New scholarship supports students with African-American heritage

New scholarship supports students with African-American heritage

The new Black in the Gorge scholarship will be available for students who identify as Black/African-American or Black-Biracial, who live in the Gorge, to help finance their post-high school college, university or technical education. This scholarship was started by Black in the Gorge, a group sponsored by OSU Extension, Open Campus program and with support from The Next Door Inc.  Open Campus coordinator Ann Harris says, “We are thrilled to recognize these students and help support them on their post-high school journeys, whether to college or vocational education.” The first Black in the Gorge scholarships will be awarded in 2025.

In addition to awarding scholarships, the group will provide support and social activities, such as last summer’s Juneteenth celebration, to bring students and their friends and families together to build connections and create new opportunities.

Donations to this new scholarship fund are welcome and may be made on our Donate page (see the drop down menu to specify “Black in the Gorge”) or by mail to PO Box 1711, Hood River, OR 97031.

Congratulations Grads and Grantees

Congratulations Grads and Grantees

The Gorge Community Foundation is delighted to announce the recipients of its 2023 scholarships and Community Grants. Thank you to all who applied, and congratulations to this group of outstanding students and organizations. We wish you every success in the years ahead.

Scholarship Award

Hood River Valley High School

• Laura Douglas Schaefer Memorial

Music Scholarship: Scarlett Caudill

• Gorham Babson Family Scholarships: Giselle Gonzalez, Danna Reyes-Pedroza, Madyson Waldron

• Jernstedt Scholarship: Lara Clute

• Corwin Hardham Memorial Scholarship: Andrea Lachino

• Hood River Leos Scholarship: Maria Flores-Granero, Mason Spears, Ruby Betzing, Araceli Lopez, Ayala Vanover, Allison Doss, Abby Tomlinson·

• Larry Sohler Trade School Scholarship: Noah McElheran, Kevin Castro

Goldendale High School

• Theo Caldwell Memorial Scholarship: Stephen Pittman

Columbia High School

·    Bartholomew Family Scholarship: Angel Michel

Community Grants

For the second year, the Community Grants program combined the Joan Burchell Fund, the Riddell and Athalie Lage Fund, the Gorge Trust Fund, the Florence and Nobi Akiyama Fund and the Kate Leadbetter Mills Fund into a single program to increase the amount of funding available.

Information about the visionary donors whose legacies comprise these funds can be found here. We are pleased to announce the 2023 Community Grant recipients:

Play Frontier: Equipment and materials for infant room

Columbia Gorge CASA: For help recruiting a more diverse group of volunteer advocates

Wyle Wind & Water: Books for use in conjunction w/HRCSD Migrant Education

FISH Food Bank: Culturally familiar food products for Hispanic clientele

Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing: Support of screening program in Mid‐Columbia region

Immigration Counseling Service: Legal service scholarship to 170 immigrants/refugees

Mt. View Grange: Folding chairs and chair caddy

Mid‐Columbia Health Foundation: Wigs and cancer care bag supplies

Sally’s Cat Fund: Spay/neuter surgeries for homeless cats

One Community Health: Health fair/celebration of Hispanic culture in the Mid‐Columbia region

Central Gorge Master Gardener Assoc.: Pollinator garden in their Learning Garden in Hood River

Eleven organizations representing Wasco, Skamania, Klickitat and Hood River Counties and serving adults, youth, and seniors received grants, representing a diverse group of applicants and projects. As always, those applications not funded through the Community Grants program were made available to our Donor Advisors and several, including Arlington High School’s youth tennis team and CultureSeed, received funding as a result.

 

Congratulations Grads and Grantees

Congratulations, Grads!

The Gorge Community Foundation is delighted to announce the recipients of its 2022 scholarships.  Congratulations to this group of outstanding students!  We wish them every success in the years ahead.

We are also delighted that 2022 was the first year of two new scholarships: the Sohler Trade School Scholarship (Hood River Valley High School) and the Bartholomew Family Scholarship (Columbia High School).

Scholarship Awards:

Hood River Valley High School

  • Laura Douglas Schaefer Memorial Music. Scholarship: Lena Parsons, Tiffany Bertadillo
  • Gorham Babson Family Scholarships: Yazalea Heredia, Ernesto Jamie Ravadon, Yuliana Delgado Contreras, Ana Ruby Juarez Cruz
  • Jernstedt Scholarship: Kaelen Kenna
  • Corwin Hardham Memorial Scholarship: Sandra Castillo Palacios
  • Hood River Leos Scholarship: Elizabeth Keyla Ramirez Pinedo, Yazalea Heredia, Sandra Castillo Palacios, Christopher Nieport, Charlotte Loihl, Ana Adela Lopez Vera, Amy McCarthy
  • Larry Sohler Trade School Scholarship: Cassandra Moreno, Miyana Robertson

 Goldendale High School

  • Theo Caldwell Memorial Scholarship: Alden Williams

 

Columbia High School

  • Bartholomew Family Scholarship: Jackson Spadaro

 

 

GCF Supports Families in the Park

GCF Supports Families in the Park

The Gorge Community Foundation is one of the title sponsors of Hood River’s popular summer concert series, Families in the Park.  The series, running for four Thursdays in August, is back for 2022.

GCF Supports Sense of Place

GCF Supports Sense of Place

The Gorge Community Foundation is one of the title sponsors of the 2021-22 Sense of Place lecture series, hosted by Mt. Adams Institute.  The series, connecting people through place and storytelling,

features presenters with a unique knowledge of the Columbia River Gorge and who consider the natural, cultural, and political history that has shaped this place.  The presenters can include scientists, tribal members, authors, farmers, and many others from throughout the Pacific Northwest. The information and stories shared at these talks deepens our understanding of the Gorge and strengthens our connection to the landscape and each other.

The 12th season of Sense of Place series includes:

  • October 13: The Unusual Mushrooms of Cascadia
  • November 10: Rare Carnivores of the High Cascades
  • December 8: Debris Flows from Mount Adams and Mount Hood
  • January 12: Native Bees of the Gorge
  • February 9: A Model of Health: A History of Community Health Workers in the Gorge
  • March 9: Rajneeshees in Oregon
  • April 13: Forests, Wildfire, Timber Wars and Finding Common Ground: A Panel Discussion

Please note: Oct., Nov. and Dec. lectures are online.  Look for the Gorge Community Foundation’s logo on the Sense of Place website and newsletter!

 

 

Sohler Trade Scholarship

Sohler Trade Scholarship

The new Sohler Scholarship Fund, created by the family of the late George “Larry” Sohler, a beloved community leader who passed away in March, 2021, provides scholarships for seniors at Hood River Valley High School to pursue skilled vocational training. Larry Sohler had a long career in the Gorge as a heavy equipment owner/operator working with local orchardists. As his widow, Lucille (Luci) Sohler said, “Our family is pleased to offer this opportunity in Larry’s memory to Hood River Valley High School students. Larry believed that vocational training provides young people with a wide variety of career opportunities.” Larry’s own career included stints as an electrician, farmer, trucker and heavy equipment operator. He had a gift for restoring tractors and farm machinery and wanted to share these skills with young people just entering the work force.

Vocational education is available at many institutions in Washington and Oregon including Perry Trade School (Yakima), Portland Community College, Lane County Community College, Mt. Hood Community College, Clark College, Oregon Institute of Technology (Klamath Falls), and of course Columbia Gorge Community College. Scholarships will be available for students starting with the class of 2022. GCF is proud to welcome the Sohler Scholarship Fund.

2021 Community Grants

2021 Community Grants

This year, the Community Grants program combined the Joan Burchell Fund and the Riddell and Athalie Lage Fund into a single program to increase the amount of funding available. Information about the visionary donors whose legacies comprise these funds can be found here on the website. We are pleased to announce the 2021 Community Grant recipients:

Backpacks 4 Kids: Weekend and holiday meals for Klickitat County children
FISH Food Bank: Personal care items for FISH clients
Columbia Gorge Cat Rescue: Spay and neuter program
Mid Columbia Health Foundation: Gas cards for key patient groups
First Book, Wasco County: Books for low-income youth in North Wasco school district
First Book, Hood River County: Books for low-income youth in the Hood River school district
Mt. View Grange: A new refrigerator to serve Grange clientele
Columbia Center for the Arts: Support for efforts to expand inclusion and diversity
Mt. Adams Institute: Support for the Hear in the Gorge podcast
Cascade Locks Historical Museum: Funding to relocate items in the collection to a new
facility

Ten organizations representing Wasco, Klickitat and Hood River Counties and serving adults,
youth, animals, and those experiencing food insecurity received grants, representing a
diverse group of applicants and projects. As always, those applications not funded through
the Community Grants program were made available to our donor advisors and several
received funding as a result.

 

 

Congratulations, Grads!

Congratulations, Grads!

The Gorge Community Foundation is delighted to announce the recipients of its 2021 scholarships. Thank you to all who applied, and congratulations to this group of outstanding students. We wish you every success in the years ahead.

Scholarship Awards:

Hood River Valley High School
Laura Douglass Schaefer Memorial Music Scholarship:
Maxwell Spears
Gorham Babson Family Scholarships: Giselle Carabantes,
Omar Escobedo, Ben Garofalo, Cristina Lopez
Leos Scholarships: Monserrat Juarez Beltron, Gisell
Carabantes, Benjamin Garofalo, Erica Matthisen
Jernstedt Scholarship: Monserrat Juarez Beltron
Corwin Hardham Memorial Scholarship: Grace Guertin
Goldendale High School
Theo Caldwell Memorial Scholarship: Emily Harris

Bartholomew Fund supports Columbia HS students seeking education in the trades

Bartholomew Fund supports Columbia HS students seeking education in the trades

The new Bartholomew Family Scholarship Fund was created to provide scholarships for seniors at Columbia High School in White Salmon to pursue highly skilled vocational training after high school.  Says donor advisor Basil Bartholomew, “These jobs are key to our future but there are too few scholarships available for students to pursue vocational education and training.  Our family is pleased to offer this opportunity to Columbia High School students.”  Vocational education is available at a wide variety of institutions in Washington and Oregon including Perry Trade School (Yakima), Portland Community College, Lane Co. CC, Mt. Hood CC, Clark College, OIT (Klamath Falls), and of course Columbia Gorge CC.

This is GCF’s first scholarship for Columbia High School students.  Scholarships will be available for students starting with the class of 2022.

National Scenic Area fund supports environmental programs and education

National Scenic Area fund supports environmental programs and education

The Columbia River Gorge Commission is one of GCF’s newest designated fundholders.  The Commission’s mission is to establish policies and programs that protect and enhance the scenic, natural, recreational and cultural resources of the Columbia River Gorge, and to support economic vitality programs consistent with resource protections.  Says Executive Director Krystyna U. Wolniakowski, “As our new National Scenic Area Fund at GCF grows with donations, it will support our work with Gorge partners to create a new climate change action program,  engage historically underrepresented and marginalized communities, and monitor the health of the National Scenic Area to ensure protection of all Gorge resources for future generations.” 
Literacy and Library Programs Enhance Life in Gorge Communities

Literacy and Library Programs Enhance Life in Gorge Communities

As COVID-19 kept schoolchildren home and reduced their access to books and local libraries, a number of literacy programs throughout the Gorge have jumped in to help, supported in part by generous grants from Gorge Community Foundation donor advisors.  Through collaborations with the Hood River County School District and FISH Food Bank, the Hood River County Library supported by the Library Foundation has been donating books and providing funds for teachers to purchase books for their students.  First Book of Wasco and Hood River Counties has also purchased and distributed books for young readers.

The Hood River County Library has risen to the challenge of serving rural communities by committing to the purchase of a new bookmobile, with over 75% of the funds raised for the purchase of the bookmobile.  In addition to bringing materials patrons have requested, it will offer free mobile technology services for those needing to use a computer. The bookmobile will be stocked with Spanish and English reading material for youth and adults, an onboard internet connection and computers and printers.  It will offer free mobile technology services for those needing to use a computer, conduct a job search, print forms and documents, and conduct other business.  The bookmobile will visit senior centers and central community locations throughout the county and the bookmobile librarians will be bilingual and ready to recommend a book to a young reader or senior.  Hood River Library Foundation president Jen Bayer says, “The bookmobile will enable us to reach all of our communities and ensure that everyone has access to the library.”

If any of our donor advisors wish to support the bookmobile campaign, please let Jill Burnette know by the March board meeting on 3/29.  Grants of $2,500 or more will be recognized on the side of the bookmobile as sponsors.

Annual Fundholder Meeting

Annual Fundholder Meeting

The Gorge Community Foundation held its annual “state of the foundation” meeting via Zoom on Thursday, Nov. 8 with over 30 donor advisors and representatives of designated fundholder organizations in attendance.  Participants received an update on the Foundation’s funds and investment strategy from Ferguson Wellman fund manager Jim Coats as well as news from board chair Gil Sharp and executive director Jill Burnette on GCF activities and grantmaking. Coats’s presentation described Ferguson Wellman’s approach to developing a strategic investment policy during the pandemic, managing risk in a changing environment, and best practices for socially responsible investing.  Thanks to all who participated as we navigated a new online format for convening and sharing information.

Congratulations, scholarship recipients from the class of 2020

Congratulations, scholarship recipients from the class of 2020

This year saw another outstanding group of high school students. We wish them every success in the years ahead.
Scholarship Awards:
Hood River Valley High School
• Laura Douglas Schaefer Memorial Music Scholarship: Chloe Jessica Thorp and Mateo Martin Campos-Davis
• Gorham Babson Family Scholarships: Aileen Castro, Marileisi Castillo, Laura Lachino, Montserrat Pedozza, Jesse Flores
• Leos Scholarships: Melinda Flores, Eva Jones, Abigail Loihl, Grace Skakel, Ellen Sova
• Jernstedt Scholarship: Grace Skakel
• Corwin Hardham Memorial Scholarship: Marileisi Castillo
Goldendale High School
• Theo Caldwell Memorial Scholarship: Katelynn Gallagher
Lyle School District
Awards are made from the Lyle School Fund to graduating seniors
Burchell grants target food insecurity in Gorge communities

Burchell grants target food insecurity in Gorge communities

The Gorge Community Foundation Board of Directors has announced the following nine grant recipients from the Joan Burchell Fund.  This year’s grants are dedicated to addressing food insecurity throughout the counties that comprise the Gorge, exacerbated by the necessary response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The organizations selected to receive grants will use the funds to increase access to safe, healthy food for children, families and seniors affected by coronavirus measures.

The Dalles Farmers Market: To implement a revamped SNAP program for families to shop for produce and healthy food at the market.

Hood River Farmers Market: To supplement a matching incentive program.

FISH Food Bank: To supplement additional food purchases owing to increased need.

Oregon Food Bank: For food acquisition, storage & distribution specifically for the Columbia Gorge Food Banks.

White Salmon Valley Education Foundation: To provide food to families in the White Salmon area.

The Food Bridge Project: To purchase greenhouse supplies for two farms providing produce for families in need.

Back Packs 4 Kids: To provide meals in Klickikat County to children when not in school.

Stevenson-Carson Educational Foundation: To supplement meals to school age children.

Washington Gorge Action Programs: For of area food banks throughout Klickitat County.

Burchell grant recipients are located in Wasco, Skamania, Klickitat and Hood River Counties and represent a diverse group of applicants. As always, those applications not funded through the Burchell program will be made available to our Donor Advisors.

 

Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) at GCF

Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) at GCF

On April 22, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, GCF’s financial advisors at Ferguson Wellman commented on trends in socially responsible investing and new business practices resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  If you are interested in GCF’s socially responsible investment portfolio option, please contact Jill at jill.gorgecf@gmail.com for more information.
 
A NEW OUTLOOK ON EARTH DAY by Peter Jones, CFA, Vice President, Equity Research and Analysis
 
Wednesday, April 22, was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. In 1970, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson and activist Denis Hayes launched a nationwide environmental “teach-in” that later became Earth Day. Although the pandemic disrupted some plans for this milestone anniversary, if Senator Nelson were alive today, he would find emerging business practices of interest.
 

That is, companies are having to change their business models to adapt to the new normal, and in most cases, are using the downturn as an opportunity to address inefficiencies across corporate functions when the economy begins to recover.  As investors sift through data regarding the impact of the global economic shutdown, corporate updates are likely to include strategies for survival in the near term and plans for positioning themselves in the future, including permanent changes in business practices.

Socially responsible investing (SRI) originally came onto the scene with a goal of using ethical and moral criteria to screen “bad actors” out of client portfolios. From SRI evolved the notion that environmental, social and governance factors (ESG) could have financial relevance. The thesis is that better corporate behavior enables companies to position themselves to face long-term opportunities and threats instead of a myopic focus on near-term profits. By and large, the “E”, or environmental pillar of this discipline gets the most airtime. Nonetheless, the “S” and “G” pillars of social and governance are taking a critical role as we navigate the current pandemic.

As we ponder how sustainability in corporate behavior will evolve during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, several areas stand out, including:

1.      Corporate travel and events

Stay-at-home mandates have shut off all corporate travel, events and entertainment. Yet, employees and their customers still manage to stay connected through programs like Microsoft Teams, WebEx and of course, Zoom. Many companies are finding that these tools are effective in carrying out the tasks typically assigned to in-person meetings or larger events. Of course, in many cases, face-to-face meetings, events and travel are invaluable. But at the very least, the required shutdown is forcing companies to reconsider the cost-benefit of excessive travel and events that can be replicated at a lower cost in terms of time, money and in the use of fossil fuels. It is a reasonable to expect that corporate travel and events will not revert to the old norms any time soon.

2.      Stakeholders beyond shareholders

The primary objective for publicly traded companies is to provide value for its shareholders. However, the nature of the current downturn is requiring companies to consider stakeholders aside from the owners of the company, most importantly their employees. Instead of laying off as many employees as possible in order to protect near-term profits, we are witnessing many companies taking alternative actions, such as eliminating CEO and other C-suite pay. Companies are also using government-assisted furloughs and committing to pay for health benefits for employees who no longer have working hours. In addition, several firms, including Ferguson Wellman, have all but guaranteed that every employee will keep their job. Again, the nature of this crisis has changed the playbook for typical corporate behavior in a recession.

3.      Collapse in oil prices

One of the major side effects of the pandemic has been a dramatic decline in human and industrial mobility. This has caused demand for oil, gasoline and other fossil fuels to collapse. At the same time, “OPEC+” members Russia and Saudi Arabia failed in their negotiations to curtail the supply of oil. The combination of these factors has caused a drop in oil prices to levels not seen in 20 years. The structural movement toward renewables is in large part dependent on the economics. In other words, the incentive to switch to renewables or forego the use of fossil fuels is much stronger when the cost of gasoline is higher. This crisis has eliminated that incentive in some industries, as substitution is no longer a wise economic decision.

4.      Mortality rates and pollution

While there is still a great deal of uncertainty, early studies are beginning to show that communities with high levels of pollution display higher COVID-19 mortality rates. While highly speculative, this discovery could make corporations and voting constituencies more open to behavior, cultural norms and even regulations enacted to reduce the levels of pollution.

5.      Flexible business models

Large corporations are only known to operate in one product type, service offering or customer set are shifting their capabilities to benefit society in these challenging times. Companies such as General Motors have rapidly shifted automotive production facilities to produce key components for ventilators. Nike has shifted some of their facilities that make footwear to produce face shields that are critical for the healthcare workers on the front lines. And of course, healthcare companies, such as Abbott Labs, are rapidly scaling-up production for diagnostics to test antibodies in order to determine COVID immunity. In many cases, there is a natural overlap between acting for the benefit of society and adding to profitability, but this crisis has displayed the tremendous ability of large corporations to do their part.

As always, the past can provide perspective for things to come. After 9/11, we did go back to feeling comfortable with flying, but we continue to take off our shoes when entering airport security. This simple analogy reinforces that as investors and consumers, we most certainly will one day go back to normal, but some practices from recent months will endure. As we evolve into our new normal … we will also find new opportunities to analyze and invest in companies.

Peter Jones, CFA, is vice president of equity research and analysis for Ferguson Wellman Capital Management and lead portfolio manager for our Global Sustainable Investing (GSI) strategy. Launched in 2018 as an ESG solution for individuals and nonprofits that overlays MSCI data on our investment principles, GSI has become the fastest growing investment strategy in the history of our firm.

Burchell Update

The Gorge Community Foundation Board of Directors has announced that 2020 grants from the Joan Burchell Fund will be dedicated to addressing issues of food insecurity throughout the Columbia River Gorge exacerbated by the necessary response to the coronavirus pandemic.  This is a one-time decision to help our communities protect our most vulnerable citizens through this time of need.  If your organization provides meals or access to safe, healthy food and you wish to apply for funding, please click here for more information.  Applications will be due on April 15 and grants awarded by the end of May.
Meet our new investment managers

Meet our new investment managers

After a year-long review process led by the Foundation’s investment committee, the Gorge Community Foundation is delighted to announce that the Portland firm of Ferguson Wellman has been selected as its new investment manager.

The process was initiated by the investment committee, consisting of board chair Gil Sharp, treasurer Nate Reagan, board member Branden Buel and community leader Rob McCormick, as an exercise in prudent financial oversight and a desire to ensure that as the Foundation grows, its assets are managed to the highest standards and with an intentional, articulated investment policy and long-term strategy.  A request for proposal led to responses by four firms, which were then narrowed to two – Ferguson Wellman and incumbent UBS – for further review.  After reviewing the qualifications of both firms, Ferguson Wellman was selected, based on their extensive experience with other regional non-profit foundations including Western Oregon University Foundation and Friends of the Gorge.

The Foundation is deeply appreciative of the professional and skillful handling of our investment portfolio by Keith Sheppard and the Mt. Hood Investment Group of UBS for almost twenty years.

Ferguson Wellman, founded in 1975, is a private, employee-owned Portland investment advisory firm serving individuals, families and institutions.  They have designed and managed customized investment portfolios for clients’ IRAs, trusts, foundations, endowments, corporate retirement and pension plans. The firm manages $4.97 billion for 832 clients.  The Gorge Community Foundation’s account will be managed by executive vice president Jim Coats, an OSU grad with a master’s degree from Columbia University and a long family history in the Gorge ranging from The Dalles to Goldendale.

FW Executive Vice-President Jim Coats

Full house at our annual fundholder breakfast

Full house at our annual fundholder breakfast

The Foundation held its annual “state of the foundation” breakfast at the Hood River Inn on Nov. 14 and the Riverview Room was filled with donor advisors and representatives of designated fundholder organizations to meet new investment manager Jim Coats and hear  updates from board chair Gil Sharp and executive director Jill Burnette on Foundation activities and grantmaking.  Coats’s presentation introduced Ferguson Wellman and described the firm’s approach to developing a strategic investment policy, managing risk in a changing environment, and best practices for socially responsible investment.
2019 Burchell Grants

2019 Burchell Grants

Thank you to all the hardworking and deserving organizations that applied this year and congratulations to these recipients:

The Next Door Raices Program: Gardening supplies for the Raices community garden
CultureSeed: Bending the Bars program for trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness classes to inmates at Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility (NORCOR).
The Dalles Farmers Market: Power of Produce program for kids ages 4-16 to receive a $2 token for fresh fruits and vegetables.
3 Squares Program: Meals for Skamania County students during school breaks
Columbia Riverkeeper: Bilingual signs for Nichols Natural Area
Back Packs 4 Kids: Weekend snacks for Klickitat County kids and farmers market vouchers
Six organizations representing Wasco, Skamania, Klickitat and Hood River Counties and serving youth, people in transition and those experiencing food insecurity received Burchell grants, representing a diverse group of applicants and projects. As always, those applications not funded through the Burchell program were made available to our Donor Advisors and several received funding as a result.
Congratulations

Congratulations

to our 2019 scholarship recipients.  We wish these outstanding students every success in the years ahead.

Hood River Valley High School
•              Laura Douglas Schaefer Memorial Music Scholarship: Atari Gauthier
•              Gorham Babson Family Scholarships: Litsy Quintana Moreles, Esmeralda Bibian Rodriguez, Damary Romero, Yulisa Certitos Leon
•              Leos Scholarships: Esmeralda Bibian Rodriguez, Andrea Quintana Morales, Isabelle Star, Jade Dowdy, Stephen Bustamante, Bryce Salmon, Josie Petersen
•              Jernstedt Scholarship: Daniela Valle
•              Corwin Hardham Memorial Scholarship: Andrea Morales
Goldendale High School
•              Theo Caldwell Memorial Scholarship: Tori Tallman