July 27th Virtual Meeting with Colleagues Community Foundations United Ways

                September 14th 1:00 – 2:30 ZOOM Dialogue:  TBD

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

-Robert Louis Stevenson

Highlights and Summary Notes
Jefferson e Funders Forum
July 27th 2020

Jefferson Funders Forum brings together public and private philanthropic leadership to share information, perspectives and experiences; cooperatively explore and leverage resources to positively impact communities in southern Oregon and northern California.

Levels of Engagement: I. Communication and Information Sharing; II. Learning Together; III. Planning for Collective & Collaborative Action IV. Action

ZOOM Facilitator – Bill Thorndike, Northwest Health Foundation

39 Participants included:  Bill Thorndike, NW Health Foundation; Anne Golden, Threshold Foundation; Heidi Binder, Amy Cuddy, Patrick Hosfield, John Moriarty, Max Williams, Oregon Community Foundation; Polly Williams, Carpenter Foundation; Paula Thompson, Wild Rivers Coast Alliance; Cathy Kemper-Pelle & Judy Basker, Rogue Community College/Foundation; Kathy Bryon, Lilia Caballero, Jennifer Staton, Gordon Elwood Foundation; Gina Zottola, Wild Rivers Community Foundation; Deborah Ameen & Sam Engel, AllCare;  Nancy McKinnis & Samantha Watson, Jackson Care Connect; Debbie Daggett, Christian Gold-Stagg, Asante Foundation; Jen Shafer, United Way of SW Oregon; Lyn Hennion, Oregon Community Foundation Advised Donor; Kate Dwyer, Four Way Community Foundation; Dee Anne Everson & Dan Thorndike, United Way of Jackson County; Matt Epstein, Epstein Family Foundation; Angela  Durant, City of Medford; Carrie Hanson, Cheney, West and Dubbs Family Foundations; Katie Hutchinson & Keith Thomajan, Dutch Bros; Steve Vincent, Avista & Avista Foundation; Peter Salant, GAG Charitable Trust & Medford Schools Foundation; Pam Marsh, District 5 Oregon House of  Representatives; Anne Kubish, The Ford Family Foundation; Bryan Trenkle, Greater Douglas United Way; Sara Stephens, South Coast Early Learning Hub; Dee Ann Harris, Leightman Maxey Foundation;

I.  Communication & Information Sharing:

    Bill welcomed and initiated introductions-

  • A word or two that describes what you are grateful for this week: Gratos (Latin for Grateful); Air conditioning; Half day on Friday; Vacation (2); East fork of Illinois river;  Getting off the Chilean island and back to USA; Grandchildren/adult children visit;  Continuing to be with open hearts; Healthy family so far; Lack of smoke; Experience of all participants; idea sharing because of zoom connectivity; Time (2); Fresh Air; Outdoors; Health (5); Volunteers; Innovation; Husband who fixes me tea; All of the work by people in Southern Oregon to keep COVID at bay; Clear Skies; Video Technology (2); Relationships (2); Hard Work; Time with Family (3); Bounty of Tomatoes; Grandkids; Sense of Humor; Mountain Tops; Community; Travel; Continuing of Open Hearts; Everyone on this call; appreciate this time and hearing of the gratitude; grateful for insulation of COVID here vs in Los Angeles; floating the upper Rogue with grandchildren; Honey bees are a piece of heaven; travel home to Klamath Falls for mother’s birthday; for this community and my health; time with daughters; family 


II.  Learning Together and Dialogue: Community Foundations and United Ways, what we have supported, learned, and what we see ahead. 

A Special Thanks to our colleagues-Community Foundations and United Ways sharing with us their COVID Response work-what they have supported, learned, and what they see ahead. 

Gina Zottola, Director Wild Rivers Community Foundation: www.hafoundation.org for list of awards.

The Wild Rivers Community Foundation and its umbrella organization Humboldt Area Foundation responded early on and rapidly to community, reaching out to find the greatest needs among their community partners. Their Healthy Communities project engaged the whole community of Del Norte and the Chetco Fire created the opportunity to be in very close connection with the Curry non-profits and programs supporting community members. $1.7 million in awards went out to programs in Curry, Del Norte, Humboldt, and Tribal Lands. An additional $2 million went out immediately in economic development support to businesses to assist before the Federal Funds would be available to businesses in their region. 

Food Insecurity: was the first main issue that really became an issue of the Food Supply Chain. Many products are shipped out of Curry County and products on the shelves for local consumption was missing or only available in very limited quantities so the food pantries could not have sufficient supplies to help people. About $100,000 was given in Curry County specifically to support seniors who needed food as well as outreach for other issues home bound seniors need

The Technology Divide: showed up immediately as well for students in Curry & Del Norte & Tribal Lands. It was also difficult for seniors who were at home and unable to connect with others for what they need. The WRCF staff worked with schools and community organizations to provide laptops to elders, internet access for school age children and equipment to stay connected to teachers. 

Domestic Violence: they began with a significant housing issue for domestic violence situations; hotels were very helpful and the Oasis Shelter in Brookings area placed a number of women and children in temporary hotel shelter. 

Equity & Inclusion: There is need to deepen the work in structural racism, build capacity inside and outside programs and organizations. They are initiating an Equity Alliance and would welcome partners who are interested in Curry County. They are working with Humboldt law enforcement to promote training in cultural agility and understanding and expanding that into the geographic areas they serve. They are finding a gap in reliable information on people of color, particularly with migrant workers and need for information to be translated into Spanish as one step. 

The WRCF/HAF staff meet every day to discuss greatest needs that have surfaced among community partners as part of planning out the next 90 days. Looking ahead, they will continue to build & strengthen relationships, raise funding to support their communities and encourage collaboration at every turn. Gina appreciates this JeFF group for the ability to address issues in the moment. She has also been working with the Ad Hoc Coastal Alliance funders group for immediate financial issues. 

Jen Shafer, Executive Director United Way of Southwestern Oregon:

United Way of Southwestern Oregon launched their emergency fund mid-March raising $150,000 thanks to many of the funding partners on this zoom. To date they have given out $110,000. Their grant committee consisted of board members and community members. Of the distributed funds, $110,000 – About 40% was food related, 12% for the unhoused supports, 10% organizational technology support for those working with unhoused (PPE etc.) 

Foster Care Community: They are supporting the foster community and coordinating Every Child for Coos/Curry with DHS & CASA partners. Funding a 24/7 support line for foster parents was a huge step to assist the overwhelming 24/7 role of the foster parents. They don’t have enough as it is and didn’t want to lose any to lack of outside support. 

PPE Procurement: Additional support includes PPE supplies for the medical community and a variety of others supports including child abuse services. 

Social Isolation: They are seeing concerns for youth and elderly with social isolation. They have spread out their day of giving over three months and are helping seniors with their yards. Many just want to talk to someone. 

Jen expressed appreciation for this cohort of funders that helped generate of $50,000 in funds for their response campaign. She appreciates the collaborative relationships and the National United Way Network and the UW Pacific Northwest weekly calls as well. Their office in Coos Bay has surveyed the nonprofit community regarding needs and Jen will share what they learn. 

Bryan Trenkle, Executive Director Greater Douglas United Way:

Greater Douglas United Way raised over $90,000 from many of the funding partners in this zoom. They have  distributed $80,000 to 80 key partners. Funds supported school supplies, emergency housing, domestic violence shelter, food insecurity for seniors, Meals on Wheels, and pantries through the UCAN food bank,  the family development center, emergency support for child abuse and neglect, laundry service for the unhoused community, including purchase of a portable shower facility to be placed for the unhoused at the South River Community Health Center, clothes and meals to go. 

They are raising funds now to purchase a larger trailer to accommodate 4/5 showers and 4/5 laundry facilities.  Bryan shared an email from person who gained employment due to the ability to shower and show up for work clean. 

With the help of local winery, they were able to provide hand sanitizer to local business, law enforcement and those working the front lines. 

What they have learned? Douglas County is the most generous place in the USA with partners that rally to make good things happen. He has a lot of questions about what is ahead, so they are taking one day at a time. They are hoping that fundraising in the years ahead goes as well as possible for needs in the near future. 

Questions: Kate Dwyer, Four Way Community Foundation asked for contact information for portable showers for an Illinois Valley organization looking to purchase. 

Dee Anne Everson, Executive Director United Way of Jackson County:

United Way of Jackson County raised $386,468, providing assistance to 1097 individuals/families/nonprofits. Of that, $200,000 was given for rent assistance; other assistance spanned the gambit- utilities, emergency childcare, a request for a DNA kit to determine the paternal relative for potential SSI support, and cremation services. 

They received and distributed 2,400 handmade masks.  

United Way is doing everything they can to help and are concerned about the future when unpaid bills come due.

Max Williams, President & CEO Oregon Community Foundation:

OCF has five offices across the state that all shifted to virtual work spaces. COVID pushed them to be nimble and the board of directors appreciates the ability of the staff to be nimble. They received more grants in three months than in three years. 

They have launched three pooled funds and provided loans to small business. They have received $16.6 in donations, provided $24.5 in grants assisting 1099 nonprofits. The total amount of requests was $87 million. At the same time they realized that certain cultural groups did not apply so they have been going and speaking with groups to find out why they didn’t apply. 

See Two OCF Slides below

Community support included quick deployment of resources using partnerships with United Ways and community action organizations to address food insecurity, grants to food banks, rural hospitals, South Coast nursing assistance, Coos/ Curry Friends of Public Health, Indian/tribal health services and La Clinica.

OCF is focused on what things look like going forward. How do we best leverage our role as a Community Foundation? We are very grateful for our partnerships with other funders. 

Even though the grant portal is closed, grant awards are still being made. They are preparing for the long term, remaining mission based, and examining assets to leverage their role, maintaining relationships as well as leveraging new ones to be able to respond to community need. 

Two local cultural specific programs that were recently funded in southern Oregon: 

  1. $50K to Black Southern Oregon Alliance “to support basic needs and services for Black residents throughout the Rogue Valley.” This group is using United Way of Jackson County as their fiscal sponsor. 
  2. $50k “to support SOU Youth Programs to sustain key Latinx staff and program assistants, and to retool services for Academia and Pathways students since the program can’t go on in person.


OCF adopted a 2019 strategic plan, is that plan still in place?

  • Max shared that, YES, they will stay with the three main pillars, although certain areas may be realized more quickly than expected last year. For example, in racial justice, equity issues given what is going on now in our country and in Oregon. 
  • Focus will continue on closing the opportunity gap. Oregonians are very generous. 
  • Their regional Go Kids program is temporarily suspended. 
  • Fall grant making is suspended as the funds were dedicated to COVID response instead. 
  • Nonprofits are looking for more general operating vs program at this time, so they are rethinking their model of funding. 

Kate Dwyer, Executive Director Four Way Community Foundation:

Kate shared that Four Way Community Foundation is a small foundation focused on Josephine County and a few degrees into Jackson. Historically they give funds for capital projects. They have one grant window a year, open in February and closed April 1st.  

Because of the March COVID Response and timing with the foundation due date, the board allowed changes to submitted requests. Additionally, some grants were extended or converted. They have been more flexible. The board has been interested in meeting the needs during this time. 

An interesting unexpected outcome was that in many cases with building spaces empty capital projects could be completed faster. They have provided funding for food pantries, sanitation for children’s areas in locations providing emergency childcare. 

They continue to assist programs navigate to other resources, guiding to OCF and other funders on this zoom. They have been providing a lot of moral support along the way over the last four months, and have helped groups resume their projects, helping them learn how to use remote tools and virtual meetings. 


$27 million in Cares Act funds will be distributed through the Cultural Trust for cultural services / operational expenses, deadlines Aug. 10th / Sept 15th. Check their website or with your local Cultural Coalition

In Closing  

Bill  asked: One take-away from today’s session? 

  • “Agile” as reminder each day ( Dee Anne will provide for the notes)
  • Great perspectives among today’s guests/inquiry
  • Appreciate opportunity to be together today
  • All the comments. What happens when this is all over?
  • Appreciate hearing about the new OCF activity directed at communities of color and inquiry into  why some programs did not apply for response funding. 
  • In awe of the participants here, what they made happen, honored to be a part of this group.
  • Appreciation of the on the ground examples of how response funds were distributed. Also feel privileged to be a part of this network. 
  • Grateful for this time, the generosity and kindness of the people who were helped. Stress is so high so sometimes people are not as grateful or graceful in the moment, but come back and really share their appreciation for what made the difference. 
  • Appreciate of the agility of the funding models here among all the colleagues and the relationships we have with each other to make things happen when there is the greatest need. 
  • The diversity of grants. The Humboldt Area Foundation website really outlines each award well, so diverse. The diversity of the populations served and the individuals in the meeting today and how they responded.
  • There was so much heart on the call; the generosity of all the donors. 
  • Humility in the face that there is more difficulty to come. Humbled by what everyone on the call and others who did not share have done collectively. The network of relationships.
  • Incredible generosity of people in the zoom and their ability to step up and fill the breach.  Just watching John Lewis’s celebration of life and the impact he has had on our country. We can all follow in his footsteps. 
  • How can we leverage the knowledge we have been taking in for the Next Event, document the needs and prepare the next generation?
  • The OCF Research Team has been putting together the learning from their process and it will be available to all. We are going to need a lot of creativity to address the next stage of this pandemic effectively. 
  • The compassion and dexterity of the last few months shard here. Today we have in Oregon a $4 billion gap at the State unless the Federal Government bails us out. We need to think of some fundamental organizational reworkings regardless. 
  • Relationships, the long history of so many on this zoom of working in our communities. It is so good to meet everyone in this group, appreciating the long-standing relationships, its all about being in touch with people. 
  • The ZOOM platform allows the inclusion of those of us who travel so much we can’t attend face to face meetings. And, the face to face meetings cause creativity to happen in a way that zoom can’t as well.  So, we should continue to learn together to keep involved and get back together in casual conversation when we can.
  • Appreciation of these meetings, learning about other funds, the partnerships that can happen with the City/County and Private philanthropy come together. The ability to call community partners is just incredible. 
  • The CAPACITY of this community be adaptable. 
  • This group means a lot to me. Thank you. 
  • Remembering the relationships of many people on this zoom that go back 25 years and how over the years, many of shared hopes have come together. 

Notes respectfully offered by Jennifer Staton & Kathy Bryon
Gordon Elwood Foundation

(if you have any corrections, please let us know asap)