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Gorge Foundation boosts nonprofits

News staff writer

June 7, 2006

The Gorge Community Foundation has made more than $9,000 in grants this spring, and anticipates making another $5,000 in grants over the next couple of months.

The awards include grants to eight different local organizations and two scholarships from seven different endowment funds.

Organizations receiving grants were:

* Hood River Commission on Children and Families

* Hood River County 4-H Leaders Association

* Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute

* Mt. Hood Towne Hall

* Hood River Valley Residents Committee

* Georgiana Smith Park at the Hood River County Library

* Columbia River Waterfront Park Committee

* Hospice of the Gorge

* Soroptimist International of Hood River

The Gorge Community Foundation was established in 2001 as a way to address the problem of sustainable funding for local nonprofit organizations.

Community foundations are public charities that build and manage permanent endowment funds which provide grants to local nonprofit organizations and projects.

The first grants from the Gorge Community Foundation were made in 2003, and annual grant totals have tripled since then. The foundation contains 34 separate funds and has assets totaling more than $600,000.

The Gorge Community Foundation contains different types of funds: donor-advised funds, where the original donors who established the fund are involved in the granting process; community funds, where grants are made for general charitable purposes; field of interest funds, where grants are made in a specific area chosen by the donor; and designated funds, where grants are made to a specific agency.

According to Lynn Everroad, foundation executive director, the foundation currently has the potential to grant more than $40,000 a year, but many of the endowments are in growth mode and organizations or donor-advisors are choosing to decline grants in the interest of increasing the size of their funds to meet future needs.

There is no minimum amount necessary to start a fund, but a commitment must be made to bring the fund to $5,000 within five years. Funds must reach $10,000 to be eligible for granting status.

For more information about the Gorge Community Foundation, go to www.gorgecf.org

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