Children’s Repertory of Oregon Workshops (CROW).
The next OCF Community Grants cycle accepts applications for requested funding from Dec. 1, 2019 through Jan. 15, 2020.
The organizations website provides instructions and suggestions for applicants and also shares links to previous applications that have been approved for funding.
Garland wants the community to know that OCF desires to have as much input from the people they are trying to connect with and assist as possible.
“Oregon Community Foundation uses the power of philanthropy to improve the lives of all Oregonians. From our regional perspective, that means that we want people to be aware of opportunities to contribute to OCF as a donor or a volunteer, as well as to understand how to have access to our grant and scholarship programs,” Garland said. “At the same time, we deeply appreciate the amazing work that people and organizations are doing to address the challenges that face their local communities. The more we can be aware of these efforts, the more effective we can be as a funding partner.”
For more information on OCF Grants visit www.oregoncf.org/