March 17, 2018 — Western Lane Community Foundation (WLCF) presented 27 grants to local groups in an award ceremony on March 13 during the Rotary Club of Florence luncheon at Florence Events Center.
WLCF Executive Director Gayle Waiss introduced the foundation’s presentation, saying that Rotarians founded WLCF in 1974 “for the purpose of receiving and distributing charitable funds for the benefit of residents of western Lane County.”
WLCF annually gives out grants, scholarships and endowments. Oregon Community Foundation is its investment partner.
“Together, we have been good stewards of funds that now exceed $6.5 million,” Waiss said.
She said that WLCF seeks to improve quality of life in four major areas: medicine and science; culture; social and civic services; and education through both designated and discretionary grants.
“As a grant reviewer it is both challenging and rewarding to decide which innovative idea to fund, as the needs of our community are great,” Waiss said.
WLCF Board President Tom Bassett presented the awards with help from grant committee chairwoman Nancy Walker.
He said that this year, WLCF will give $172,255 in designated distributions, $38,610 in scholarships and $73,700 in grants, totaling more than $284,000.
“The need is here, the donors are here and, of course, benefactors are here, as well as volunteers,” Bassett said. “The synergy that somehow gets all of these organizations and people and volunteers together is a synergy that you will not find in many communities. For that, I applaud all of you.”
WLCF’s grant awards ranged from $210 to $15,000, and went to schools, social services, museums and other area nonprofits. One eighth-grader at Mapleton School District wrote a request for a student book cart.
Bassett said that some projects “tugged on their heartstrings” as the grant committee members reviewed applications, a process that took two months.
“One of my favorites — and they’re all favorites — is the Welcome Baby boxes that were started in Finland. They are 30 by 90 inches and fit a baby, when used as a bassinet, and come with diapers and baby items. They also come with a visit from an in-house representative,” Bassett said. “They asked for 30 boxes; we thought so much of the program that we gave them 60.”
The final award drew extra applause as Bassett read, “To Siuslaw School District, $15,000 for a new wrestling mat. Now, that sounds like a lot, but the old wrestling mats … are so heavy it takes 15 students to pick them up, throw them over the fence and down onto the gym floor so they can practice on them. They are so bad, so torn, so difficult to clean that they are a health hazard as well.”
Rotary President Craig Sanders thanked the presenters.
“This is a really wonderful thing you have put together, and we like to see it every year,” he said.
During the presentation, Bassett said, “This town, regardless of its size, is probably one of the most generous towns I have ever been involved in. For that, I thank not only you folks for all you do, but every other nonprofit organization that is here today that helps with needs in this community as well.”
WLCF awarded the following organizations grant money:
“If you’re interested in leaving a legacy that impacts this great place we call home, the foundation would be happy to work with you,” Waiss said.
For more information about WLCF, visit www.wlcfonline.org or call 541-997-1274.