2019 Community Fund Grants

Coquille Tribal Fund supports 49 groups

NORTH BEND –  The largest was $20,000, the smallest just $1,110. Whatever the size, each of the 49 grants awarded by the Coquille Tribal Community Fund this year will improve life in a local community.

Grantees and local dignitaries gathered at The Mill Casino-Hotel on Friday to celebrate the work of the grantees. This year’s tribal fund grants totaled $261,762.50. The fund, consistently the leading source of charitable grants for South Coast nonprofits, has distributed more than $6.4 million since it was launched in 2001.

The fund’s largest 2019 grant was $20,000 to the Umpqua Community Health Center, to help buy a new ultrasound machine for expectant mothers. The machine will replace an obsolete model nearly three decades old.

The smallest 2019 grant was $1,110, awarded to the Lakeside Community Presbyterian Church’s warming center project. Operating on a frugal budget, the church opens its doors to homeless people on nights when the temperature dips below freezing. The $1,110 will cover its costs for a whole year.

Money for the fund comes from a share of the tribe’s casino revenue. Each year an appointed board of tribal members and community leaders meets to review applications and decide on the awards.

The year’s board consisted of Coquille Tribal Council Secretary Linda Mecum; Coos County Commissioner Melissa Cribbins; state Rep. Gary Leif; Chelsea Burns, Coquille Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors; Joe Benetti, mayor of Coos Bay; Jon Ivy, tribal member; and Scott LaFevre, tribal member.

The tribal fund’s next application cycle will begin Sept. 1. Learn more at www.coquilletribe.org, or call fund Administrator Jackie Chambers at (541) 756-0904.

Here’s a list of 2019 grants:

  • ACCESS, $5,000
  • Bandon Historical Society Museum, $2,500
  • Bandon Showcase Inc., $1,500
  • Bear Cupboard, $7,500
  • Boys & Girls Club of Southwestern Oregon, $5,000
  • Brookings Harbor Education Foundation Inc., $3,500
  • Camp Myrtlewood, $10,000
  • CASA of Lane County, $5,000
  • Charleston Fishing Families, $5,000
  • Charleston Food Bank, $5,000
  • Chetco Activity Center, $5,000
  • Community Presbyterian Church Warming Center (Lakeside), $1,110
  • Conference of St. Vincent de Paul Society of Myrtle Creek, $2,500
  • Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Southern Oregon, $5,000
  • Coos Art Museum, $3,500
  • Coos Bay Area Zonta Service Foundation, $5,000
  • Coos Bay Seventh-day Adventist Food Pantry and Community Service, $5,000
  • Coos County Friends of Public Health, $4,500
  • Coos Watershed Association, $2,000
  • Coquille Indian Tribe Community Health Center, $10,000
  • Coquille Watershed Association, $3,525
  • Curry County Historical Society, $1,500
  • Florence Food Share, $3,000
  • Friends of Coos County Animals Inc., $5,000
  • Harmony United Methodist Church, $5,000
  • HIV Alliance, $5,000
  • Junction City Local Aid, $5,000
  • Knights of Columbus Council 1261, $5,000
  • La Clinica del Valle, $10,000
  • Little Theatre on the Bay, $5,000
  • Mapleton Food Share, $5,000
  • Oregon Childrens’ Foundation dba SMART Start Making A Reader Today, $5,000
  • Oregon Coast Community Action – Court Appointed Special Advocates, $5,000
  • Oregon Coast Community Action – South Coast Food Share (SCFS), $10,000
  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, $3,000
  • Peter Britt Gardens Music & Arts Festival Association, $2,000
  • Rogue Retreat, $10,000
  • Roots & Wings Community Preschool, $7,000
  • ShelterCare, $5,000
  • Smith and Bern VFW Post 6102, $10,000
  • South Coast Clambake Music Festival, $3,000
  • South Umpqua Historical Society, $5,000
  • Southwestern Oregon Veterans Outreach Inc., $4,500
  • Southwestern Oregon Workforce Investment Board, $7,000
  • Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, $5,000
  • Sumner Rural Fire Protection District, $6,128
  • Triangle Food Box, $2,500
  • Umpqua Community Health Center, $20,000
  • Youth 71Five, $5,000

2019 Community Fund Grant List

2019 Grants

Coquille Tribal Community Fund

 

  • ACCESS, $5,000
  • Bandon Historical Society Museum, $2,500
  • Bandon Showcase Inc., $1,500
  • Bear Cupboard, $7,500
  • Boys & Girls Club of Southwestern Oregon, $5,000
  • Brookings Harbor Education Foundation Inc., $3,500
  • Camp Myrtlewood, $10,000
  • CASA of Lane County, $5,000
  • Charleston Fishing Families, $5,000
  • Charleston Food Bank, $5,000
  • Chetco Activity Center, $5,000
  • Community Presbyterian Church Warming Center (Lakeside), $1,110
  • Conference of St. Vincent de Paul Society of Myrtle Creek, $2,500
  • Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Southern Oregon, $5,000
  • Coos Art Museum, $3,500
  • Coos Bay Area Zonta Service Foundation, $5,000
  • Coos Bay Seventh-day Adventist Food Pantry and Community Service, $5,000
  • Coos County Friends of Public Health, $4,500
  • Coos Watershed Association, $2,000
  • Coquille Indian Tribe Community Health Center, $10,000
  • Coquille Watershed Association, $3,525
  • Curry County Historical Society, $1,500
  • Florence Food Share, $3,000
  • Friends of Coos County Animals Inc., $5,000
  • Harmony United Methodist Church, $5,000
  • HIV Alliance, $5,000
  • Junction City Local Aid, $5,000
  • Knights of Columbus Council 1261, $5,000
  • La Clinica del Valle, $10,000
  • Little Theatre on the Bay, $5,000
  • Mapleton Food Share, $5,000
  • Oregon Childrens’ Foundation dba SMART Start Making A Reader Today, $5,000
  • Oregon Coast Community Action – Court Appointed Special Advocates, $5,000
  • Oregon Coast Community Action – South Coast Food Share (SCFS), $10,000
  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, $3,000
  • Peter Britt Gardens Music & Arts Festival Association, $2,000
  • Rogue Retreat, $10,000
  • Roots & Wings Community Preschool, $7,000
  • ShelterCare, $5,000
  • Smith and Bern VFW Post 6102, $10,000
  • South Coast Clambake Music Festival, $3,000
  • South Umpqua Historical Society, $5,000
  • Southwestern Oregon Veterans Outreach Inc., $4,500
  • Southwestern Oregon Workforce Investment Board, $7,000
  • Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, $5,000
  • Sumner Rural Fire Protection District, $6,128
  • Triangle Food Box, $2,500
  • Umpqua Community Health Center, $20,000
  • Youth 71Five, $5,000

Tribe Supports ‘Girls Who Code’

Volunteer Kendall Smith, left, coaches Kiyanna Day and Mackenzie Thompson during a “Girls Who Code” session at the Boys and Girls Club. The program, sponsored by the Southwestern Oregon Workforce Investment Board, was one of 49 recipients of Coquille Tribal Community Fund grants in 2019.

Program empowers middle-school girls

 March 2019

 COOS BAY – If technology is the future, sixth-grader Jade Moon plans to be ready.

Every Wednesday afternoon, Jade logs onto a laptop and joins other girls to learn the fundamentals of computer programming. Their after-school class, “Girls Who Code,” encourages middle-school girls to explore careers in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

“I just love the fact that I’m learning all this stuff that I can use in the future,” Jade said. “If I decide to be a programmer, I can.”

Girls Who Code is a nationwide organization that aims to close the national gender gap in technology. With nearly 90,000 girls involved nationwide, the movement challenges the antiquated notion that math and science are mostly for boys.

The local chapter meets weekly at the Boys & Girls Club in Coos Bay. It’s being supported this year by a $7,000 grant from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund. Jackie Chambers, the Coquille Tribal member who administers the fund, is enthusiastic about it.

“Part of the Coquille Indian Tribe’s focus is to help our young people get an education and advance in life,” Chambers said. “We’re proud to make this contribution, and we can’t wait to see what these girls accomplish in their lives.”

The women who lead and teach the local group use words such as “empowerment” and “sisterhood” to describe the spirit of Girls Who Code. They say their goal is to break the cultural barrier that still discourages girls from pursuing STEM subjects.

The program’s website boasts of building “the largest pipeline of future female engineers in the United States.”

“It’s a huge tool for the future,” said Courtney DuMond, a volunteer in the local program.

On one recent Wednesday, the girls learned about using a simple programming language to create a quiz game. They also learned the real-world skill of establishing SMART goals. (SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.)

Each year the girls are asked to apply their technological lessons to a project with social implications. This year’s team chose anxiety and depression. They’ll address the subject with tools such as building a website or making a video. Thus they learn to use technology while practicing teamwork, problem solving and compassion.

“I’d like to get the people who have depression and anxiety — and sometimes both – some help,” Jade said.

About the grants

Girls Who Code was one of 13 education-related programs receiving grants from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund in 2019. The 13 grants, totaling $69,025, were part of the $261,762 being distributed to 49 organizations during the fund’s annual “Grant Week.” Since 2001, the tribal fund has distributed more than $6.4 million, using revenue from The Mill Casino-Hotel & RV Park.

Community fund aids FOCCAS

Tribal grant aids cat overpopulation project

FOCCAS volunteer Sheila Ward loves cats, but she and others are working to limit Coos County’s feline population.

March 2019 

You can run out of gas. You can run out of money, time or patience.

Nobody ever seems to run out of cats.

“Cat overpopulation in this area is a terrible problem,” said Sheila Ward, a volunteer with Friends of Coos County Animals. “I think it’s a problem everywhere.”

Specifically, it’s a math problem. Cats aren’t far behind rabbits in the multiplication department. A female cat may get pregnant when she’s just 4 months old, and she can deliver as many as three litters a year.

So FOCCAS fights a perpetual campaign to reduce uncontrolled cat breeding. One of its allies is the Coquille Tribal Community, which this year gave the group a $5,000 grant to help cover vet fees.

FOCCAS was founded in 2006 to promote animal welfare and ease the strain on the county shelter. Its 35 volunteer foster homes have cared for thousands of animals awaiting adoption.

Cats in the group’s care consistently outnumber dogs, but the felines’ rapid reproduction is only one reason. Owner attitudes are another.

“They just don’t think of spaying and neutering their cats as much as they do with dogs,” Ward said.

When kittens arrive, people commonly advertise them on Facebook, give them away outside Walmart, or dump them along some rural road. Sometimes people move out of an apartment, leaving behind a cat and half a dozen kittens.

“Hundreds of cats just get thrown away,” Ward said. “Certain times of the year, we have dozens and dozens.”

Tribal fund Administrator Jackie Chambers said she’s glad for the chance to help.

“I feel like this is an issue that we can all relate to,” she said. “In receiving this grant, FOCCAS is giving people in our community the means to keep their pets healthy and safe.”

The Coquille Tribe’s grant will help cat owners who can’t afford the cost of spaying (for female cats) or neutering (for males). FOCCAS provides vouchers for the S/Nipped clinic in Empire.

Along with financial help, FOCCAS aims to change cat owners’ attitudes. Ward said some people who receive vouchers neglect to use them. She recalled a woman who forgot to fix her tomcat, only to face a big vet bill after a feline rendezvous led to a bloody fight.

“You reach some of them, and you don’t reach others,” Ward said. “The ones who really care about this, and they’re invested in their cat, they’ll take care of it right away — and they’ll tell their friends.”

About the grants

The Coquille Tribe’s $5,000 grant to FOCCAS was one of two environment-oriented grants the tribe will award during its 2019 Grant Week. The Coos Watershed Association received $2,000 for a project involving environmental murals and native plant species.

Overall, the tribal fund’s Grant Week awards totaled $261,762 to 49 grantee agencies. Since being founded in 2001, the fund has awarded more than $6.4 million to community organizations serving five counties.

Want to help?

FOCCAS needs donations, volunteers and additional foster homes for dogs and cats. Adoptable pets are on display each Saturday at Pony Village Mall. Learn more at http://www.friendsofcooscountyanimals.org, or call (541) 269-1989.

Powers VFW Gets Boost From Tribal Fund

 

Powers VFW Commander Daniel Adams, left, relaxes on the porch of Post 6102 with son Jaxon, Quartermaster Paul Walter and canine pal Dakota. With broad community support, VFW members are rescuing the historic building.

Powers rallies to reclaim decaying VWF hall

March 2019

POWERS – Some towns might say the Powers VFW hall isn’t worth saving. In some towns, the swaybacked floor, the cracking walls, the rotten siding and the antiquated wiring might look like an invitation to a bulldozer.

Powers, population 700ish, isn’t one of those towns.

“This is a place where we’re all accustomed to coming together and solving problems,” said VFW Commander Daniel Adams.

Instead of demolition, the hall is undergoing a revival, courtesy of volunteers who cherish it as a community hub. Help is coming from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund, which provided $10,000 during the tribe’s annual “Grant Week.”

Adams, a veteran of two tours in Iraq, moved to town two years ago and went looking for comrades. At the Smith & Bern Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6102, he encountered a once-vibrant group that had dwindled as its members aged and died. He quickly found himself in charge.

“They said, ‘Here’s the hat, you’re the commander.’ ”

Adams and the post’s quartermaster, fellow Iraq veteran Paul Walter, inherited a crisis along with their hats. The former church that housed the VFW was besieged by water.  The historic building was all but abandoned.

“It’s hard to have an active post when it’s crumbling,” said Phillip Wolcott, a Vietnam-era veteran and former post commander.

The building sits in a soggy depression below street grade. Walls have cracked as the foundation has settled. Some of the floor joists rest directly on damp ground, and the vintage hardwood floor droops several inches in the middle.

But Powers wasn’t ready to give up on the hall. Many older residents remember worshipping there when it was the Church of the Open Bible.

People rallied. One of the first was Nan MacDonald, who recalls, “The day I opened the doors and started cleaning, the people of this town started coming.”

Since then, volunteers have cleaned and painted the building. A water-damaged wall is getting new framing and siding. A ditch has been dug around the building to divert water. An Eagle Scout project provided a drain field.

The big work remains to be done. Lifting the floor and walls requires tunneling under the building. And the original “knob and tube” wiring must go.

Jackie Chambers, the Coquille Tribal Community Fund’s administrator, is excited to help.

“The first time I met with Daniel and Paul, I could tell that they had the drive and desire to make sure this project does not slip through the cracks,” she said. “This building houses so much in such a small town. Getting it renovated and safe will have a big impact.”

Along with the Coquille Tribe, the post has received support from the Powers Alumni Association and the Tour de Fronds bicycle event. The town is exploring other grant opportunities. (Want to help? Visit “Friends of Smith & Bern” on Facebook.)

As the building slowly revives, it is reclaiming its role in the community. It houses the local food pantry, which attracts more than 150 people twice each month. From April through December, a “barter market” lets people sell or trade produce and crafts. A scout troop and hunter safety classes meet in the building.

“This is community that’s being built,” Adams said. “It’s beautiful.”

About the grants

The Powers VFW was one of four historic preservation projects receiving grants from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund during its 2019 Grant Week, Feb. 23 to March 1. The others were the Bandon Historical Society Museum ($2,500), the Curry County Historical Society ($1,500), and the South Umpqua Historical Society ($5,000).

Altogether, the tribal fund awarded $261,762 to 49 community organizations and programs.

Tribal Fund Aids Warming Center

With Tribal help, tiny church warms homeless

James Ives displays the snug accommodations at the Lakeside Community Presbyterian Church’s warming center. A $1,110 grant from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund is enough to keep the center operating for a year.

March 2019

LAKESIDE – On any given Sunday, fielding a softball team might be a stretch for Lakeside’s Community Presbyterian Church. Yet the tiny congregation (membership 12) is hitting home runs in mercy and charity.

Feed the hungry? Check.

Clothe the naked? You bet.

Shelter the homeless? They’re on it.

Lakeside Presbyterian was one of 49 community groups and agencies receiving grants in 2019 from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund. The church’s warming center for the homeless was awarded the year’s smallest grant. It asked for and received just $1,110 to stay open for another year.

“We don’t need any more money than that,” explained church Elder James Ives, who leads the project.

The warming center runs on a cheerful shoestring. When the local forecast calls for a freeze, Ives alerts a crew of church members and community volunteers. Word also goes out to nearby homeless camps.

In the evening, guests stash their personal belongings in a locked closet. Dinner is served at 8 p.m., courtesy of volunteers from another Lakeside church.

The accommodations are sparse but serviceable: eight narrow mattresses on the church floor, with blankets and clean linens. Kennel crates are available for dogs. A volunteer security detail keeps watch all night, and more volunteers serve breakfast at 7 a.m.

“The community made it happen,” Ives said. “All the church did was open our doors.”

The warming center serves a genuine need. The recent Point-In-Time Homeless Count found 35 people living rough in the Lakeside area.

“There are quite a few, but they’re hidden,” Ives said. “They’re in the woods.”

Along with cold-weather shelter, the church offers coats, clothing, backpacks, blankets and flashlights to those in need. Meal packets are another ministry of Lakeside Presbyterian.

On Super Bowl Sunday, a dozen volunteers gathered after church to load plastic zipper bags with non-perishable, ready-to-eat foods. Working in an assembly line, they stuffed 100 bags in 20 minutes, leaving plenty of time to catch the game.  Ives reminded each volunteer to take a couple of packets to share with homeless people they meet on the street.

“The partnership between this church and the community is impressive,” said Jackie Chambers, who administers the Coquille Tribal fund. “They’re making a huge difference in people’s lives, and our tribe is proud to help.”

About the grants

The Coquille Tribal Community Fund is distributing $261,720 to 49 community groups and agencies during its 2019 Grant Week, Feb. 23 through March 1.

Four of the grantees, including the Lakeside warming center, were in the fund’s Public Safety category. The others were Charleston Fishing Families ($5,000), Court Appointed Special Advocates ($5,000), and the Sumner Rural Fire Protection District ($6,127).

Since its launch in 2001, the fund has distributed $6.4 million.

Community Fund Aids LTOB

Tribe helps actors escape dank dressing rooms

March 2019

Jeanne Woods, who chairs the Liberty Theatre restoration project, reveals a subterranean passageway to the theater’s orchestra pit.

NORTH BEND – Amateur actor Tim Novotny’s worst theatrical moment came about 10 years ago, in a production of “Anything Goes.”

As the lights came up, Novotny stood alone on the Liberty Theatre stage in North Bend.  Dressed only in boxer shorts, he waited for another cast member’s entrance.

And waited.

He whistled to kill time.

And waited some more.

Finally, from somewhere beneath the stage, Novotny and the audience heard the director shout, “MOVE!” – followed by frantic stomping as the tardy actor pounded up the stairs.

Subterranean dressing rooms and a creaky, narrow staircase are next on the renovation agenda for the troupe that owns the Liberty. Having delighted audiences by upgrading the playhouse’s auditorium, lobby and restrooms, Little Theatre on the Bay now aims to make life easier for its performers.

Jeanne Woods, LTOB’s restoration chairperson, proudly proclaims:

“There will be no stairs.”

LTOB has raised about $330,000 toward the $500,000 cost of the restoration’s Phase IV. That includes a $5,000 boost from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund. The grant is one of 49 that were awarded during the Tribe’s annual “Grant Week,” Feb. 23-March 1.

“This historic gem is a place that everyone should experience,” said Tribal Fund Administrator Jackie Chambers. “The Coquille Tribe is happy to be able to support this renovation and support arts in our community.”

The Liberty’s restoration has seven phases. The first phase restored the exterior. The second bought new seats and accessible restrooms. Phase III, now in progress, upgrades the lobby. After that, Phase IV will install a new air-flow system along with dressing rooms and a set construction area – all at stage level.

Performers will welcome the change. Novotny described the current accommodations as “a little cold, a little dank.” Amateur thespians are used to making do, but he knows older performers who retired from the Liberty’s stage for fear of getting sick.

“We’re just so thankful to the community and the Coquille Tribe for stepping forward,” he said. “It really does inspire us to keep doing what we’re doing.”

The Liberty’s offstage area is a crazy quilt of improvised spaces. When a show needs a pit orchestra, the musicians must descend the stairs, then climb a stepladder and creep through a hatchway.

During a backstage tour, Woods displayed what is jokingly called, “The Star’s Dressing Room.” It’s a triangular nook, maybe seven feet across at the wide end, furnished with a mop sink. Situated just offstage, it allows a quick costume change without a trip underground.

LTOB needs to raise another $170,000 in the next year to finish Phase IV. Woods describes that goal as “totally doable,” thanks to rising community enthusiasm.

“The buzz is out there,” she said. “We only have a few more phases after this, and we’re cooking right along.”

Phase V will upgrade sound and lighting. Phase VI will add a children’s program space. The final phase will restore the original neon sign and Moorish domes.

LTOB is selling “naming rights” for features such as seats, windows and inscribed tiles. Prices range from $250 on up to $250,000 to endow the stage itself.  Woods hopes a corporate sponsor will grab that last item.

“I need a sugar daddy,” she said.

Prospective sugar daddies (and less ambitious donors) can learn more at http://thelibertytheatre.org.

 

About the grants

Little Theatre on the Bay was one of five arts organizations receiving Coquille Tribal grants in 2019.  The otherswere the Clambake Music Festival ($3,000), Coos Art Museum ($3,500), Bandon Showcase ($1,500) and Jackson County’s Britt Festival ($2,000).

Altogether, 49 organizations are received $261,720 during Grant Week, bringing the tribal fund to a total of $6.4 million since 2001. Mill Casino revenue pays for the fund.

 

Jeanne Woods, who chairs the Liberty Theatre restoration project, reveals the subterranean passageway to the theater’s orchestra pit.

2019 Community Fund Grants

Tribe Invests in Stronger Communities

More than four-dozen community organizations received support from the Coquille Tribal Community Fund in 2019, with grants totaling more than a quarter-million dollars.

The grants, funded by revenue from The Mill Casino, support a wide range of community services. They range from $1,110 for a small-town church’s homeless warming shelter to $20,000 for a prenatal ultrasound machine.

Learn more in this news coverage: