GCF Community Grants

For nearly two decades, the Gorge Community Foundation has made grants through its donor advised funds and grantmaking programs to strengthen the fabric of Gorge communities. In 2021, our Community Grants will continue to support our region with a sharpened focus on the most pressing challenges our region is facing today.  The purpose of the Community Grants program is to provide charitable funds as the Foundation board determines are most needed and not limited to a single focus or exclusively to the interests of a particular constituency.

With the 2021 granting cycle, the Community Grants program will combine 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 is below.

In the 2021 grant cycle the total available for granting is $14,000 and proposals will be accepted for any amount up to that total.  The 2021 Request for Proposal can be found here. The range of grants in the past has been $650 to $4,000.  Grant recipients are expected to comply with reporting requirements in order to be eligible for any future grants.

The following projects received funding in 2020:

  • The Dalles Farmers Market: $1,200 to implement a revamped SNAP program for families to shop for produce and healthy food at the market.
  • Hood River Farmers Market: $1,500 to supplement a matching incentive program.
  • FISH Food Bank: $2,000 to supplement additional food purchases owing to increased need.
  • Oregon Food Bank: $3,000 for food acquisition, storage & distribution specifically for the Columbia Gorge Food Banks.
  • White Salmon Valley Education Foundation: $1,500 to provide food to families in the White Salmon area.
  • The Food Bridge Project: $1,000 to purchase greenhouse supplies for two farms providing produce for families in need.
  • Back Packs 4 Kids: $1,500 to provide meals in Klickitat County to children when not in school.
  • Stevenson-Carson Educational Foundation: $800 to supplement meals to school-age children.
  • Washington Gorge Action Programs: $840 for area food banks throughout Klickitat County.

The following projects received funding in 2019:

  • The Next Door:  $1,500 for gardening supplies for the Raices Community Garden.
  • CultureSeed:  $3,900 for Bending the Bars program at NORCOR.
  • The Dalles Farmers Market:  $1,500 for Power of Produce program for kids.
  • 3 Squares Program:  $2,000 for student meals during school breaks in Skamania County.
  • Columbia Riverkeeper:  $1,400 for bilingual signs for Nicols Natural Area.
  • Back Packs 4 Kids:  $1,400 for weekend snacks and farmers market vouchers for Klickitat County kids.

GCF Community Grants Program

The program is comprised of the Joan Burchell Fund and the Riddell and Athalie Lage Fund

About Joan Burchell

Joan was born in New York City on April 25, 1923, and grew up in Chappaqua, N.Y.  As a young woman, she defied tradition by moving to Venezuela to work as a decorator and furniture designer. She traveled extensively in South and Central America before returning to New York to work for Reader’s Digest until retirement.

Joan was an avid swimmer and kayaker who traveled and camped alone in Europe.  After retirement, she traveled the country looking for a retirement home. The fact that she chose the community of Mt. Hood in the Columbia River Gorge 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 December 14, 2008. 

About Riddell and Athalie Lage

 Edward (Riddell) Lage and Athalie Miller were married in the Pine Grove Church in 1935 and raised three children in Hood River.  Riddell, the son of 19 th century Oregon pioneers, ran and modernized his family’s farm, Lage Orchards Inc., which earned the Century Farm designation for 100 years of ownership by a single family.  Riddell passed away in 1975, and Athalie was 103 at the time of her passing in 2020.

Both Riddell and Athalie were lifelong residents of Hood River and active in the community through business, youth and social activities.  Their legacy fund commemorates their dedication to their community through service and philanthropy.