Gary Smith joked around about the seemingly lifetime appointment, but admitted the obligation of distributing thousands of dollars to meet critical needs throughout Clallam County in his friend’s name is well worth the effort.
Smith and Albert Haller Foundation board members awarded $330,000 to more than 50 nonprofits and organizations across the county at a special ceremony on Oct. 24 in Sequim.
Matched with the $100,000 in scholarships and a $75,000 endowment at Peninsula College to help low-income students afford tuition, the foundation’s charitable efforts for 2023 top a half-million dollars.
“He helped a lot of people when he was alive,” Smith said of Haller, “and he’s helped a lot of people now that he’s gone.”
The Albert Haller Foundation started as a nonprofit organization in 1992 to help fund charitable programs throughout the county — primarily focused on education, family and medical services. It annually gives six-figure donations to local community groups and efforts.
In the near three decades of giving, the foundation has donated about $10 million.
“We’ve also done some good capital projects over the years,” Smith said, noting the large, well-used playfields that bear Haller’s name north of Sequim’s Carrie Blake Community Park.
A five-member board — one that includes superintendents from Sequim and Port Angeles school districts — oversees the foundation’s funds that started with about $9.2 million from Haller’s estate.
The board back then decided Smith should be president, he noted, “because I was retired” — jokingly adding, “I didn’t know it was a position for life.”
Born in Port Angeles in 1903 to Sequim Valley pioneers Max and Anna Haller, Albert Haller was a longtime logger who with his wife were at one time the largest independent land owners in Clallam County.
“He had a lot of foresight,” Smith said.
About four dozen grant recipients were on hand at the ceremony held in the Sequim High School Library to accept the grants from Smith and Sequim schools superintendent Regan Nickels and Port Angeles Schools superintendent Marty Brewer.
“This [Albert Haller Foundation grant] was one of the first grants we ever received 22 years ago and they’ve supported us ever since,” said Sara Nicholls, executive director of the Dungeness Valley Health and Wellness Clinic, also known as the Sequim Free Clinic. Her organization received $9,500 to support patients services and the clinic’s management.
Pat Soderlind, executive director of the Forks Community Food Bank, said her organization faces challenges in getting bank users healthy food options, so their grant award — this year for $9,500 — is much appreciated.
Sharon Ryan of Sequim Community Aid said her organization’s clients have seen significant rent increases since the COVID-19 pandemic stated.
“This [grant] will help them a lot reconfigure their budgets to help where they live,” Ryan said of the foundation’s $8,000 award in 2023.
Angel Dennis, development director with Peninsula Behavioral Health, said PBH’s $7,000 award from the foundation will help clients who struggle with transporation issues.
“It is because of the Albert Haller Foundation we make sure they get to these appointments,” she said.
“Half a million is just outstanding,” noted Janet Gray, resource development director with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, whose organization received two awards of $4,750 apiece. “Thank you for what you do.”
Smith said events like the 2023 awards makes shouldering the responsibility for Haller’s philanthropy a joy.
“This makes it all worthwhile,” he said.
For more about the foundation, visit alberthallerfoundation.org.
2023 Albert Haller Foundation grants
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula (1) — $4,750, for meals for disadvantaged youths
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula (2) — $4,750, for emergency school clothes, hygiene and school supplies for youths in need
Camp Beausite Northwest — $5,150, for programs assisting Clallam County residents with special needs
Clallam County Juvenile and Family Services — $3,150, to fund a variety of support services, resources for families in need
Clallam-Jefferson Pro Bono Lawyers — $5,150, for operating expenses associated with providing free legal aid
Clallam Mosaic — $5,150, for Day Program assisting those living with disabilities
College Success Foundation — $3,150, for activities for Port Angeles youths including college campus visits, career field trips, college fairs, etc.
Concerned Citizens — $5,150, to help purchase a van that will transport children to and from the Sunshine and Rainbow daycare year-round, and transport food during summer months
Crescent Cooperative Preschool — $4,340, for tuition assistance; healthy snacks and meals program; sock and waterproof clothing; replacement printer, and replacement of garden supplies
Crescent School District — $5,150, for Crescent Afters (after school) Program, special needs play area and Career Technical Education offerings
Dungeness Valley Health & Wellness Clinic — $9,500, for patients services and clinic management
Feiro Marine Life Center — $3,150, for Elementary Science: Watershed Investigations program
First Step Family Support Center — $7,000, for food items at new community pantry/refrigerator; for goods and services going to low-income families, and staff time to sort, clean and stock items at free clothing/equipment closets
Forks Community Food Bank — $9,500, for much-needed food items
Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County — $8,240, for Aging in Place program helping seniors live independently
Healthy Families of Clallam County — $7,000, for basic needs of clients and children
Joyce Community Education Foundation — $5,500, for food, clothing and more for rural students in need
Kathleen Sutton Fund — $9,500, to reimburse transportation costs for women to get to cancer treatments
Lutheran Community Services Northwest-Clallam Community Resource Center — $9,500, for stove, refrigerator and food pantry expenses
Lower Elwha Housing Authority — $8,020, for education, supplies and assistance to families on maintain their homes
Makah Food Bank — $9,500, for food and essential items
New Hope Food Bank — $9,500, for food resources for new families and to subsidize Thanksgiving, Christmas boxes
Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP) — $5,150, for low-income Encore! Adult Day Center operations
Olympic Nature Experience — $4,150, for support of outdoor education services, particularly those at-risk, low income families
Olympic Peninsula YMCA — $4,150, for Family Resource Navigator with an emphasis on teens, families
Olympic Unitarian Universalist Fellowship — $9,500, for Little Free Pantry food and Little Free Library books
Peninsula Behavioral Health — $7,000, to help clients meet transportation costs
Peninsula Pre-Three Cooperative — $4,150, for reduction of tuition costs, teacher wages, family financial assistance
Port Angeles Education Foundation — $3,000, for Basic Needs program providing clothes, shoes, graduation gowns, class fees
Port Angeles Farmers Market — $8,000, for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Port Angeles Food Bank — $9,500, for Friday Food Bag Program serving local youths
Port Angeles School District-Americorps Program — $9,500, for Out of School Enrichment programming at elementary schools, high school
Prevention Works! — $5,150, for newsletter costs, and to help with other nonprofits develop a local resource guide
Red Cross — $6,000, for Home Fire Campaign assisting families after home fires
Salvation Army-Port Angeles — $9,500, for food and needed supplies
Sequim Community Aid — $8,000, for rent, utility assistance for residents in need
Sequim Food Bank — $9,500, for Weekend Meal Bag program
Sequim School District — $9,500, for Olympic Peninsula Academy library books, 6 Books for Summer program at elementary schools, and 200 copies of “The Boys in the Boat” for high school students
Serenity House of Clallam County — $9,500, for repairing and resurfacing of Evergreen Family Village parking lot
Seventh Day Adventist Church — $8,000, for trailer that will provide hot showers for homeless individuals
Soroptimist International of the Olympic Rain Forest — $4,750, for Backpack Project that discretely distributes food to children in need
Soroptimist Oncology Support — $4,750, for funds or gas cards to patients needing assistance with travel to chemotherapy, radiation treatment
St. Matthew Lutheran Church — $9,500, for Free Wednesday Night Dinner food, supplies
St. Vincent de Paul-Queen of Angeles Conference — $5,150, for helping residents pay utility bills
St. Vincent de Paul-St. Joseph’s Conference — $8,000, for rent assistance, utilities assistance, basic needs
The Answer For Youth (TAFY) — $9,500, for Tickets to Health program that provides a Christmas meal for those in need
Trinity United Methodist Church — $3,650, for scholarships, supplies, furniture, executive director salary
United Way of Clallam County — $9,500, for annual campaign to distribute funds to partner agencies
Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County (1) — $8,100, for nursing supplies to support hospice and palliative patients
Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County (2) — $1,400, for purchase of iPads to replace aging models
Washington National Park Fund — $5,50, for Adventures in Your Big Backyard program reaching economically-challenged youths in Sequim, Port Angeles