Community Foundation of NCW Welcomes New Staff

The Community Foundation of NCW has seen significant growth over the last decade, and in response has hired new staff to better serve its generous donors, regional nonprofits, and college-bound students.

Erika Orsulak has joined the foundation as the Director of Education Programs. This position manages over 100 unique scholarship funds, connecting students across North Central Washington to scholarships that can ease the financial burden of a college education. Erika will also oversee the foundation’s education-focused grant programs, including the Stronger Schools Grant that supports public schools and school districts. Erika has worked in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors for over 17 years. Most recently, she worked for the National Scholarship Providers Association and Washington Women in Need.

Claire Oatey has joined the foundation as the Director of Community Grants. This position manages the foundation’s competitive grant programs, including the Regional Impact Grant and the Helping Hands Grant. Claire will also oversee the Nonprofit Practices Institute, a capacity-building program in partnership with the Icicle Fund that serves the region’s nonprofits. Claire has several years of experience working in various areas of the nonprofit sector, including Rebuilding Together Seattle, an animal welfare organization, and The Center for Early Childhood Programs in Colorado.

The Community Foundation has also created a new position, Director of Philanthropy, which will be assumed by Denise Sorom, the foundation’s former Director of Community Philanthropy. Denise will be stewarding current and interested foundation donors, and supporting the continued growth of community philanthropy in our region.

“We are committed to protecting our region’s charitable investments with a highly talented and dedicated team that can bridge people’s philanthropic dreams with our community’s needs,” said Beth Stipe, Executive Director. “Our region continues to support and expand community philanthropy with generous gifts, and we’re excited to be growing in the direction of continually improving our communities together.”

Accepting Applications – Woods Family Music and Arts Grant

Application Deadline: September 30

The Community Foundation of NCW is now accepting applications for the Woods Family Music and Arts Grant. Open to nonprofit organizations in Chelan, Douglas, and Okanogan counties (excluding the Methow Valley), the grant seeks to supports work that provides music and/or arts related services and education in these communities.

Up to $5,000 is available for programs in one of the following areas:

  • Foster and improve cultural awareness and education;
  • Music performance;
  • Music education direction for a wide range of students (children and adults);
  • Participation in coordination of regional arts events; or
  • Seminars and workshops for music educators and arts professionals.

Applications are due by the end of business on Friday, September 30th.


Tonasket Builds a Community Pool for All

The Tonasket Pool Association formed in 2014 to raise funds and build a new community pool. Led by a small group of local people, the Association raised nearly $1million. The city will take over management of the pool, with the support of the Parks and Recreation.

We are so inspired by the Tonasket community!!

In the last two years, they have raised over $950,000 to build a community pool. Yesterday, we joined the pool’s official opening ceremony – the the pool was FILLED with kids and families laughing and playing, and many community members came out for its dedication and BBQ.

This small town of just over 1,000 spent thousands of volunteer hours on this project and many local businesses donated materials and time – all led by small group of local people who formed The Tonasket Pool Association in 2014 for this effort.

The Community Foundation awarded $10,000 toward the pool project, and an additional $9,000 was raised by the public through Give NCW.

The pool is open to the public and tourists, with times dedicated for lap swims, and is available for parties and events. The community is working on creating a swim team and offering swim lessons. The City will take over management of the pool, with support from the Parks and Recreation.

It’s truly incredible what a group of people can do who care so much about the place they live. What a gift to the community, for many years to come! Way to go, Tonasket!!

Nonprofit “Boards in Gear” Workshop Coming to Wenatchee and Twisp

The Nonprofit Practices Institute is hosting a workshop, “Boards in Gear”, for nonprofit board members and staff to help strengthen the practice of board leadership for more effective, sustainable results in addressing community needs.

“Boards in Gear” will be facilitated by Nancy Bacon, Director of Learning and Engagement at Washington Nonprofits. It’s an interactive, hands-on workshop that will cover board responsibilities, operations, development, fundraising, and advocacy and is appropriate for new, incoming board members or longtime board members looking for a good refresher.

“Boards in Gear” will be offered Tuesday September 26 in Wenatchee at Pybus Public Market and Wednesday September 27 at Aero Methow in Twisp. Both workshops begin at 10:00am and end at 3:00pm. Registration is $15 and includes lunch.

The Nonprofit Practices Institute is a partnership of the Community Foundation of NCW and the Icicle Fund, to support capacity building opportunities for nonprofits in the NCW region.

For more information and to register online, visit Registration deadline is September 15th.


Now Accepting Applications for Regional Impact Grant / Give NCW – Deadline September 1

As the Community Foundation of NCW is now accepting applications for the Regional Impact Grant (RIG) and Give NCW.

The RIG is open to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, government agencies (excluding public schools), or fiscally sponsored programs in Chelan, Douglas, and Okanogan Counties. 

Methow Valley nonprofits are not eligible, but can apply for Give Methow and the Methow Valley Fund.

The Regional Impact Grant is very competitive, with over 40 applicants each year. Only 25 grant recipients will be chosen to receive awards.

There is no maximum funding request, however RIG awards are not likely to exceed $10,000.

Activities considered for support include:

  • Programs and projects that serve a broad sector of the community (or a particularly vulnerable or at-risk population) and help resolve important existing or emerging community issues.
  • Programs and projects that will enable nonprofit and charitable agencies to reduce costs, increase efficiency and move toward self-sufficiency.
  • “Seed Grants” to initiate promising new projects and programs so that such projects and programs are able to demonstrate their usefulness to the community.
  • Final funding for capital campaigns. Capital campaign must be at least 70% complete before CFNCW will consider for a Regional Impact Grant.
  • General operating support.

As the foundation’s largest grant opportunity for nonprofits in the region, the RIG program has awarded over $3.7 million to support charitable work across North Central Washington.

Give NCW

November 28 – December 31

Each year we receive more grant requests than we can fund. RIG recipients now have an opportunity to participate in Give NCW, a crowdfunding campaign that invites you to learn about their charitable work and donate to help them reach their fundraising goal.

Give NCW is works like an online giving catalog. You’ll see a description of each grant request, the amount invested by the Community Foundation (their RIG award), and their fundraising goal.

Minimum donation is just $10 and you can support multiple projects in one transaction. Also, each time you give on a “Funday Monday” you could win bonus dollars for any nonprofit(s) of your choice!

Give NCW will open on Thanksgiving Day and runs through December 31st. Donations can be made online at 100% of your gift will benefit the nonprofit, we are taking care of the credit card fees.

Last year, twenty-five nonprofits received $230,000 in Regional Impact Grants from the Foundation and an additional $229,202 in donations from Give NCW, totaling an incredible record-breaking $459,202 investment in charitable causes throughout NCW.

Community Foundation Awards Over Half Million in Scholarships

The Community Foundation of NCW has awarded $542,816 in scholarships to 152 students across North Central Washington. This is the largest scholarship award total disbursed from the foundation to date.

The Community Foundation of NCW manages 97 unique scholarship funds established by generous individuals, families, and businesses that feel passionate about helping students ease the financial burden of pursuing a college degree.

Each scholarship is unique with varying criteria. While many focus on academic achievement, most seek to support the hard working students that show great potential and have a significant financial need.

“It’s an honor to award this amount of scholarships for our donors, who truly care about helping our local students get to college and achieve their dreams.” said Beth Stipe, Executive Director. “We are continually humbled by the generous people in our region – the future is brighter for these students, thanks to their support.”

A total of 1,472 applications were received and reviewed by selection committees, comprised over 237 community volunteers.

“Our volunteers spend many hours reviewing applications – we are grateful to have dedicated people who are passionate about supporting higher education opportunities for all students in the region” added Stipe.

Community Foundation scholarships are offered annually. The next round of scholarship applications opens January 1, 2018 with most applications due on March 1st.


Give Methow Donations Support New Trail Project in Methow Valley

We are excited to share some good news today: the first project of the Methow Trails Collaborative – opening the Falls Creek/Burch Mountain FS #518 trail – was a success!

The Methow Trails Collaborative formed last year with a mission to join forces with other partners to increase efficiency in opening and maintaining trails across the Methow Valley.

In October, the Collaborative sought donations for this first “Save-A-Trail” project through Give Methow, an online crowdfunding campaign hosted by the Community Foundation of NCW.

Donations from 46 generous individuals provided over $5,000 in funding to support the project.

In addition, over 300 hours of labor was put into the trail in one weekend thanks to 56 individuals who love and care about the beautiful trails of the Methow Valley.
“This event shows the profound impact and experience you can have when our trail community converges” said Jon Albright of Methow Trails.

A list of individuals who contributed both time and money to this project can be found at here.

The Methow Trails Collaborative includes: the Methow Valley Ranger District, Methow Trails, Washington Trails Association, Evergreen Mountain Bike Association, the Methow Valley Backcountry Horsemen, Methow Snowmobile Association, Pacific Crest Trail Association, Rendezvous Huts, guides and outfitters, backcountry skiing, mountaineering, trail running, dirt biking and ATV clubs.  

Give Methow is coming in 2017!

From October 1-31, visit to see a list of Methow Valley organizations seeking your support as they work to preserve, protect, and enhance the Methow Valley. Last year, your donations invested over $207,000 in the Methow Valley. To see a list of organizations that supported last year, click here

Community Foundation Awards $43,500 to NCW Nonprofits in Need

After rescuing 29 dogs and 150 cats from inadequate homes, the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society used all of their Medical Fund to treat them. The Medical Fund covers dental care, surgeries, and anything not considered a regular treatment (spay/neuter, vaccines). With a Helping Hands grant, they were able to replenish some of the funds and ensure incoming animals received the care they needed.

The Community Foundation of NCW has awarded a total of $43,500 in Helping Hands Grants to nonprofits in Chelan, Douglas, and Okanogan Counties in its last fiscal year, since July 2016.

Helping Hands is a competitive grant that provides up to $2,500 to support nonprofits’ unexpected needs or special funding opportunities where a small investment could make a big difference. Applications are accepted year round and awarded every other month.

“With our Regional Impact Grant giving much larger awards, we wanted to ensure there was still a funding mechanism that could support some of the smaller requests we receive” said Denise Sorom, director of community philanthropy.

“We know for many nonprofits, things come up that weren’t planned in the budget – Helping Hands provides that resource so they can continue their good work.”

Helping Hands Grants are funded by unrestricted gifts to the foundation, in support of benefiting nonprofits in North Central Washington.

Helping Hands Grant Awards


  • Lake Chelan Bach Fest – $1,000 Stipend support for choral section leaders
  • Okanogan Valley Orchestra and Chorus – $2,500 Support for 2017 Free Family Concert
  • Stage Kids WA – $2,500 Organizational governance and management support
  • Wenatchee Youth Circus – $2,500 Performance at 2017 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Environmental/Animal Protection

  • Cascade Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group – $2,500 AmeriCorps staff for Education Outreach Program
  • Wenatchee Valley Humane Society – $2,500 Medical Fund support
  • Wenatchee Valley Humane Society – $1,500 NCW EcoChallenge First Place Winner

Public/Social Benefit

  • Cascade Unitarian Universalist Fellowship – $750 NCW EcoChallenge Second Place Winner
  • Okanogan Borderlands Historical Society – $2,500 Museum intern
  • Okanogan County Historical Society – $2,500 A Monument to the Methow
  • Outdoor Discovery Network – $2,500 Website data conversion
  • Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center – $2,500 Mobile MakerSpace for Mission View and Lincoln Elementary
  • Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center – $2,500 Wells House Turret Restoration Project
  • Wenatchee Valley YMCA – $2,500 Renovation of Teen Center
  • Wenatchee Valley YMCA – $250 NCW EcoChallenge Third Place Winner
  • Wenatchee Brethren Baptist Homes – $2,500 Emergency roof repair

Health/Human Services

  • Chelan County Fire District 1 – $2,500 Mapping the Wildland Urban Interface
  • Rock Island Community Food Bank – $2,500 Commercial refrigerators
  • Vincent de Paul Society – $2,500 Shelving for food pantry
  • TEAMS Learning Center – $2,500 Outdoor learning center for preschool
  • YWCA of NCW – $2,500 Heating and cooling system replacement


Now Hiring for Director of Community Philanthropy

The Community Foundation of NCW is now hiring for a Director of Community Philanthropy. This leadership position will oversee our competitive grant programs, along with the Nonprofit Practices Institute, and other philanthropic activities.

The position is 32 hours per week and requires some travel primarily within Chelan, Douglas, and Okanogan county and at times outside of NCW or the state.

The Foundation is seeking someone who is passionate about the nonprofit sector with the skills to manage a large grant program, build relationships, and develop capacity building programs. The DCP works closely with the Board of Trustees and community volunteers to thoughtfully evaluate requests and determine funding awards.

The DCP will also understand the capacity building needs of nonprofits and develop programs to connect them to resources, training, and opportunities that help organizations meet their missions.

The DCP is highly organized, self motivated, and a strong collaborator with coworkers, nonprofits, and community leaders.

Submission deadline is June 23, 2017.


Community Foundation of NCW Awards $82,942 to NCW Schools

Brewster Elementary received $2,500 for their “Book Up Summer” program, hosted by the Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program. Just before the end of summer, elementary students get to pick out a dozen brand-new books to take home and enjoy over the summer.

The Community Foundation of NCW has awarded $82,942 in grants to schools across North Central Washington through its Stronger Schools Grant.

Stronger Schools is a competitive grant program that supports enriched student experiences and teacher development opportunities in K-12 public schools Chelan, Douglas, and Okanogan counties.

Schools can apply for up to $5,000 for programs benefiting students in their building. School districts are also eligible to for up to $5,000 to support district-wide needs or initiatives.

“The foundation feels strongly about supporting education across North Central Washington, specifically those innovative programs and projects that take a classroom or school to another level” said Denise Sorom, the foundation’s director of community philanthropy.

“This year we received more requests from schools than ever before – and some that we haven’t supported in the past. It’s great to see the reach we can have across the region to support schools with intentional programs that we hope will make an impact on our students’ academic experiences.”

The Stronger Schools Grant is part of the Foundation’s Community Grants Program, funded by the unrestricted gifts to the Foundation.


Elementary Schools

  • Brewster Elementary School – $2,500 Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program “Book Up Summer”
  • Bridgeport Elementary School – $5,000 Enriched Literacy Support Program
  • John Newberry Elementary School – $5,000 After School Program for bi-lingual and low-income students
  • Kenroy Elementary School – $5,000 Playworks training
  • Virginia Grainger Elementary School – $5,000 Music and Movement Project

Middle Schools

  • Cashmere Middle School – $3,000 Challenge Day
  • Foothills Middle School – $5,000 Sixth Grade Camp
  • Icicle River Middle School – $5,000 Healthy Lifestyle Ski Program
  • Manson Middle School – $4,325 Theater Arts Program
  • Orchard Middle School – $4,909 Robot Garden

High School

  • Bridgeport High School – $4,000 Robotics Program
  • Liberty Bell High School – $4,000 Naviance Software for College and Career Counselor
  • Methow Valley Independent Learning Center – $4,000 Mentosrhip in the Methow


  • Bridgeport School District – $3,000 Summer Reading Program
  • Brewster School District – $5,000 Building a Stronger Robotics Team
  • Cascade School District – $3,000 Minds-i
  • Methow Valley School District – $3,000 Becoming a Trauma Informed School District
  • Palisades School District – $4,708 Rockets and Rockstars
  • Waterville School District – $2,500 Telling Our Leadership Story
  • Wenatchee School District – $5,000 Dyslexia Awareness and Instructional Reading Strategies

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