Community Foundation of NCW Awards $100,000 in Methow Valley Fund Game Changer Grants

In its first year of awarding the Methow Valley Fund Game Changer Grant, the Community Foundation of NCW has awarded $75,000 to Jamie’s Place and $25,000 to the Methow Valley Community Center.

The Methow Valley Fund Game Changer Grant is funded by bequests made in recent years by Methow Valley residents Ken Westman and Mike Real. Both expressed their desire to make things better in the Methow Valley. This new, annual grant opportunity is for nonprofit organizations in the Methow Valley with a plan to take their work to the next level and make a significant impact on an important community issue.

Jamie’s Place is an adult family home in Winthrop that currently houses and cares for 12 residents. Out of their staff of 17 caregivers, a third are housing insecure. In their proposal, executive director Rana Clark shared that “the housing insecurity of our staff is so acute, we run the risk of not being able to stay open.”

Jamie’s Place is working on several initiatives to quickly provide more housing including construction of Tiny Homes on wheels that will live on Jamie’s Place property and offer an affordable solution before winter. Additionally, they will partner with Methow at Home to offer Silver Nest, a networking service that pairs homeowners with qualified, pre-screened housemates. This novel game-changing approach will provide immediate housing solutions for caregivers and add another piece to the puzzle of workforce housing solutions in the Methow Valley and beyond.

The Methow Valley Community Center (MVCC) is housed in a 110-year-old building with an 82-year-old oil-burning furnace. The building has no central air conditioning or filtration. The MVCC will use their grant funds for an Energy Retrofit Feasibility Study resulting in the design of a new and efficient electrical HVAC system. With the design complete, the MVCC will partner with the Methow Citizens Council and Methow Valley School District to secure funding for the system replacement.

The MVCC is a vital space for community events, gatherings, performances, and acts as a hub in the event of a natural disaster. Their partner Clean Air Methow shared that data shows that people only take advantage of cooling and clean air shelters during smoke/heat events when there is something to do at the shelter (like play basketball, roller skate, or take classes). This investment will jump-start their preparation as they work to provide a healthy, safe, and energy-efficient space for the community.

The Foundation received 11 applications which were narrowed to 3 finalists and 2 awardees. The Game Changer grant was originally capped at $75,000 but an anonymous donor provided the additional funding to raise this award to $100,000.

“Finalists were invited to make a 15-minute pitch followed by another 15 minutes of questions from the Game Changer Committee, which was made up of three Methow Valley Fund Advisors and two community members” shared Claire Oatey, director of community grants.

The level of passion, innovation, and collaboration happening across organizations to make a difference was so inspiring! It was not an easy decision but ultimately the group chose to award the projects they felt had the greatest potential for immediate impact in the community” said Oatey.

The Community Foundation is honored to be the vehicle of these charitable gifts that will continue to support the Methow Valley for generations to come.

 

Jamie's Place Board and Staff

Jamie’s Place – Raleigh Bowden (Board Member), Rana Clarke (Executive Director), and Leslie Tregillus (Board Member)

 

Methow Valley Community Center Board and Staff

Methow Valley Community Center – Judith Hardmeyer-Wright (School Board Member – MVCC Partner), Carolyn Sullivan (Board VP), Kirsten Ostlie (Executive Director), Chuck Peters (Board Member), Kristi Skanderup (Clear Air Methow/Methow Valley Citizens Council – MVCC Partner).

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