Three Rivers Foundation awards $1.4 million to nonprofits in Coos, Curry, Douglas, Lane and Lincoln counties


April 9, 2022 — The desire to help others in the community is the primary reason Three Rivers Foundation has awarded $1.4 million to nonprofits in coastal counties for 2022. The grants will fund a variety of projects and organizations with both long-term goals and immediate needs.

More than 100 organizations will benefit from this year’s grant awards, including a number from western Lane County and Florence.

Projects funded locally include $10,000 awards to both Food Backpacks for Kids and The Oregon Coast Military Museum. 

“It is the remarkable generosity of people and businesses like Three Rivers Casino Resort that allow us to make this program sustainable. These children find themselves in food insecurity at no fault of their own,” said Food Backpacks for Kids CEO, Pastor Dale Edwards. 

The importance of the financial support provided for the awarded organizations is often significant, allowing for repairs to equipment or buildings for groups that serve many segments of society. 

Another sizable grant, $21,000 to the Siuslaw School District’s Project Graduation, will help with the goal of providing a safe, age-appropriate celebration of graduation for the Class of 2022.

Siuslaw School District Superintendent Andrew Grzeskowiak said, “Once students cross the graduation stage, they are on their way to whatever is next for them beyond high school, so Project Graduation swings into action. Project Graduation is a parent project that is a capstone event for graduating seniors to celebrate the end of their journey through the school. It is great that the Three Rivers Foundation found a way to make this a priority for the students to celebrate their commencement into the next phase of life.”

The awards are a continuation of the commitment by the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians since the establishment of the Three Rivers Foundation in 2011.

The foundation exists to improve, enrich and enhance the health and welfare of the land and people of the historical homelands of the tribes. Grants are only awarded to nonprofits, tribes and governmental organizations.

The Confederated Tribes has awarded $2,695,000 in grants since the program’s inception, with the decisions regarding recipients made by a small group, according to Jennifer Richardson, who is handling communications about the grants.

“There are eight trustees that make up the foundation's board. Three are Tribal members, three from the community at large (currently two from Lane County Commissioners and one Coos Bay Commissioner), one individual appointed by the governor and finally one individual that represents the casinos, appointed by Tribal Council,” Richardson said. “No one is employed by the foundation. There is a foundation administrator and the foundation duties are included in their regular job duties; however, they are not paid through foundation monies.” 

Other groups that benefited from Three Rivers Foundation’s generosity were especially glad to receive the funding support.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Emerald Valley, which stayed open to serve kids during the pandemic, was awarded $25,000.

“Three Rivers Foundation understands the urgent need to help ignite the imagination and interest of kids, especially traditionally underrepresented groups like girls and young people of color, to the possibility that STEAM learning can provide for enhancing their fundamental skills at school. With this grant money, our organization can expand these programs and serve even more kids,” said Matt Sorensen, Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Emerald Valley.

The Three Rivers Foundation also awarded grants to healthcare organizations that operated

on the front lines during this pandemic.

“We are extremely grateful to the Three Rivers Foundation for their generous support,” said Doreen Kelly, South Coast Hospice & Palliative Care Services, Inc. “When we informed them of the ongoing need to test our staff for exposure to COVID-19 to best protect the terminally ill in our care and our staff, they came to our aid.”

An award of $25,000 was central to a project being undertaken by the Central Coast Humane Society, based in Lincoln County, to spay/neuter, vaccinate, treat illnesses and injuries, and help feed community cat colonies

“We are truly grateful to the Three Rivers Foundation,” said Barbara Perry, president of the humane society.

Tribal leaders also shared the thoughts behind the awards.

“These grants trickle down and make a positive impact on communities in Coos, Curry, Douglas, Lane and Lincoln counties,” said Doug Barrett, Tribe Council member and Three Rivers Foundation Board of Trustees Chair. “It has been great to work with our board to give away this money to so many great organizations and Tribes that help so many families and individuals.”

Owned and operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw

Indians, Three Rivers Casino Resort has strong ties to the surrounding community along the

Central Oregon Coast. As one of the largest employers in the area, Three Rivers provides

resources and opportunities for both tribal and non-tribal members of the region. In addition to

providing local jobs, Three Rivers sponsors local arts programs for both professional and

children’s theater and donates to dozens of local and regional nonprofit organizations.

For more information, visit www.threeriversfoundation.org.

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