by Laura Kussman
The Orcas Island Community Foundation distributed $237,000 to 25 local programs that serve the island community.
The 2019 Give Orcas campaign funded 87 percent of the requested $266,472 grants. Donations came from 612 Partners in Philanthropy – almost double the amount in 2018. “Partners in Philanthropy” are community members who contributed $10 or more, in addition to $72,328 allocated by OICF, fully funding 15 of the 25 requests.
“This year, our Give Orcas donors represent 10% of our community,” said OICF Director Hilary Canty during the awards celebration on May 22. “On Unique Donor Day alone (a May 9 campaign game), we had over 400 donors contribute to local nonprofits, compared to a total of 377 donors had for the entire campaign in 2018.”
More than 200 new Partners in Philanthropy were gained in support of many vital programs. The Give Orcas grant cycle is a collaborative effort in which all local nonprofits are welcome to apply and all community members are invited to donate, enabling the OICF to leverage their discretionary grant dollars, transforming $50,000 into $237,000.
For a complete list of 2019 Give Orcas grant awards, go to https://oicf.us/nonprofits/annual-grants/ .
A portion of the ceremony in the Emmanuel Parish Hall was spent honoring volunteer Coleen O’Brien, who, along with OICF staff member Kate Long, developed the unique Give Orcas grant model. After 10 years, O’Brien is now moving on to “other projects.”
“What strikes me from this campaign is we connect,” said OICF Trustee Susan Singleton. “We connect with donors, members, colleagues, neighbors and neighboring local businesses. In doing so, we’re weaving together something remarkably strong.”
At the end of the ceremony, the Youth Philanthropy Awards were presented. Each year, a local donor provides the Orcas High School graduating class with $5,000 and gives them the opportunity to support programs that have made a difference in their lives. This year, they selected Opal Community Land Trust ($1,000), the Orcas Farmers Market ($1,000), Safe San Juans ($1,000), Orcas Recycling and The Exchange ($1,000) and the Orcas Island Food Bank ($1,000).
“You were all just applauding us, but really this is our applaud to you all,” said senior Luke Pietsch.