Speaking up for Small Nonprofits with Big Goals
Frank Hernández, 67, Klamath Falls
COMMUNITY GRANT EVALUATOR
Frank Hernández enjoys going to bat for the little guys, especially when they are small, scrappy Southern Oregon nonprofits. When they apply for grants from Oregon Community Foundation, he’s part of the local team who reviews their applications.
A retired bank executive who moved to Klamath Falls in the early 1980s from Southern California, Hernández helps ensure that OCF funds go to grantees that will use them wisely. But he’s careful not to dismiss applicants who lack the track record and paid professional staff of more established organizations.
“OCF has this mission of wanting to make life better for all Oregonians — that word, ‘all,’ is important to me, and making sure we’re including everyone,” he says. “Being able to be an advocate, especially for some of these smaller nonprofits, that sometimes are all volunteers, is really rewarding for me. Especially when you believe that it is a good organization, and that they need the help that OCF can provide.”
Over more than a decade as a grant evaluator, with a special focus on applicants from Klamath and Lake counties, Hernández has seen the impact of his volunteering in the success of local organizations that are making people’s lives better — healthier, stronger, kinder. Asked for an example, Hernández mentions Solid Ground, which provides therapeutic horseback riding to people with cognitive, physical, emotional and behavioral challenges. The founder and executive director, Shelley Trumbly, is a registered nurse who grew up in Klamath Falls.
“She has grown the organization slowly and methodically, and they've received OCF funding a couple of times,” Hernández says. “When you see someone that's successful like that and you see the good work that they’re doing, it really does make you feel good, because you feel like you're part of that growth, and that in a way you were responsible for helping to fund that organization.”
Frank Hernández is a volunteer featured in the story “A Gift Beyond Measure: OCF Volunteer Impact.”