Community Foundation awards annual grants

  • Tue Jun 17th, 2008 8:18pm
  • News

While the Orcas Island Community Foundation (OICF) has awarded substantial assostamce to island non-profits this year, there are many grant applications they were not able to fund, in part or in full, and they want the community to know that worthy organizations are out there and could use a little help, or a lot of help, from the island community at large.

The grants committee recently published its list of 2008 OICF Approved Grant Projects, the result of a selection process that began early this year when OICF solicited grant applications to all local non-profits.

According to Mona Kutsche, OICF Grants Committee Co-Chair with Kate Janeway, this year collaborative grants among applicants and multi-year grants were encouraged, such as the Music Advocacy Group – Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival three-year grant to fund the preschool music program. “Since we have a limited number of funds to give out, one way we serve the community is to encourage collaborative efforts,” said Kutsche.

The OICF practices what it preaches. Their “Partners in Philanthropy” program, now in its third year, is both a way to expand their contributions and a service to potential donors, who may give unrestricted funds. OICF then helps specific philanthropists identify which non-profit they’d like to help.

Partners get the first opportunity to fund grant applicants, after the 12-member Grants Committee has evaluated and ranked the applicants. Criteria used include how many people are served by the organization, how stable and well-organized it is, how great the community need is, and the project’s likelihood of success.

Partners contributed significantly, nearly $50,000, to fully or partially fund the grants this year; the funds are identified in the online list of approved grant projects. (See “OICF grants” )OICF invites the community to help fund requests that were partially funded, or approved, but not funded, in their process.

Those who see a project they’d like to help with, but don’t want to sign on to be a full “Partner in Philanthropy,” are encouraged to call Kutsche, at 376-7087.

Youth Grants

The Youth Grant program was started by a Partner in Philanthropy several years ago. This year OICF gave $4,000 to the Senior Class to allocate to non-profits in a way that the class deems important. Teachers Val Hellar and Kathleen Collister oversee the project. “Kids who’ve grown up here have a unique perspective on what’s important,” says Kutsche. “The project helps them understand non-profit structure and what it takes to make a healthy community.”

It is completely their decision, as they determine which valid, qualified charities to donate to. The Youth Grants will be announced at the the annual grants award celebration on Monday, June 9.

OICF confirms the qualifications of its non-profit applicants, and it also awards grants to government entities, such as the school district. It also assists the Orcas Island Education Foundation’s “Education Initiative” by advising donors who want their money to stay in OICF, but go to aid the school district.

OICF will also give funds to community or religious organizations who use grant funds for charitable community purposes; witness the telescope at the Christian School which is open to the community. The criteria is that the organization’s purpose be charitable, educational, or scientific.

OICF has expanded their grants to pay for organizations’ operational expenses over the past couple of years, to help non-profits start new projects and to help them identify other funding sources, said Kutsche. For example, it gave “seed funding” to Hearts and Hands last year to help them begin operations. OICF does not fund recurring operational expenses.

On May 12, the Grants Committee submitted their recommendation to the OICF Board for funding and the Board approved all the recommendations.

The annual grants award celebration will be held Monday, June 9 at 3:30 p.m. at the Orcas Center Madrona Room.