A New Way of Funding Rural Communities

The John and Linda Shelk Foundation tries something new in grantmaking to rural communities.

Fall 2013 the Shelk Foundation contributed funds to the Wheeler County Cultural and Heritage Coalition in Wheeler County and to the Juniper Arts Council in Grant County for the purpose of addressing local needs. It is the Shelk philosophy that local people are best suited to determine their community priorities and needs.

The two granting organizations each developed an application process with criteria and guidelines unique to their county. Committee members discussed and evaluated each grant request and distributed funds to projects that best served the most people. The process was quick and nonprofits received their grants within a few weeks of applying. The application and reporting process was simple, the timeline for receiving dollars was short, and the people making the decisions were fair and knowledgeable.

The 2014 Community Grant cycle is in process and we will report the recipients soon!

Wheeler County 2013 Community Grants
* The Rock – $700 to replace kitchen floor
* Fitness Forever – $700 to upgrade Glover Building
* Mitchell Park Pavillion – $700 to replace roof
* Fossil Library – $400 to support SAGE book-sharing program
* Fossil Food Pantry – $200 for general support
* Local Focal Fossil Festival – $300 to celebrate local businesses

Grant County 2013 Community Grants
* Grant Union High School – $2500 to repair track
* Prairie City Ministerial Association – $1000 for emergency home heat for families
* Grant-Harney CASA – $1000 to reimburse volunteers’ mileage
* Strawberry Mt. Outdoor Club – $1500 for youth bike safety club

Watch for the next round of community grants to be announced in mid-Summer.

Eastern Oregon Nonprofit Conference

The second Eastern Oregon Nonprofit Conference was held June 6, 2014. Nearly 200 Eastern Oregon nonprofit and community leaders joined funders and session presenters to learn, share and network. All-day work sessions covered a range of topics including planning capital campaigns, writing good fiscal policies and using the newest technology.

Max Williams, CEO of Oregon Community Foundation, gave the opening keynote. Other featured speakers were Adam Davis, DHM Research, who presented the Oregon Values and Beliefs Study. Corey Ciocchetti, University of Denver, closed the conference.

Many thanks to the funders who supported the conference, participated in the funders panel, and met with conference attendees throughout the day: Oregon Community Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Gray Family Foundation, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Susan G. Komen Foundation and Northwest Health Foundation.
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