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: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fairgrounds-Relief-Center/1602176766737761?fref=ts

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 www.oldwestfcu.org

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: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fairgrounds-Relief-Center/1602176766737761?fref=ts

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

Mitchell Nonprofit Roundup


Mitchell Rup Group [1]

More than 30 people from Wheeler, Grant and Crook counties gathered in Mitchell for a training event hosted by Oregon Community Foundation and Nonprofit Association of Oregon. Cheryl Puddy from OCF-Bend gave tips on writing a Community Grants application and Adrienne Graham of NAO led an exercise in creating a powerful case statement. Friendships were made, stories were shared, and lunch was enjoyed by all.

More than $650,000 Granted to Regional Nonprofits

Statewide foundations awarded more than $650,000 in grants to nonprofits in Harney, Grant, Wheeler and Crook counties in 2014.

Organizations and projects receiving grants demonstrated the diverse needs of the people and communities of Eastern Oregon. They included libraries and museums, medical facilities, youth and family services, as well as theater groups and booster clubs. A furnace was repaired, computers replaced, and a women’s shelter renovated. Several organizations received operational expenses that included staffing, strategic planning and increasing the number of volunteers. In additional to nonprofit grants, students in our four counties received thousands of dollars in scholarship grants to help continue their education.

Thank you to Oregon foundations and donors who recognize and support the important work of the nonprofit staff and volunteers dedicated to improving their communities.