Western Lane Community Foundation Gives over $100,000 in annual community grants

The Rotary Club of Florence hosted the presentation of the Western Lane Community Foundation Grant Awards on Tuesday, July 18, 2023, at the Florence Events Center. Most of the award recipients gathered with board of directors president Sandy Kuhlman, and executive director Gail Vinchesi. (Photo by Will Yurman)

Over 20 nonprofit organizations received awards

Over 20 nonprofit organizations received over $100,000 in grants from the Western Lane Community Foundation (WLCF) this month, with an official presentation occurring at the Rotary Club of Florence on July 18. 

“The best part of being on the Western Lane board is the fact that you’re really giving back to the community,” WLCF President Sandy Kuhlman said. 

The 2023/2024 grant cycle represents WLCFs ongoing mission of supporting projects or programs providing needed services or facilities to the community, with a goal of making a significant and visible impact on a demonstrated need in Western Lane.

The grants are given to a wide variety of projects, from helping to fund an oral history project with Deadwood Cemetery to helping the Oregon Coast Humane Society continue veterinary care. 

“We’re helping to fund programs that have been cut from school budgets, like arts and music,” Kuhlman said. “We’re helping fund a podcasting studio for the high school. There’s also food insecurity projects, helping both Mapleton and Florence with an expansion of Food Backpack for Kids. It’s a very broad spectrum.”

In some cases, the grants help grow programs. 

“The Methodist Lunch program has gone on for 25 years, and in talking to their clients about their needs, it was discovered they needed vouchers for showers, laundry and fuel. So we’re expanding that program,” said Kuhlman.  

And sometimes it’s just to keep programs going. 

“The Boys and Girls Club is expanding what they’re offering for after school meals because the school district has had to cut back, and the club is picking up the slack,” said Kuhlman. ”We’re able to help them do that.”

This grant cycle is just one aspect of a multi-part giving program that lasts throughout the year, which includes scholarships for both continuing education and high school students. 

“The scholarship program covers everything,” Kuhlman said. “It may be college, junior college, trade schools. It’s a real variety of applications and gives a lot of insight into the community. Some of our scholarships are multi-year. There’s very few people that don’t need help with financial assistance.”

The window for contributing education just recently closed on July 15th, while the high school program happens in the spring. All told, Kuhlman stated WLCF is expected to distribute around $500,000 to the community in 2023. 

Western Lane Community Foundation (WLCF) was founded in 1974 by leaders of the Florence Rotary Club and is a community trust, private non-profit organization attracting, administering and distributing private charitable resources for the benefit of residents of Western Lane County. Only the income generated by invested Foundation assets is awarded as grants each year. 

“Depending on the stock market on any given day, the total fund right now is around $10.5 million to $11 million,” said Kuhlman. “All of that comes from giving that has been done by local, Western Lane community members that have left the money to support nonprofits. That’s an outstanding number if you think about the size of our community. And this started 50 years ago, so when you think about the size of Florence back then, even to the size it is today, it’s pretty amazing. The amount of generosity that has made this possible is staggering.”

This years recipients of grant awards include:

  • Western Lane Fire & EMS Authority was awarded $9,313.00 to help fund Western Lane Crisis Response
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Lane County was awarded $7,500.00 to help fund the Healthy Habits Hunger Abatement and Nutrition Project
  • Florence Food Share was awarded $7,500.00 to expand their Emergency Food Pantry 
  • Eugene Symphony was awarded $7,500.00 to help develop the Encouraging Young Musicians to Achieve Program at Siuslaw School District
  • Food Backpack for Kids was awarded $7,500.00 to help expand their Upriver Project
  • Lane Arts Council was awarded $5,000.00 to help build the Lane Arts Council Artist Residency Program at Siuslaw Elementary School
  • Mapleton Elementary School Leadership was awarded $5,000.00 toward their Preschool Playground
  • Mapleton Middle/High School Partnership to Promote Positive Youth Development was awarded $5,000.00 to help build Ophelia's Place
  • Siuslaw Vision was awarded $5,000.00 to help build their Operations & Capacity
  • Siuslaw School District #47J was awarded $4,600.00 to help expand the Viking Voices & Visions Podcast Program.
  • First Methodist Free Lunch Program was awarded $4,500.00 to help continue the Florence Free Lunch Program
  • Deadwood Community Services was awarded $4,425.00 to help continue the Deadwood Oral History & Archives Project
  • Chintimini was awarded $4,000.00 to help expand the Oregon Wildlife Science (OWLS) Field Trips for Lane County Second Graders
  • Siuslaw Watershed Council was awarded $3,500.00 to help fund their Office Sanitation Improvements
  • Cascadia Coastal Coalition was awarded $3,200.00 to help continue their 2023 Western Lane Disaster Education and Emergency Communications Project
  • Siuslaw Family Connection was awarded $3,000.00 to begin funding their Project Connect & Play
  • Oregon Coast Humane Society was awarded $2,500.00 to help continue their Veterinary Care for Community Animals Program
  • Mapleton School District was awarded $2,400.00 to expand funding the Mapleton Youth Basketball Program
  • Deadwood Community Services was awarded $2,400.00 to help continue funding the Deadwood Community Center Grounds Revitalization
  • Mapleton Food Share was awarded $2,250.00 to help expand the Transportation Assistance Program.
  • Rods N Rhodies Inc. was awarded $2,000.00 to help fund their Transportation Solutions Project
  • Florence Regional Arts Alliance was awarded $2,000.00 to support the Data Sharing from the Americans for the Arts AEP6 Survey.

For more information on WLCF, or to leave a legacy by contributing to an existing fund,  email [email protected] or visit the WLCF website at https://www.wlcfonline.org/

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