Joan Burchell Fund

The Gorge Community Foundation is delighted to announce Joan Burchell grant recipients for 2017:

  • Washington Gorge Actions Programs:  $3,000 for a portable aquaponics gardening system to grow fresh produce for Klickitat County food banks
  • Hood River Warming Shelter:  $1,500 for sleeping bags and cots
  • White Salmon Valley Education Foundation: $2,000 for a program to support healthy life skills
  • Rowena Wildlife Clinic:  $1,000 for care for native eagles
  • FISH:  $3,000 summer meals for underserved children
  • Gorge MakerSpace: $900 for tools and furnishings for new space

The next round of proposals for grants from the Joan Burchell Fund will be in April 2018.  Watch this space for the announcement and application.

Please note that previous grant recipients who have not met reporting requirements will not be eligible to apply.

The following proposals received Joan Burchell grants in 2016:

  • Washington Gorge Actions Programs:  $1,500 for Tom’s Learning Garden
  • Columbia Gorge Habitat for Humanity:  $2,000 for community outreach and volunteer recruitment
  • CultureSeed:  $1,500 for nature activities for at risk youth
  • Rowena Wildlife Clinic:  $1,000 for food for raptors
  • Hood River Warming Shelter:  $1,200 for site usage fees
  • HAVEN:  $1,433 for Healthy Teen  Relationship Summit
  • Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation:  $1,433 for children’s vision screening events
  • Radio Tierra:  $1,433 for equipment for expanding to the Hood River Upper Valley


Joan’s Bio

Joan Burchell’s life journey began in Manhattan, N.Y., April 25, 1923, and what a journey it was.

Joan grew up in Chappaqua, N.Y., as a proper lady; exposed to opera, social etiquette, art; all while being the “tomboy” who sledded the fastest down the steepest hills.

As a young woman, she defied tradition, moving to Venezuela to work as a decorator and furniture designer. She traveled extensively in South and Central America, mostly alone, in her Karmann Ghia.

With a third revolution brewing, Joan decided it was time to leave Venezuela. She lived for a time in Scotland, then moved back home to Chappaqua, working for Reader’s Digest until retirement.

During those years, she was an avid swimmer and kayaker. She kayaked and camped, alone, along the Danube River, and traveled extensively in Europe.

After retirement, Joan decided that Chappaqua had become too urban, and traveled the country looking for a suitable home. The fact that she found, and chose, the community of Mt. Hood, attests to her good judgment. She lived there for 20 years.

Joan loved the community, and the community loved her. She was self-educated, mechanically clever and artistic. Her spirit, humor, independence, and interest in all things endeared her to many people. Joan is a true example of living life on one’s own terms.

She passed away peacefully, with friends at her side, on Dec. 14, 2008.