It took nearly two and a half years from idea to action,

But construction of Meredith House has begun!

Domestic violence is a hard subject to talk about. But even in small, close-knit communities there are people – women, children, and men – who need a place safe from harm.

About ten years ago George Meredith incorporated the local domestic violence program into HEART of Grant County, a nonprofit dedicated to safe housing, counseling, advocacy, and education. He recruited board members and applied for foundation grants to build awareness and hire staff. Oregon Community Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Shelk Foundation, and others supported HEART. The program grew and hundreds of people were able to find help through the emergency hotline and referrals. In emergencies, housing was provided in local motels.

A few years ago, Rick Minster came onto the HEART board of directors and he and others thought the time was right for HEART to have a permanent home and a facility that would not only provide secure and safe housing, but a place where children – who often didn’t understand what was happening – a place more comfortable than a motel room. And they decided to call it Meredith House, in honor of George Meredith.

George and Rick had both attended nonprofit workshops and trainings promoted by the Shelk Foundation and encouraged their fellow board members and staff to attend, too. The knowledge learned, the contacts made, and the understanding gained, helped secure support.

Ongoing contributions and inkind donations from community businesses and individuals, local government agencies, and foundation grants will pay for the site development, environmental and cultural reviews, permits, utilities, furnishings, fencing and landscaping – including playground equipment for children. Land was purchased from a reserve fund HEART saved from annual contributions through the years. The bulk of the construction is funded by a federal Community Development Block Grant.

Meredith House is a success story. A community effort to help Grant County’s most vulnerable people.    

Recent Grants

Although much has changed in the past few months, nonprofits in our counties are adjusting and continuing their critical work. The Shelk Foundation is privileged to help as they serve the most vulnerable children, families and seniors in our communities.

The Shelk Foundation is closely aligned with the Oregon Community Foundation and most of our granting this year has come through the Shelk Advised Funds at OCF.

During the first half of 2020 we have funded CASA of Grant and Harney Counties, Frontier CASA in Wheeler County and Families First in John Day to help with technology and staffing to keep in contact with their children and families online as the pandemic prohibited face-to-face meetings. MountainStar Relief Nursery, KIDS Center and Family Access Network have also received our support to help them continue serving Prineville and Crook County children.

As many of our neighbors have found themselves unemployed, we have advised grants to St. Vincent DePaul Crook County’s food bank to help meet increased demand and the Meals on Wheels program of the Prineville Soroptimists to help them continue delivering meals to our home-bound seniors.

Oregon foundations are rapidly evolving to meet critical needs across the state. Funding deadlines and priorities are changing. If grants are a part of your nonprofit’s financial planning, or if your organization has unexpected expenses due to Covid-19, be sure to research foundation websites for current funding opportunities. Click on the Resources tab above for current information.

We Will Get Through This Together

In a time when there seems to be limits on everything that once seemed normal, one thing stands out in abundance. That is the amount of caring and compassion people are showing to one another. Rather than dwelling on what we are missing, we are asking, “What can I do to help?”

Grantmakers around the state are figuring out ways to help get funds out quickly to nonprofits who are responding to their community’s basic needs. Oregon Community Foundation and The Ford Family Foundation have established emergency funds for COVID-19 needs. Funds are limited, but the application and timelines have been streamlined to be as responsive as possible. Here are links:

OCF Oregon Community Recovery Grant Program: https://oregoncf.org/grants-and-scholarships/grants/oregon-community-recovery-grants/

The Ford Family Foundation: https://www.tfff.org/general-article-news-stories-etc/open-letter-our-grantees

Other organizations serving nonprofits and foundations offer regular news updates with information about COVID-19 efforts to help Oregon nonprofits and communities.

The Nonprofit Association of Oregon website posts COVID-19 updates every few days with information about programs and actions addressing the coronavirus impact: https://nonprofitoregon.org/

Grantmakers of Oregon and SW Washington website has a COVID-19 page that updates Foundation efforts around the state: https://gosw.org/covid19/

We will post other resources as they become available. And when we finally emerge from our homes and back into the sunlight – and we will – may we have a greater understanding and appreciation of what is truly important.