Summer is always a little bittersweet for me here at the foundation. We traditionally hold our annual meeting early to mid summer and I always look forward to reconnecting with extended family. The trustees gather to share committee reports, debate how best to manage foundation assets, make funding decisions, and hear updates on previous grants. And after the whirlwind weekend I return to to my desk and get to write big checks to help support amazing programs throughout the communities our family call home. This is the best part of my job.
But I also have to send emails, quite a lot this year, that let organizations know we aren’t able to fund their equally important projects. Those emails always break my heart just a little. Sometimes I hear back with questions about how they can better their chances next time around. I often don’t have a good answer. We simply have to make impossible choices. We are a small foundation with relatively little to give away each year (we’re required by law to give a certain amount, and of course we could exceed that, but we have to balance our grant-making with the future financial health and growth of the foundation so we can give more and more each year). In 2015 we are giving $78,000, bringing our total gifts since 1997 to just shy of $750,000. To put this in perspective, we started in 1996 with assets of just under $1 million. At some point in the near future we’ll hopefully have granted more than the funds we started with.
We received 50 eligible and worthy applications this year, a record for us by far. The grant committee worked hard to bring a proposal to the full board that attempted to honor the amounts requested, spread our funding among a variety of cities, and find balance between honoring previously established relationships and starting new ones. They selected nine organizations from California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Texas. I’m delighted we’re partnering with the following organizations over the next 9-10 months and look forward to sharing their stories:
New Door Ventures, San Francisco
FC Nova, Boise
Buena Vista Parent Organization, Eugene
Serenity Lane Health Services, Eugene
Bike Works, Seattle
Solid Ground , Seattle
Ranch Hand Rescue, Argyle (Dallas)
Papé Pediatric Research Institute, Portland
I can’t say thank you enough to all the organizations who applied and especially to those individuals who put time and energy into gathering the necessary information and working through our first-ever online application. I say this often, because it’s true. We could not exist without our grant-making and we are so grateful to everyone who participates. Even when we have to say “no, not this year,” we thoroughly enjoy reading about all of the projects taking place in the cities where we live. You all inspire us.