First Federal foundation announces spring grant awards

First Federal Community Foundation has selected 19 nonprofit organizations to receive a total of $452,500 in funding during its spring 2021 grant cycle, including a number of nonprofits in Clallam and Jefferson counties.

These nonprofits provide essential services and basic support for individuals and families in need, foundation executive director Jan Simon said.

During this grant cycle, Simon noted, the foundation has directed support to “nonprofits that are working to increase access to food, affordable housing, education, and healthcare, with additional funding directed to organizations that are fulfilling immediate needs that were caused and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Foundation President, Norman J. Tonina, described this year’s spring grant recipients as “organizations that make a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable residents, serving as a lifeline – particularly during the pandemic.”

He added that “the Foundation is proud to provide financial resources to these effective and responsive nonprofits who change people’s lives for the better, day in and day out.”

Since the foundation began making grants in 2015, it has contributed $4,894,000 to nonprofits in Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap and Whatcom Counties.

Spring 2021 Grant Awards included:

Bellingham Public Schools Foundation: $5,000 Community Support Grant for the GRADS program, which provides onsite, high-quality childcare and social-emotional support services to low-income, teenage parents, many of whom are homeless and non-English speaking, making it possible for them to focus on, and graduate from, school.

Cascade Medical Advantage: $7,500 Community Support Grant to help remove barriers to recovery by offering essential short-term assistance — including food, temporary housing, transportation, and medication — to people in Whatcom County who are engaged in opioid addiction treatment, most of whom are indigent and often homeless.

Coats for Kids: $5,000 Community Support Grant to provide new coats, socks, and shoes to approximately 200 low-income children in Clallam and Jefferson counties.

Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County: $50,000 Affordable Housing Grant to establish the infrastructure — including streets, sewer, and utility hook-ups — for 20 units of permanent affordable housing in Port Townsend.

Jefferson Healthcare Foundation: $20,000 COVID-19 Emergency Response Grant to provide emergency food assistance to 300 patients of the hospital, emergency room, family birth center, and primary care clinic, as well as financial aid to Jefferson Healthcare staff to relieve some of the burden of childcare costs.

Kids in Concert: $5,000 Community Support Grant to sponsor the participation of 100 Kitsap County children in one of four free summer learning camps.

Kitsap Community Resources: $50,000 Affordable Housing Grant to fund the construction of the Manette Project, which will provide affordable housing and case management support for nine low-income families with children who are formerly or currently homeless.

Kitsap Harvest: $7,500 Community Support Grant to fund the build-out of cold storage units, along with a food aggregation station, that will make it possible to provide more fresh and perishable foods to 3,000+ low-income Kitsap County community members.

NAMI of Whatcom County: $5,000 Community Support Grant to build capacity to serve the Latinx Community affected by mental illness.

Olympic Peninsula YMCA: $50,000 Community Development Grant to purchase a refrigerated cargo van to deliver more than 50,000 meals annually to 325 food-insecure Jefferson County children on weekends, non-school days, holiday breaks, and over the summer.

Opportunity Council: $5,000 Community Support Grant to help feed hungry home-bound Whatcom County residents by delivering food from food banks to their homes.

Port Angeles Food Bank: $50,000 Community Development Grant to help fund the purchase of the Food Bank’s “forever home.” This facility will serve more than 500 households weekly, and will include an innovative open market, commercial kitchen, and meeting space.

Port Townsend Marine Science Center: $5,000 Community Support Grant to provide more than 200 low- and middle-income students from Clallam, Jefferson and Kitsap Counties with engaging and meaningful science education.

Sequim Education Foundation: $7,500 Community Support Grant to make laptops available to low-income and homeless students in the Sequim School District.

Society of St. Vincent de Paul: $50,000 Community Development Grant to help meet the emergency needs of hundreds of individuals and families in Clallam, Jefferson and Kitsap Counties who would otherwise have nowhere to turn for help.

The Nature Conservancy: $50,000 Economic Development Grant to support three pilot projects that, when brought to full scale, will create about 30 jobs and generate $10 million in revenue in Clallam and Jefferson Counties.

Unity Care Northwest: $50,000 Community Development Grant to fund capital expenses for The Way Station in Whatcom County, where individuals and families experiencing homelessness will be able to access needed services and receive assistance in transitioning to sustainable housing.

Vamos Outdoors Project: $5,000 Community Support Grant to provide academic and outdoor programming for approximately 60 Whatcom County migrant youth.

Western Washington University Foundation: $25,000 COVID-19 Emergency Response Grant for the Student Emergency Fund, which provides a financial lifeline for students needing support with rent, utilities, groceries, medical and dental bills, and more.

About First Federal Community Foundation

First Federal Community Foundation is a private charitable corporation established with a gift of stock and cash valued at nearly $12 million from the parent company of First Fed, when the bank was converted to a publicly traded company. This gift underscored First Fed’s commitment to continue its tradition of giving back to the communities it serves.

In that same spirit, First Federal Community Foundation is committed to creating broad impact in the communities in which First Fed, the Foundation’s sole donor, maintains full-service branches.

Since the Foundation began making grants in 2015, it has contributed $4,894,000 to nonprofits making a difference in Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, and Whatcom Counties.