First Federal foundation awards $365K to community organizations

Bayside Housing & Services and the Jefferson Community Foundation’s Housing Solutions Network, both of Port Hadlock, and the Field Arts & Events Hall in Port Angeles are among 25 nonprofit organizations that will share $365,000 in grant funding from the First Federal Community Foundation’s Fall 2020 grant cycle, foundation representatives announced.

Grants will go to nonprofits in Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap and Whatcom counties that provide community support, address the availability of affordable housing, and deliver community and economic development projects, said Jan Simon, foundation executive director.

Since it began making grants in 2015, the foundation has contributed a total of $4,441,500 to organizations in those counties, Simon said.

“All of the recipients in our fall 2020 grant cycle are focused on improving lives in our communities, a mission that is even more urgent during these challenging times,” Simon said.

Among the grant awards is $50,000 for the Port Angeles Waterfront Center’s Field Arts & Event Hall.

The money will underwrite the construction costs to achieve LEED Certification. That contributes to reducing carbon emissions, energy and waste, conserving water, prioritizing safer materials, lowering community exposure to toxins and reducing operating costs, First Federal said.

Bayside Housing & Services will receive a $25,000 affordable housing grant to provide essential services, including transitional housing, meals and case management assistance in finding jobs and permanent housing for two Jefferson County families of three for one year.

Another affordable housing grant will go to Jefferson Community Foundation’s Housing Solutions Network. The $25,000 grant will be used to promote Jefferson County’s economic recovery by expanding the availability of affordable housing for its workforce with “Housing Connections,” a program that trains new landlords, connects them to local lenders for renovations and helps match them to renters.

Other grants awarded to organizations in Clallam and Jefferson counties are:

• A $65,000 economic development grant to the Port Townsend Main Street Program to underwrite an events and marketing campaign that supports the sustainability of local businesses, increases Port Townsend’s visibility and attracts people and spending to the business districts that have been hard hit economically by the pandemic.

• A $30,000 economic development grant to Key City Public Theatre for the completion of the Facility Expansion and Improvement Project, to provide for better accessibility, address COVID-related safety issues, and reopen the theatre, which contributes to the sustainability of Port Townsend’s historic districts.

• A $30,000 grant to Serenity House of Clallam County to purchase a service vehicle that provides the maintenance team a space for tools and materials. It also will provide the mobility required to maintain 75 units of low-income housing, a night shelter, three offices in Sequim, Port Angeles and Forks, a youth drop-in center and thrift store.

• A $25,000 grant to Parkview Services to provide no-cost HUD housing counseling services to prevent foreclosures for about 40 struggling homeowners in Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap and Whatcom counties.

• A $10,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula’s Learning Support Center in Sequim.

The grant funds an increase in staffing, upgraded technology for virtual learning and new equipment to provide safe, direct educational support for more low- to moderate-income, disadvantaged children ages 6-18.

• The grants also included $5,000 for Morningside’s High School Transition Program, a skill-building, weekly job club that prepares Clallam County students with disabilities, ages 16-21, for work, inclusion and independence after graduation.

• Catholic Community Services of Western Washington will receive a $5,000 grant for supplies for the volunteer Olympic Bluebill Builders. The Bluebill Builders are retired engineers who install life-saving safety equipment such as access ramps, grab bars and handrails in the homes of the elderly and those with disabilities in Clallam, Jefferson and Kitsap counties

• A grant of $5,000 for The Answer For Youth’s STAR Lab that provides access to computer labs, 10 months of grade school and high school tutoring, and 12 months of job skills training and job search assistance to homeless, disadvantaged and marginalized youth and young adults in Clallam County.

• A grant of $5,000 to the Olympic Angels to engage 80 new community volunteers to provide long-term relational support, and to make connections with 30 new foster children and their caretakers in Clallam and Jefferson counties in 2021.

• A $5,000 community support grant for Shelter From The Storm of Puget Sound Voyaging Society’s Community Boat Project.

This is a job, leadership and life skills training program, with paid internships for post-high-schoolers, ages 18-25, in Jefferson County.

• A $5,000 community support grant for Soroptimist International of Port Angeles Jet Set for Live Your Dreams Awards, a grant program that provides women in Clallam County, who are the primary financial support for their families and who are overcoming enormous obstacles, with resources to improve their education, skills and employment prospects.

About First Federal Community Foundation

First Federal Community Foundation is a private charitable corporation that began making grants in 2015 with a gift of stock and cash valued at nearly $12 million from the parent company of First Federal, when the bank was converted to a publicly traded company.

For more information, contact Simon at [email protected] or 360-417-3112.

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