Jefferson Community Foundation CEO Siobhan Canty is the American Association of University Women’s 2021 Woman of Excellence. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Jefferson Community Foundation CEO Siobhan Canty is the American Association of University Women’s 2021 Woman of Excellence. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Foundation CEO named Woman of Excellence

Siobhan Canty selected by American Association of University Women

PORT TOWNSEND — Siobhan Canty is the 2021 Woman of Excellence. And she’s busy, thank you.

The year leading up to the Port Townsend American Association of University Women award had its bumps and swells. Through it all, Canty, CEO of the Jefferson Community Foundation, has led with “energy and vision,” said AAUW nominator Rose Lincoln.

“I put my head down and got to work,” Canty said, adding she’s grateful to be recognized.

The award — along with a major donation — “made a great end to a hard year.”

That contribution, made at the end of December, was a $100,000 gift to Bayside Housing Services for its Peter’s Place village, which provides transitional housing in Port Hadlock. Canty acted as a kind of matchmaker between Bayside and the anonymous donor.

Jefferson County’s housing crisis was but one of the problems Canty confronted; another was the pandemic. Canty and the foundation created the COVID-19 Response Fund, raising $713,659 in community donations during 2020.

“People never stopped donating,” Canty said Monday.

From March through October, the COVID fund distributed $700,929 in aid to housing, food, childcare, mental health and youth organizations in the county.

“We do have a small amount left, and we could react to an urgent need, but we want to be thoughtful,” said Canty, adding that the foundation may officially reopen the COVID fund.

“We suspect we will,” she said, in light of the March 31 end of the statewide eviction moratorium.

“We want to see if there is a role for the COVID fund to help not just renters but landlords,” Canty said.

She expects the Jefferson Community Foundation board of directors to decide at its Jan. 25 meeting whether to reopen the fund.

Canty’s creation of the Housing Solutions Network last year was another factor in her Woman of Excellence honor. The network has issued a “Community Call to Action,” a document listing ways county residents can solve the housing shortage, with details at

With Canty at the helm, the Jefferson Community Foundation faced its own eviction last June. Property manager Brent Garrett told the foundation to move out after a “Black Lives Matter” sign was posted at its office in Port Hadlock’s Salmon Business Park, so Canty and staff were homeless.

Then James “Kiwi” Ferris of Edensaw Woods donated a large space at 63 Julian St. south of town, giving the story “a very happy ending,” Canty said.

The foundation moved into its office in mid-September.

In the new year, Canty is developing the Jefferson Community Foundation’s latest network: one for creative entrepreneurs. This will become a resource for local artisans and other business people who make things, she said.

“It’s really about job creation,” she said, by increasing business for local entrepreneurs and by building what she calls an “enabling environment,” making sure services such as childcare and senior care are available in Jefferson County.

To reach Canty and the community foundation, entrepreneurs and donors can visit, email or phone 360-385-1729. The mailing address is Jefferson Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1394, Port Hadlock, WA 98339.

Kathleen Kler, a member of the AAUW, hailed Canty as a change agent, one who has worked through concurrent crises this past year.

Canty has set an example, Kler said, as “that person who is ready to face the storm.”


Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or

More in News

Overnight closures of Hood Canal Bridge begin Tuesday

The Hood Canal Bridge will be closed to vehicles, bicyclists… Continue reading

David Conklin/Jefferson County Farmers Markets
Heath Wade enjoys opening day at the Chimacum Farmers Market in 2022.
Chimacum Farmers Market opens Sunday

Special events planned for first day of season

Crumb family funds nursing scholarship

$150K endowment to aid Clallam County students going to St. Martin’s University

The Port Angeles Red Lion Hotel and adjoining 48º North Waterfront Restaurant, shown Friday, are working on plans to expand and upgrade the current facilities, which will include incursion into the existing parking lot -- a proposal that would have an effect on the annual Port Angeles Crab Festival.
Port Angeles city seeks Red Lion expansion comments

Plans won’t affect CrabFest this year but will in future

Kestner Homestead Trail footbridge to be closed for repairs

The footbridge over Kestner Creek along the Kestner… Continue reading

Gov. Jay Inslee  looks at a patient simulator as Peninsula College nursing instructional technician Terresa Taylor describes its workings during a tour of the college's Nursing Simulation Lab on Friday in Port Angeles.
Inslee tours Port Angeles projects

Town ‘pumping on all cylinders,’ he said

EYE ON THE PENINSULA: Serenity House, Jefferson burn ban on county agendas

Govenment meetings across North Olympic Peninsula

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories… Continue reading

Most Read