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‘The grant money means a lot’: Roundhouse Foundation of Sisters awards nearly $1.5 million to 104 rural organizations

(Update: Adding video, comments from the foundation)

SISTERS, Ore. (KTVZ) –  The Sisters-based Roundhouse Foundation recently awarded $1.5 million in grants to more than 100 organizations around rural Oregon, including several in Central Oregon. 

"It's a testament to the work of the nonprofits in our region and across the state," Chaney Coman, the foundation's grants manager, said Friday.

"I think we're really honored and excited to be able to support organizations in Central Oregon and rural Oregon more broadly," Coman said.

The foundation was started by Columbia Sportswear's Gert Boyle and her daughter. 

In 2017, they bought the Pine Meadow Ranch in Sisters, a space for artists, conservationists, farmers, ranchers, educators and scientists.

Grants are awarded twice a year, with a focus on arts and culture, social services and environmental stewardship.

The grant awards range from $2,500 to 75,000. The latest recipients include the Oregon Coast School of Art, Oakridge Public Library and Bend wildlife hospital Think Wild. 

Think Wild Executive Director Sally Compton said, "The grant money means a lot to Think Wild, because our mission is to educate the community about wildlife and wildlife protection. And so this grant money enables us to do that, not just here in Bend, but out in rural communities too."

Think Wild will receive $15,000 over three years.

Compton said, "It basically gives us the security to know that we can continue these programs, not just for this year, but for three years and into the future, too."

Here is the foundation's news release:

The Roundhouse Foundation began bolstering organizations that serve and support rural and Tribal areas of Oregon in 2002. This fall, the foundation is pleased to support the work of 104 organizations for the fall 2023 Open Call cycle with nearly $1.5 million.

Grant partners fall into four focus areas: arts and culture, education, social services and environmental stewardship. The Roundhouse Foundation believes in the importance of these areas for the sustainability of life for rural Oregonians and the state’s tribal communities.

“We are honored to support the great work happening throughout rural Oregon," said Erin Borla, executive director and trustee of The Roundhouse Foundation. “There are passionate people across Oregon, and The Roundhouse Foundation team is pleased to be able to be a partner with a few programs dedicated to supporting and building  community strength and resilience in rural, frontier and Tribal communities."

Grants from this process range from $2,500 to $75,000, some distributed across multiple years to support the sustainability of projects that require longer-term investments.

Some of the fall 2023 supported programs within the four focus areas include:

Arts and Culture

Condon Arts Council: to support a visiting artist program, provide art excursions for school-age youth, and continue arts programming for community members of all ages. (Columbia Gorge)

Liberty Restoration Inc: to support teaching artists, program costs, and professional development for this children’s theater on the North Oregon Coast. (North Coast)

Oregon Coast School of Art: to complete an artist in residency studio/apartment that will allow OCSA to bring in two more artists to hold classes for local community members. (South Coast)


Blue Mountain Community College: to support BMCC’s Precision Agriculture Mobile Laboratory outreach to middle and high schools in Eastern Oregon. A new sensor and drone will allow BMCC students the opportunity to collect data and do research with Oregon State University scientists. (Northeast Oregon)

Northeast Oregon Area Health Education Center Inc: to expand the MedQuest program in eastern Oregon. MedQuest is a career exploration camp designed for high school students interested in learning more about careers in health care.(Eastern Oregon)

Oakridge Public Library: to support the design and construction of a community meeting space, which does not currently exist despite frequent public requests. (Willamette Valley)

Rogue Valley Mentoring: to expand group mentoring services to Jackson County youth by embedding mentors directly in schools to reduce barriers to accessing support in a region where there is a significant dearth of mental health professionals. (Southern Oregon)

Environmental Stewardship

EcoSource Native Seed: to purchase a refrigerated trailer that will help EcoSource collect, grow, and transplant native sagebrush seeds in areas affected by fire. (Southeast Oregon)

Elderberry Wisdom Farm: to provide culturally-tailored technical assistance and experiential service learning opportunities to Indigenous students developing careers in agriculture and environmental conservation. The program will also develop microenterprises that integrate traditional ecological knowledge. (Confederated Tribes of the Siletz, Grand Ronde, Warm Springs and Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw)

Think Wild: to provide free wildlife education programming for rural and underserved Central and Eastern Oregon K-12 youth in and out of the classroom. Grant funds will support personnel, mileage, supplies, and equipment for the existing wildlife education programs for rural students in Deschutes and Jefferson County as well as a new partnership with the Crook County School District. (Central Oregon)

Social Services

Age Friendly Sisters Country: to provide non-emergency medical transportation for 150 Sisters Country residents unable to drive themselves to medical appointments. (Central Oregon)

Emerging Unidos: to support rural farm workers and young adult interns from farm worker communities by providing vouchers, emergency supplies and kits, and other materials in rural Marion county. (Willamette Valley)

Hood River Valley Adult Center: to offset the cost of contracting with an outside provider to make and deliver daily meals to seniors while HRVAC undergoes a five-month kitchen remodel. (Hood River)

The Roundhouse Foundation is a private family foundation based in Sisters that supports creative solutions to the unique challenges associated with rural culture and the landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. For more information, call 541-904-0700 visit or View all Fall 2023 Grant Recipients.

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