Gorge Community Foundation: Community groups should focus on the importance of thinking long-term

We are so lucky to call the awe-inspiring Columbia River Gorge home — a special place renowned for its natural beauty, diverse heritage, and, of course, the wonderful people who live and work here.

As a resident and new executive director of the Gorge Community Foundation, I have been overwhelmed with the passion and desire of people and communities here coming together to support each other during and in the wake of the Eagle Creek fire. Many of you have given your time, resources and donations to support each other.

Now, more than ever, we are focused on ways in which we can sustain this sense of community and connectedness over the long-term. There are literally hundreds of nonprofit organizations here working to do just that.

At the Gorge Community Foundation, our role is to connect the people and donors who want to make a lasting difference with local organizations and nonprofits creating lasting change. Whether you’re interested in the environment, education, the arts, or helping those who lack basic needs, the Gorge Community Foundation can connect you to organizations addressing the causes you care about.

We help donors do that by creating their own charitable fund or by donating to a nonprofit organization’s endowment fund, thereby multiplying the impact of their investment. We combine their contributions with those of other Gorge community members so the value of everyone’s funds increases.

By establishing a fund with the Gorge Community Foundation, donors can establish their own legacy during their lifetime. Community Foundations are not just for wealthy families and individuals. New funds can be started with no minimum amount, but a commitment to bring the fund to $5,000 within five years. People who love this miraculous place we call home can give now and see the ways their contribution is making our communities better and stronger — now and for years to come.

There are many pressures facing Gorge communities and residents. Let’s keep this place special. By working together, we can set the stage for long-term healthy, beautiful and sustained Gorge for years to come.

Jill Burnette lives in Hood River and is executive director of the Gorge Community Foundation. For more information, visit gorgecf.org, email jill@gorgecf.org or call 509-250-3525.

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