From community idea to Community Foundation

Bob Burford

In the mid-1990s the Oregon Jamboree was in its infancy. The Sweet Home Economic Development group, parent organization to the Jamboree, foresaw a time when the Jamboree could start giving back to the community. They pictured a charitable organization that could not only distribute Jamboree proceeds back to the community, but also potentially act as a conduit for seeking federal and private community grants.

The SHEDG board authorized money to draft articles of incorporation as well as fund the Internal Revenue Service application necessary to create a totally separate charitable entity. The Sweet Home Community Foundation was born. The primary mission of the SHCF was to “improve the quality of life in the Sweet Home community.” A new board to manage SHCF was formed, with several original SHEDG board members transferring over.

The original board included Max Thompson, Tim McQueary, Rolf Anderson, Joanne West, John Wittwer, Kevin Stephens, Jan Horner, Mandy Cole and Bob Burford.

Today, the SHCF no longer receives direct financial support from Oregon Jamboree revenues but does receive tangential support from the Jamboree and its sponsors. For example, The Safeway Foundation regularly provides an annual grant to SHCF as part of their Jamboree sponsorship package. Today, the Sweet Home Community Foundation receives the lion’s share of its funding from the contributions of local individuals and businesses, as well as from investment earnings from its long-term community endowment, established to provide a community safety net far into the future.

The foundation also established the “Leave a Local Legacy” program, where families can establish a named permanent endowment to provide grants to local projects and organizations of their choice. One such endowment was created by the late Tim McQueary. Named the “Tim and Jo Ann McQueary Endowment,” it provides an annual grant to local worthy projects.

The Sweet Home Community Foundation is currently beginning its annual fall giving campaign and is seeking community donations for its mission.

According to Burford, President of SHCF: “We are proud that all donations go directly back to support the community. People can see the results of their generosity in real time. We are a totally volunteer organization and operate efficiently for the overall benefit of the community.”

We strongly believe that it is best to “give where you live.” Early in 2024, SHCF will again open its community grant program to local projects and organizations. Grants are for up to $10,000 each and are evaluated based upon their potential to provide long-term positive impacts in our community. To date SHCF has provided over $500,000 in local grants. If you would like to help the Community Foundation in its mission, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution. You can mail a check directly to Sweet Home Community Foundation, P.O. Box 24, Sweet Home, OR, 97386, or give electronically through our website at