Community Foundation awards nearly $13,000 in grants

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home Community Foundation last week awarded $12,787 in grants to seven charities and programs benefiting the Sweet Home community.

The foundation awards grants to local projects and organizations annually in four categories: children and families, education, livability and arts and culture. It presented this year’s grant awards on March 19 at the Sweet Home Police Department.

The grants were funded through the Community Foundation’s Alice Blaser Memorial and Tim and JoAnne McQueary Leave a Local Legacy endowments, individual contributions and $5,000 from the City of Sweet Home’s Community Grants Program.

Recipients were:

– Cascades West Council of Governments Senior Meals and Meals on Wheels program, $2,500;

– Cycle Forward’s School Essentials Hygiene Project, $787;

– Sweet Home Pregnancy Care Center for mobile medical services, $1,500;

– Sweet Home Public Library for an after-school learning system, $2,000;

– Oak Heights Elementary School’s buddy bench project, $1,000;

– Sweet Home Rotary Club for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, $2,500; and

– the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Greater Santiam for concessions stand repairs at Roy Johnston Park, $2,500.

This is the second year Cycle Forward has received its grant, Executive Director Anna Hutley said. The program will focus on providing feminine hygiene and deodorant to Sweet Home youths. Those were the most requested items last year for students who needed help with hygiene.

The Pregnancy Care Center collaborates with the Lebanon Pregnancy Care Center to provide a mobile unit where women can get ultrasounds and STD tests, said Executive Director Karen Bostrom. The grant also helps pay for pre-natal vitamins.

Four years ago, the Rotary Club partnered with the United Way to pay for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, said Larry Horton. Any children from 0 to 5 years old may receive one book per month from the program. The program has served 2,600 children with 48,000 books given away over four years.

The last kindergarten entry testing showed that children who participate have a 60-percent higher rate of achievement than those who do not, Horton said.

The Boys and Girls Club grant will renovate and repair the snack bar at Roy Johnston Park, said Tyler Reese, Boys and Girls Club Program Operations Director. “A lot of people have put time, blood, sweat and tears into that field.”

More than 200 families from Sweet Home use the baseball and softball fields, Reese said, and more than 1,000 families come from all over Oregon to play ball there.

Amos Burger, vice president of the Sweet Home JBO and state JBO commissioner, said the project includes a stand-alone bathroom.

Cari Brewer, representing the Oak Heights PTC, said the foundation’s grant will pay for two outdoor benches under cover, noting that students in the Opportunity Room, the district’s elementary alternative education classroom, sometimes need a place to get away outside the classroom.

In 2015, the foundation funded a computer for early literacy, said Sweet Home Public Library Director Rose Peda. The library’s current project will continue providing after-school education for the children who started in the early literacy program.

They’ve gotten older, she said, and the new computer will provide education in science, technology and engineering for those children.

Meals on Wheels Site Manager Norene Dennis said her program delivered 19,511 meals in the last year. The program provides meals in the dining room at the Jim Riggs Community Center, and volunteers deliver meals to shut-ins.

“Thank you,” Burford told the recipients. “You guys are just doing such great work.”

The Sweet Home Community Foundation’s objective is quite simple,” said foundation president Bob Burford. “It’s just to improve the quality of life in our community.”

The foundation has been growing, over the past year, Burford said. Despite poor market performance last quarter, the foundation’s overall endowment grew by about $100,000. “Our portfolio as far as our permanent endowment is sitting at about $800,000 right now. We have a goal of within the next three years of hitting that million dollar mark.”

The foundation has two Leave a Local Legacy endowments now, Burford said. The Alice Blaser Memorial Endowment is approximately $390,000, and the new Tim and JoAnne McQueary Endowment is approximately $52,000.

Tim McQueary is a member of the foundation board of directors.

“Donating, especially with the Leave a Local Legacy program, is the ability, beyond the grave, beyond the ordinary lifespan to continue contributing and have a positive influence on the community in perpetuity,” Burford said. “If you’re doing an endowment or you’re giving to us, you know that money is going to be used here locally. We’re very transparent and will put it to good use for this community.”

“There are several nonprofits and other groups who do great things in the community, yet they have no tax dollars that continue to come to them to do those things,” said Tim McQueary. “There’s a need out there.

“For me, through the Community Foundation, it’s an opportunity for me to give back to the community I love. It’s my home.”

The legacy endowment may be built up over time and managed in perpetuity, with the foundation spending only the earnings, McQueary said. “You will be able to contribute to things in your community long after your gone because it will still be there working.”

In the Leave a Local Legacy program, donors contribute at least $20,000, Burford said. They can spend up to five years building the endowment. The funds may be used as part of the foundation’s regular endowment, or donors may direct funds to a favored purpose.

The foundation has been doing more fiscal sponsorships, Burford said. Under a fiscal sponsorship agreement, small groups of people can use the foundation’s tax-exempt status to raise funds and pay for projects that benefit the community.

Such projects might include ball field improvements or beautification projects, for example, Burford said. If it benefits the people within the Sweet Home School District boundaries, “we can partner with you.”

For more information about the foundation or to donate, call (541) 730-3670 or visit on the web.