First Federal Community Foundation has given a boost to several major endeavors on the North Olympic Peninsula, from the building of tiny homes for veterans to promotion of the Emerald Coast Opportunity Zone to the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding for training of students in three counties.
The foundation, which is based in Port Angeles, announced Nov. 1 that it would issue 19 grants for a combined $400,000 in its fall round to a variety of organizations throughout Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap and Whatcom counties, with most going to Clallam and Jefferson counties.
The largest grant — $75,000 — went to the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to create the Emerald Coast Opportunity Zone Prospectus, a marketing tool aimed at maximizing investments in designated opportunity zones in Clallam and Jefferson counties.
Opportunity Zones, created by the federal 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, were designed to spur investment in distressed communities.
Those with capital gains ripe for spending will get tax breaks by investing into the Emerald Coast Opportunity Zone.
The Emerald Coast Opportunity Zone is comprised of census blocks in Clallam and Jefferson counties and has stakeholders that include five tribes; the cities of Port Angeles, Forks and Sequim; the Port of Port Angeles, EDC-Team Jefferson and the Clallam County Economic Development Corp.
Grants of $50,000 each went to the Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC) to build a model tiny home for Pennies for Quarters, a nonprofit providing assistance to homeless veterans and their families in Port Angeles, and to the Northwest Maritime Center to fund initial equipment needs for the new Port Townsend Maritime Academy Skills Center.
The model tiny home is expected to be the first of 24 to be constructed by CRTC for Pennies For Quarters.
The homes, ranging in size from 240 to 400 square feet, are to be constructed for homeless veterans on the 7-acre Devanny Lane parcel that Pennies For Quarters owns in Port Angeles.
They are to be built using the CRTC’s Advanced Cross Laminated Timber (ACLT) System. This cross laminated timber panel uses coastal western hemlock that has been thermally modified to make it resistant to mildew, rot and bugs.
The agreement between Dave Walter, CEO of CRTC and Matthew Rainwater, founder and president of Pennies For Quarters, was announced in September.
Rainwater said Friday that the generosity of the foundation was “amazing. It’s one of the largest grants they’re handing out this year. It boosts the morale. It boosts everything to see such an organization as First Federal seeing the value of it.”
The $50,000 community development grant to the Northwest Maritime Center will help the budding public education maritime skills training program — the first such endeavor in the state.
“It takes a village and the grant demonstrates their commitment to being part of the village that supports and facilitates opportunities for our youth,” said Robin Mills, Northwest Maritime Center program director.
“Northwest Maritime Center’s program department is grateful for the financial support that allows us to do what we do best … connecting with youth.”
Another $50,000 grant went to the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship to deliver the First Steps business training program to emerging entrepreneurs from low-income and underserved communities in Clallam and Jefferson counties.
Grants of $25,000 each are earmarked for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula and for the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding.
Boys & Girls Clubs
The grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs supports the construction of a new clubhouse for the Port Angeles unit at Lauridsen Boulevard and Francis Street.
The new building will replace a clubhouse that had an 180-person capacity with a waiting list of 187.
At 15,400 square feet, the new clubhouse will be two times the size of the old building — large enough to house 350 children — so that the unit can offer services to more children.
The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding’s $25,000 economic development grant will help fund scholarships and state-of-the-art equipment for the Marine Systems Training Program that provides vocational training and career services to low-income students from Jefferson, Clallam and Kitsap counties.
“This grant is very helpful,” said Betsy Davis, executive director of the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding.
“We are excited that this grant is partly going to be helping us with the continued investment we’re making to build this new program. But also it’s going to allow us to ensure some students from this area have access to this program through scholarships.”
Another tiny home project to combat homelessness was granted $5,000. The money will fund Puget Sound Voyaging Society’s Shelter from the Storm, a job-training and paid internship project for 18- to 25-year-olds who will construct tiny homes that Bayside Housing will use to address homelessness in Jefferson County.
Other grants provided Peninsula agencies are:
• Best Dental Help — $5,000 to expand the delivery of dental services to an additional 400 low-income children in Jefferson and Clallam counties.
• College Success Foundation — $5,000 to underwrite a portion of the costs for 80 low-income, minority, and first-generation students from Port Angeles and Bremerton to go on college campus tours in Washington.
• Jefferson County ReCyclery — $5,000 to fund a collaboration with Community Arts & Recreation Alliance and the Jamestown S’Kallam Tribe’s Teen Work Readiness program to provide career guidance and support – as well as bicycles and bike maintenance skills – to low-income and minority youth.
• Morningside — $5,000 for repairs to Morningside’s Port Angeles offices, so it may continue to offer on-site employment support and services to people with disabilities.
Grants also went elsewhere in the state to Junior Achievement of Washington in Whatcom County, the Kathleen Sutton Inspirational Fund, Olympic Media, PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation, Roxy Bremerton Foundation, South Kitsap Helpline, Sustainable Connections and Western Washington University Foundation.
Jan Simon, First Federal Community Foundation executive director, said she is appreciative of the connections she made with applicants and encouraged those who were not approved this time to apply again for the next funding cycle.
“I called everybody, whether they were funded or not,” Simon said. “Even if they were not funded, the nonprofits were very gracious and understanding. The need is very great.
“But I love talking with those nonprofits who were and were not funded because it really gives us a deeper sense of the work they’re committed to and the difference that they’re making.”
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected]