Community Fund nears $78 million mark in charitable contributions

By Danielle Frost

Spirit Mountain Community Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, almost hit the $78 million mark in giving when it awarded $733,763 in grants on Wednesday, June 6.

Twenty-one large grants and 11 small grants were given out during the fund’s second-quarter check presentation held in the Governance Center Atrium.

Since its inception in 1997, the Community Fund has awarded 2,627 grants to 1,150 nonprofits.

Neighbors for Kids Executive Director Toby Winn and Board Chairwoman Liz Martin shake hands with Tribal Council member Denise Harvey and Spirit Mountain Community Fund Board of Trustees member Ron Reibach during the Community Fund’s second-quarter check distribution held Wednesday, June 6, in the Governance Center atrium. Neighbors for Kids in Depoe Bay received $48,000 for its Kids Zone community support project and also won a Pendleton blanket during a raffle giveaway. (Photo by Dean Rhodes)

Tribal Council Secretary Jon A. George opened the check presentation with a prayer and Tribal Lands Manager Jan Looking Wolf Reibach performed “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan on Native flute.

Spirit Mountain Community Fund Board of Trustees Chairman Sho Dozono introduced Tribal Council members in attendance, which included Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy, Secretary Jon A. George, Denise Harvey, Kathleen George and Brenda Tuomi. Kathleen George and Harvey also serve on the fund’s Board of Trustees.

Attendees watched a 12-minute video that surveyed the Tribe’s history and featured organizations that have been helped by Community Fund grants. Dozono then quizzed grant recipients with questions that were answered correctly.

“I am privileged to have been on the board 21 years,” he said. “It is the best job I have ever volunteered for. I get to hand out checks to organizations that deserve it.”

He also asked attendees to acknowledge Tribal Elder and former Tribal Council Chairwoman Kathryn Harrison, who attended the event.

The Community Fund is now featuring a different organization at every quarterly grant presentation. The National Korean American Service and Education Consortium Inc. discussed its work with the Oregon State Penitentiary’s Asian Pacific Family Club.

Consortium liaison Karn Sactang and Oregon State Penitentiary Recreation Specialist Patrice Lans read a letter from club members thanking the Tribe for its grant.

The group was awarded $35,000 for its Memorial Healing Garden, which is expected to open later this year.

Garden planning has been underway for three years and revised several times to meet prison safety and security protocols, but the inmates have persevered in their determination to introduce elements of the outside world in an otherwise bleak environment.

“We have a group of inmates who are trying to re-imagine what justice, restitution and healing can look like,” Sactang said.

Community Fund Program Coordinator Angie Sears then read off this quarter’s grant recipients while Dozono distributed the checks. Community Fund Director Mychal Cherry, Administrative Assistant Jesse Knight, Board of Trustees member Ron Reibach and Harvey shook grant recipients’ hands.

Additionally, a Grand Ronde Pendleton Tribal blanket designed by Interpretive Coordinator Travis Stewart and a necklace made by Tribal Elder Joann Mercier were given as raffle prizes.

Large grants recipients were:

  • ABC House Inc. of Albany, $50,000, for its capital campaign “Building Hope Together”;

  • ARC of Lane County of Springfield, $23,600, for its World of Work project;

  • Bridge Meadows of Portland, $20,000, for Changing Lives Together – Permanence and Shared Social Purpose;

  • Catholic Charities of Portland, $35,000, for family support and counseling services;

  • Chess for Success of Portland, $30,000, for Athletics for the Mind;

  • Compassion Connect of Portland, $40,000, for capacity building expansion of compassion clinics;

  • Daisy C.H.A.I.N. of Eugene, $40,000, for increasing access to preventive pre- and post-natal care programs;

  • De La Salle North Catholic High School of Portland, $34,803, for an academic resource center;

  • Ethos Inc. of Portland, $33,500, for music programs for undeserved youth;

  • Free Geek of Portland, $20,000, for a digital inclusion associate;

  • Friends of the Columbia River Gorge, $35,000, for its Gorge Resilience effort;

  • Friends of Tyron Creek of Portland, $10,000, for reconnecting indigenous lands and culture;

  • Minds Matter of Portland, $10,000, for tutoring and mentoring programs;

  • Neighbors for Kids of Depoe Bay, $48,000, for the Kids Zone community support project;

  • Nest Foundation of Portland, $40,000, for the expansion of its Sexual Exploitation Prevention Education program;

  • Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides of Eugene, $25,000, for Clean Water for Salmon and Communities;

  • SABLE House of Dallas, $40,000, for nonresident services facility project;

  • Sandy River Basin Watershed Council of Gresham, $50,000, for Campus Creeks Clean Water retrofit;

  • Self-Enhancement Inc. of Portland, $30,000, for the Youth Potential Realized program;

  • Sexual Assault Resource Center, $33,733, for the “Preventing Sexual Violence: Creating Culture Change” program in the Beaverton School District.  

Small grants recipients were:

  • AntFarm Inc. of Sandy, $5,375, for Connecting the Dots and Expanding the Choices program;

  • Bags of Love of Eugene, $5,500, for its backpack program;

  • Community Vision Inc. of Portland, $4,000, for its East Washington County Shelter assistive technology lab;

  • Partnership Council Inc. Good Neighbor Center of Tigard, $4,500, for the Pathway Home Fund;

  • El Programa Hispano Catholico of Portland, $5,375, for its “SUN Shine: School Success for Latino Youth” effort;

  • Portland Tennis & Education of Portland, $4,000, for the Ready, Set, Read! program;

  • Sauvie Island Center of Portland, $4,012, for Farm Camp scholarships;

  • Therapy Works Northwest of Gresham, $3,000, for a clinic expansion project;

  • TLC-TNT of Portland, $3,950, for the “Tender Love and Care – Think n Try” initiative;

  • World Salmon Council Inc. of Portland, $5,375, for its “Salmon Watch” effort;

  • Young Audiences of Portland, $5,000, for the “Arts for Learning: Putting the Arts in Language Arts” program.