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.