November 16, 2023

OCF Awards $4.7 Million Investment in 203 Oregon Nonprofits

Outgrowing Hunger

The grants will build much needed capacity for nonprofits, bringing the Community Grants program total to more than $25 million since 2020.

Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) is awarding $4.7 million in new community grants to 203 nonprofit organizations throughout the state. Communities in 33 Oregon counties will benefit from these grants, with nonprofit organizations providing arts, cultural, educational, equity, health, housing and human services support to Oregonians.

OCF’s Community Grants program is the longest running grantmaking initiative at the Foundation. Thousands of nonprofit organizations share their goals and good work in requests for individual grants of up to $40,000 of flexible funding. During this fall cycle, each grant ranges from $15,000-$30,000. Since 2020, this one grantmaking program at OCF has distributed more than $26 million to communities throughout Oregon.

"We’ve heard from nonprofits that access to flexible funding is increasingly useful as they take on so many great needs in their community, and we wanted to honor that need in this grant cycle,” said Marcy Bradley, Chief Community Engagement and Equity Officer, Oregon Community Foundation. "Every community is different, whether they need help broadening health and wellbeing support for mothers and children, fighting hunger and food scarcity or strengthening the arts as the connective tissue for their communities. We support communities and nonprofits with issues they care most about.”   

Community Grants Program Reflects Diverse Community Needs in Oregon

This grantmaking cycle prioritized support for organizations that provide essential supports for underserved communities. Additionally, 25% of the community grants were awarded to smaller nonprofits, for whom a small grant can make a significant difference in their work.

A full list of the Fall 2023 Community Grants recipient is available here. Highlights of some of the 203 community grant recipients for the fall cycle of 2023 include:

Cave Junction Farmers Market: $20,000 Community Grant

Organizers Gina Angelique (Artist in residence for RiverStars Performing Arts) and Alisa Ocean (Cave Junction Farmers' Market Manager) say, "Rural Reciprosperity seeks to improve communication and connection between like hearted programs that offer community members educational opportunities and healthier social options. We intend to move from a culture of extractive practices that have pillaged our local resources to an economy based in reparation, restoration and preservation, while ensuring that our youth have sustained access to educational opportunities that cultivate a more just future for our region. Amidst so much historical economic havoc, we intend to strengthen what we believe to be our most important community assets- the liberal arts education opportunities available to our region’s youth from early childhood through adulthood."

Comunidades: $30,000 Community Grant

This statewide program helps amplify Latino voices for environmental and social justice. With this grant, Comunidades will expand leadership training to include a youth-oriented leadership curriculum and increase civic engagement in Latino communities in the Columbia River Gorge.

“This grant from OCF is going to allow us to continue to build the base of our community leadership development program while integrating an intergenerational lens and gearing our program to youth as much as to adults. In cultivating a strong Latino leadership base in the Columbia River Gorge, we hope to change the realities of social and environmental injustice in our communities through advocacy and education,” said Ubaldo Hernandez, Director and Founder of Comunidades.

Curry Child Abuse Intervention Center: $20,000 Community Grant

The Curry Child Abuse Intervention Center, based in Gold Beach, is renovating an existing building into the new Wally’s House Children’s Wellness Center, which will provide mental and behavioral health support for Curry County families and children. This grant will go to support the new center.

"OCF’s Community Grant support for Wally's House will help build a new Children's Wellness Center in Gold Beach. The Wellness Center will be a place of healing where child victims of abuse in Curry County will access the help they need to recover from the trauma they have experienced," said Jackalene J. Antunes, Executive Director of Wally's House.

Daisy C.H.A.I.N. (DC): $30,000 Community Grant

Daisy C.H.A.I.N.

DC works throughout Lane County to support reproductive and parenting experiences of marginalized communities. This grant will provide more bilingual health workers, improve postpartum mental health and lactation services, and invest in paid on-the-job training for bilingual doulas.

"This grant will help Daisy CHAIN expand bilingual doula outreach and programming to support pregnant, birthing, and postpartum native Spanish speakers in Lane County. This outreach will address significant gaps in services and barriers to health care that exist for our Latinx community. We couldn't be more proud of this work and the relationships we're building,” said Stephanie Amargi, Grants Manager, DC.

Every Child Central Oregon (ECCO): $25,000 Community Grant

Every Child Central Oregon works in partnership with the Department of Human Services. This grant will establish a diaper bank. Last year, ECCO distributed more than 50,000 diapers, but with a diaper bank, ECCO will be able to double the amount of diapers they provide to the community.

"This grant is pivotal for our organization, enabling us to supply essential diapers to thousands of children in foster care and their supporting families, addressing a critical need in Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook Counties. Moreover, it kickstarts our registration with the National Diaper Bank, a significant step that will amplify our reach and collaboration with numerous local non-profits, ensuring that all at-risk and underserved children have access to free diapers. This will not only improve child health but also bolster the economic resilience of families in our community,” said Melissa Williams, Executive Director Every Child Central Oregon

"We’ve heard from nonprofits that access to flexible funding is increasingly useful as they take on so many great needs in their community, and we wanted to honor that need in this grant cycle."

Marcy Bradley, Chief Community Engagement and Equity Officer, Oregon Community Foundation

Many Hats Collaboration (MHC): $20,000 Community Grant

MHC creates theater performances in the Portland area which reimagine music and movement onstage. Specifically, this grant will allow MHC to work with commissioned Deaf playwright Monique Holt, actors, artists and a team of ASL interpreters to explore how to make music, movement and text captivating for the deaf and hard of hearing and hearing audiences.

"This grant will allow us to foster the creation of a new play written by a Deaf playwright in collaboration with a team of d/Deaf/Hard of Hearing and hearing theatermakers. This live multimedia performance will be created through an innovative design and performance development process to invent new ways of looking at accessibility and aesthetics in service to a deaf-centric theater piece. The work will speak directly to d/Deaf/HoH people through ASL and captioning, rather than as an ASL translation of a play in English about hearing characters. Hearing audience members will gain an increased exposure to d/Deaf/Hoh community members and increased awareness of how everyone’s audience experience is different, depending on their access,” said Many Hat's Artistic Director, Jessica Wallenfels.

Nehalem Bay Health District: $30,000 Community Grant

The Nehalem Bay Health District is the smallest health district in Oregon. In May of 2023, voters approved a $10.25 million bond measure to fund a new community-based Nehalem Bay Health Center, pharmacy and a new rehabilitation facility (Nehalem Valley Care Center). With this $30,000 grant, the Health District can carry out a comprehensive community engagement strategy, including hiring a consultant to conduct outreach within the community, which will help inform the design of the new facilities.

“The generous support of the Oregon Community Foundation will help ensure the new health center we are constructing and the skilled nursing facility we are renovating will meet the health and senior care needs of the entire community. The Nehalem Bay Health District – the smallest in Oregon – will utilize its OCF community grant to build capacity and improve engagement with Latinx, senior and low-income communities in order to improve and expand community-based health and senior care. On behalf of our board and the entire community that has generously supported these health care improvement efforts we say – thank you, Oregon Community Foundation,” said Marc C. Johnson, President of Nehalem Bay Health District. 

Outgrowing Hunger: $30,000 Community Grant

This grant will support the East County Food Hub in the Portland-metro area, and provide immigrant, refugee, and Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) farmers access to broader markets. The grant will be used to hire a consultant to conduct a community needs assessment and formally begin the process of designing a new food hub facility to serve 40 BIPOC immigrant and refugee farmers.

“This support will create an outsized impact by providing our coalition with the missing critical piece of a much larger project. We have been discussing a formal food hub in east Multnomah County since 2012 and have been building partnerships and streams of support to that end for a decade. At this point, we have commitments to support occupancy, equipment, emergency food purchases, transportation, cold storage, and facility improvements. This grant will provide the staff time and support we need to thoughtfully assemble these resources into a project which truly meets the needs experienced in the community,” said Adam Kohl, Executive Director of Outgrowing Hunger.

Soaring Heights Recovery Homes: $20,000 Community Grant

Soaring Heights Recovery Home

Inspired by a previous OCF Community 101 grant with the students at Stayton High School, Soaring Heights Recovery Homes is now the recipient of their first Community Grant. This award will support building improvements to The Oriole House for women transitioning to a substance free, self-supporting life.

“The Oriole House for Women is central to our mission of providing safe, secure and structured housing for individuals transitioning to a substance free, self-supporting life. The $20,000 award from Oregon Community Foundation is more than just building repairs to The Oriole House; it is about providing a welcoming place for women to rebuild their lives and family,” said Eric Rasor, Executive Director of Soaring Heights Recovery Homes

About OCF’s Community Grants Program

For more than 25 years, and with strong support from donors, the Community Grants program has invested in community livability and vitality by listening and responding to people closest to innovating opportunities they want to advance.

As the state has evolved and grown, so too has the complexity of issues facing so many Oregonians. Compounding these challenges is a history of systems that have not benefited everyone equitably. OCF recognizes this reality, and as such, the Community Grants program will continue to provide flexible funding for nonprofits addressing the pressing needs of communities across Oregon, informed by the voices of people who know their communities the best.