Community Foundation of NCW Awards $104,000 in Methow Valley Fund Game Changer Grants
The Community Foundation of NCW has awarded $104,000 in Methow Valley Fund Game Changer Grants to four nonprofits in Methow Valley. The Game Changer Grant, offered annually, provides a significant funding opportunity that empowers a nonprofit organization or collaborative to take their work to the next level and move the needle on a Methow Valley community issue.
The Methow Families Board, comprised of 13 existing Methow Families grounded in traditional ways of the Methow, received $25,000 for their project “Welcoming the Methow People Home: Supporting Traditional Life at Hummingbird”. The grant provides seed funding to help the Methow People reconnect with their ancestral land and traditions at the Hummingbird property (formerly Wagner Ranch), purchased by fundraising through the Methow Conservancy and returned to the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation on behalf of the Methow People. The grant helps propel the effort of long-term sustainability and cultural revitalization for Hummingbird, governed by the Methow People. “The Hummingbird property is on ancestral territory, which is grounding for us – we belong here” said in a statement by the Members of the Methow Descendant Families. “We need to pass on traditional knowledge – dances, regalia, songs, food, medicine, arts, crafts – so that our culture endures.” The Methow Conservancy and the Methow Valley Interpretive Center will act as partners in providing in-kind support to help ensure the project’s longevity.
The Methow Housing Trust (MHT) develops and preserves permanent, affordable, quality housing for Methow Valley residents. Affordable housing is in high demand for local people whose wages cannot compete with the current housing market. While the MHT has been successful in building homes and housing residents, the demand continues and they are seeking additional solutions, including a Local Housing Easement program of stewardship around a restriction (or covenant) on the deed of a property, such as a requirement to be a full-time resident. They received $9,500 to help engage local expertise, and possibly consultants, to research and develop a plan.
The Methow Valley Community Center (MVCC) was built in 1912 and is working to replace its antiquated oil burning system with a modern electric HVAC system. The necessary upgrade will eliminate fossil fuel burning, filter indoor air (and provide refuge during smoke events), and upgrade to zoned heating. Adding insulation is also a component of this $2.5M project. They received $20,000 to hire a professional grant writer to help secure several federal and state grants that fit the project request.
The Public School Funding Alliance (PSFA) has been partnering with the school district to respond to the current increase of mental health needs, in the face of scarce services. Their grant application cited 70% of teens naming depression and anxiety as major issues they face, yet only 14% receive professional help. And while the school district provides training in suicide prevention, parents and concerned community members are hoping for more. PSFA seeks to create a culture of mental health strength and wellness for students in the Methow Valley. They received $49,500 to continue and expand district-wide support for teachers, students, and parents by a licensed therapist and adopt and implement the research-based “Sources of Strength” mental health curriculum at Liberty Bell Junior/Senior High School. Their goal is for students to discover they have personal strengths, solid support, and plans for a bright future.
“These Game Changer Grants truly provide a significant opportunity to improve the quality of life in the Methow Valley” said Community Foundation of NCW’s Board Chair, Betsy Cushman. “Organizations are coming together to solve community issues, build strong relationships, and create meaningful impacts for people and places in our Valley. Those who left bequests to the Methow Valley Fund would be incredibly proud of these projects and we are humbled and honored to be the stewards of their legacies”
The funding for the Game Changer Grant is made possible by public donations and legacy gifts to the Methow Valley Fund.