New Year, New Grant Opportunities

As we pause and reflect at the beginning of a new year, we are grateful to all nonprofit staff and volunteers who give time and talent to your community and the people you serve. We also thank the foundations and donors whose financial investments in rural communities help us fill the gaps. May 2017 bring us more opportunities to work together and learn from each other.

Several grant deadlines are coming up in the next few months. Here is a partial list of Foundations who support rural nonprofits and communities and their application due dates.

January 15 – Oregon Community Foundation Community Grants
February 1 – Reser Family Foundation
March 15 – The Autzen Foundation
April 4 – The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation
June 1 – Trust Management Services (Wheeler, Grant, Harney, Malheur counties)

The Collins Foundation and The Ford Family Foundation have rolling deadlines with funding decisions made throughout the year. (Check their websites for more information.)

Nonprofits! Save time preparing your grant applications by keeping an updated file of the following information that nearly all funders need in addition to specific information about the project in the grant request:

  • List of current board members and their affiliations
  • Copy of IRS letter of determination of 501(c)(3) status
  • Organization budget for current year
  • Project budget showing projected income sources and expenditures
  • Organization financial statement including balance sheet and statement of activity (revenue and expense)

Before applying, study each foundation’s website to be sure your organization’s proposal fits that foundation’s fields of interest.

Oregon Community Foundation:
Reser Family Foundation
The Autzen Foundation:
The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation
Trust Management Services
The Collins Foundation
The Ford Family Foundation

Wheeler County Made the National News

The Atlantic magazine sent a reporter to Fossil and Mitchell to talk to people about how things have changed in the past 50 years. What she learned was featured in an article in the June 2016 issue called “The Graying of Rural America.”

The story is realistic and hopeful. It describes the people of Wheeler County as resilient, self-sustaining, and smart – able to make the decisions they need to make to continue living in Oregon’s frontier.

You can read the whole story by clicking on this link:

The Atlantic is a literary and cultural commentary magazine with a national reputation as a high-quality review with a moderate worldview. It was founded in 1857 by several prominent people and writers of the day including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Greenleaf Whittier, and James Russell Lowell, who served as its first editor. Its circulation is nearly 500,000 subscribers.


Harney, Grant, Wheeler and Crook County Nonprofits Received More Than $1 Million in Grants in 2015!

Local grants ranged from $1000 to $200,000. They included general operating support as well as funding for staff and strategic planning. Grants also helped build new community meeting places and renovated or replaced kitchens, floors, and equipment for existing community buildings. Foundations funded projects at fairgrounds, parks, libraries, emergency shelters and food banks in communities across the four counties including Spray, Fossil, Long Creek, John Day, Burns and Prineville.

We know it takes hard work to plan a good project, research funders who have an interest in your project area, and then collect the information and write a grant that tells your story. Congratulations to our nonprofits! Well done!

Training and Workshops Pay Off

Most grant recipients were organizations who have sent people to grantwriting workshops and nonprofit trainings supported and endorsed by the Shelk Foundation.

With our encouragement, the Center for Nonprofit Stewardship (CNS) and Nonprofit Association of Oregon (NAO) brought their quality programs into our communities throughout the spring and fall, saving time and travel expense for hardworking community volunteers and staff.  We also worked with Rural Development Initiatives (RDI) to bring their Regards to Rural conference to Central Oregon for the first time last summer and to Ontario in June 2016.

Connections with Funders Build Awareness and Understanding

The Shelk Foundation helps in other ways, too, by bringing funders’ attention to critical needs and important projects in our counties.

When the Canyon Creek fire struck Grant County last summer our friends at Roundhouse Foundation provided Columbia Sportswear coats for students who had lost everything in the fire.

When a failing roof threatened the senior meal site in Fossil, we helped connect them with Meyer Memorial Trust who provided funds to fix the roof before winter.

The Lamb Foundation gave a significant grant to help start a family relief nursery in Prineville, and the Barbara Emily Knudsen Foundation brought their entire board of trustees to Burns in an innovative grantmaking process that included meeting face-to-face with nonprofit volunteers, listening to their grant proposals, asking questions, giving guidance and making truly informed grant decisions.

By working and learning together, we all make a difference in our rural counties.



We are here to help

Isobel Edwards Hall has been the center of community activity in Fossil since it was built nearly 50 years ago. Weddings, reunions, funerals, high school dances and public meetings are held there. It also serves as the weekly senior meal site.

In October, when Wheeler County Judge Chris Perry told us the roof was failing and there was a possibility the seniors would be without a meal site for the winter, we made a call to our friends at Meyer Memorial Trust. A few days before Thanksgiving, Judge Perry received news that Meyer awarded Wheeler County a $10,000 grant for emergency roof repairs on Isobel Edwards Hall.

“This grant is a godsend,” Judge Perry said. “We can’t thank Meyer Memorial Trust enough for their generous and timely grant. We also know it would not have been possible without the Shelk Foundation’s making the connection.”

Thank you for the compliment, Judge Perry. We are happy to help. That’s why we’re here – to build bridges and relationships between rural communities and foundations who want to assist but are not always aware of a community’s needs.

Paradise Goes up in Flames

Paradise goes up in flames

Here is new list of items needed by people in Grant County who lost homes and belongings in the Canyon Creek Complex fire, updated August 25.

COOKING SUPPLIES: propane camp stoves, small propane bottles, pots and pans, silverware, glasses, bowls, condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, salt and pepper, sugar), cooking oil, coolers, garbage bags, can openers

TOOLS: pitch forks, handles for hand tools, shovels,  rope, axes, splitting mauls, hoes, chainsaws, scoop shovel, pick head axe, weed eaters, loppers, hand tools, power tools

CLEANUP AND REBUILDING: generators, tarps, construction grade extension cords with multi splitters, posthole diggers, wheelbarrows, hoses, sprinklers, safety glasses. Some home owners lost their outbuildings as well and need access to hammers, screwdrivers, fencing pliers, etc. to start rebuilding their lives.

BASIC NEEDS AND THE LITTLE THINGS: first aid kits, band aids, lawn chairs, air mattress pump, lint rollers, light bulbs, universal phone chargers, storage totes, batteries, gas cans, motor oil, large water storage, ratchet straps, duct tape, masking tape

The Grant County Fairgrounds is receiving donations of materials and supplies. Please contact Mary Weaver at 541-575-1900 for items to donate. The Fairgrounds Relief Center Facebook page is the best source for lists of current needs:

John Day Fire


Our hearts and thoughts are with friends and neighbors in John Day and Canyon City who are showing amazing strength and resiliency in the face of a wildfire that still threatens and is burning out of control.

There are many ways you can help.

A Community Fire Relief Fund has been established by the Old West Federal Credit Union. All proceeds will go directly to family relief and is managed locally. Donors can contribute to a general fund or indicate a particular family or agency as a designee. Deposits can be made directly by going to the credit union or by mailing the donation to Old West Federal Credit Union, Community Relief Fund, 650 West Main Street, John Day, OR 97845, or calling 541-575-0264. For additional information go to

The Grant County Fairgrounds is receiving donations of materials and supplies. Please contact Mary Weaver at 541-575-1900 for items to donate. The Fairgrounds Relief Center Facebook page is the best source for lists of current needs:

As of Wednesday evening, August 19, some of these items included hoses, sprinklers, hand held walkie talkies, universal phone chargers, laptop cords for both hp and dell, dust masks, power tools, chainsaws, wheelbarrows, coolers, storage totes, batteries, generators, tarps, construction grade extension cords with multi splitters, gas cans. tools (some home owners lost their outbuildings as well and need access to hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, etc. to start rebuilding their lives).

Fire cloudcloud over barnHome in perilDowntownSmoky Canyon CitySeneca schoolComing into the valley [angles]Fire

Community Funding

Grants totaling $9000 were awarded to 16 organizations in Grant and Wheeler counties this spring, the result of a collaboration between the Shelk Foundation and the Oregon Cultural Trust Coalitions.

The Shelk Foundation is in sync with the Cultural Trust model of relying on local volunteers to distribute seed grants that address the needs of their counties. For the past two years the Shelk Foundation has contributed $20,400 to the Grant County Juniper Arts Council and the Wheeler County Cultural and Heritage Coalition to distribute as general purpose grants in their counties.

Rural nonprofits’ needs are generally small and immediate. Most nonprofits are staffed by dedicated volunteers, many who have never applied for a grant. Local businesses and community members are stretched thin with repeated requests for donations. The Shelk Foundation Community Funding program helps fill that gap.


Wheeler County
Mitchell School for trip to Shakespeare Festival in Ashland – $500
Mitchell City Council for structure to protect Bear Bench in park – $500
Mitchell School Choir for formal wear as concert attire – $250
Spray Grange to repair kitchen island – $500
Spray Museum to update lighting – $500
Spray School to defray costs for field trip to Newport – $500
To promote Wheeler County arts and crafts events – $250

Grant County
Canopy for Grant County Fairgrounds – $400
Grant County 4H Leaders to update 4H fair display – $600
Grant County Library for Legos for Legos Night – $500
Healthy ‘n’ Fit Kids health promotion day camp – $1000
Vernon Grange to help replacement of septic system – $1000
Grant County OSU Extension for financial training class – $1000
Cinnabar Mountain Playdays to purchase insurance – $500
Grant School District for timing system for track meets – $500

In addition to funding, our grant program has other objectives:
♦   Helping nonprofits learn grantwriting skills, including project planning, budgeting, and storytelling
♦   Creating an opportunity to be successful in receiving a small grant and encouragement to apply for grants from other foundations
♦   Provide local support that can be leveraged as a match for other grants