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Community group wins its second $50,000 grant

As seen in the Argus Observer, by Larry Meyer

ONTARIO — Four Rivers Healthy Community has received a second $50,000 grant from The Ford Family Foundation.

That money will allow the group to continue its support of projects in local communities and work toward creating a community foundation. Four Rivers Healthy Community received the same grant last year.

Four Rivers Healthy Community is a backbone nonprofit that supports a variety of local projects and programs undertaken by other organizations. Forming a community foundation is one of several initiatives the organization is undertaking as it prepares its programs for the next year.

Board members are working with attorneys and accountants to develop a structure that will allow them to continue the project-based work and operate as the board for the Four Rivers Community Foundation, executive director Casey Clark Ney said.

The foundation will serve Washington, Payette and Malheur counties. The bylaws are pending approval at the group’s Dec. 17 meeting.

Its initial focus will be on obtaining donations to build an endowment, from which the foundation will benefit different sectors of the community.

A foundation committee will be formed to oversee incoming funding requests. Members will be drawn from different towns in the Western Treasure Valley to represent the community as a whole, Ney said.

“There are many benefits to a community foundation,” Ney said. “We will have better control over our funds and giving than if we were to, say, invest donor funds with a larger, regional statewide community foundation.”

Four Rivers Healthy Community also has embarked on developing a community report card. That work is being done conjunction with the local Cradle to Career Partnership, which is part of a nationwide initiative to improve educational opportunities for children. The report card will provide an overview of Malheur County and identify the gaps in resources and services, Ney said. Identifying the gaps will help in determining how to fill them.

Once the report card is completed, the information will be available to the public and can be used by anyone.

“One of my goals for next year is to conduct report card projects for Washington and Payette counties,” Ney said.

Recently Four Rivers Healthy Community committed to work with the Jordan Valley community to restore meals to students, after the school lost its hot lunch program.

“They also face other challenges when it comes to feeding their children during school hours,” Ney said. “This is a very complex challenge that we believe the community of Jordan Valley can overcome.”

The organization is talking with community members on how that might happen, she said.

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