The Blue Mountain Community Foundation has awarded more than $235,000 in grant funds to organizations throughout the Walla Walla Valley and the region.
The funds, approved last month by the board of the endowment management organization, will help with everything from operations of nonprofits to their efforts toward affordable housing, programs for young people, cultural education, food security and more.
A total of $235,300 has been designated in 53 grants to 47 organizations in Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield and Umatilla counties as part of the competitive Discretionary Grants program.
The funds come from donors who have established endowments at the Foundation but have left the use of the selection of the recipients to the organization.
Recipients were chosen by a committee of 10 people. The funds are unrestricted, which offers room to address unforeseen challenges of a changing community, the Foundation said in its announcement.
An example of that is homelessness. When the Blue Mountain Community Foundation was founded in 1984, homelessness did not have the prevalence it does today. The Discretionary Grants allow organizations to help address new issues.
This year, the foundation pointed out in its announcement, $67,500 was granted to various programs working on homelessness prevention and remedies.
Those went to Walla Walla Alliance for Homeless — $6,000 for case management for people using the Sleep Center; The STAR Project — $6,000 for housing support for felons or recently incarcerated people, cutting recidivism; Christian Aid Center — $15,000 for general operations for the organization that houses homeless men and women, plus women with children; Blue Mountain Action Council — $11,000 for general operations for rapid rehousing services and pro bono legal assistance; Legal Counsel for Youth and Children — $9,000 for comprehensive legal assistance for homeless and near-homeless youth; Helpline — $5,750 for resource and referral and direct assistance to homeless and low-income families; and Pantry Shelf of Walla Walla — $5,000 for general operating support, van and liability insurance.
This year the Community Council also received $6,000 to help with the implementation of its Affordable Housing report recommendations.
The largest single grant amount of $21,000 went to the Little Theatre of Walla Walla for a new fire suppression system.
A total of $97,500 was allocated for programs serving children and youth. The breakdown includes $52,500 for arts and humanities organizations, and $24,000 for programs aimed at improving the environment and expanding outdoor recreation.
The smallest grants of $500 each were designated toward Inland Northwest Musicians for a Young People’s Concert by Willow Creek Symphony and Oregon East Symphony for a Young People’s Concert. NAMI Walla Walla got a $750 grant for expansion of mental health support, educational and advocacy opportunities.
Through 35 years of existence, the foundation has grown to more than $50 million in assets has more than 350 charitable funds. Last year it distributed more than $2.5 million in grants and scholarships.
The next deadline for Discretionary Grants is Sept. 1, 2020.