The Camas-Washougal Community Chest had its legal beginning in 1946.  Camas community leaders decided there was a need for a local organization to raise funds to strengthen and improve the community.  Camas Community Chest, Inc. papers were signed by Dr. A. K. (Doc) Harris, Odmund Egaas, and Marjorie Howard.  The organization expanded in 1956 and became the Camas-Washougal Community Chest (CWCC) with R. E. (Dick) Lawton as chair.  The Board of Trustees was also modified to represent the two communities.

The CWCC is a State of Washington nonprofit charity with a Federal 501 (c)(3) tax exempt status.  The CWCC is governed by a local all-volunteer Board of Trustees who serve two year renewable terms.


The CWCC connects people in Camas and Washougal with causes and services that strengthen and improve our communities – programs that make a difference for today and in the future.

The mission of the CWCC was and continues to be to raise funds to assist local 501 (c) (3) nonprofits involved with (1)  health and welfare, (2) youth services and activities, (3) aiding those with special needs, (4)  natural resource conservation, (5) education, (6) crisis and emergency services, and (7) other charitable and civic endeavors.  Organizations must submit proposals justifying their program need and indicating the local population to be served.  Proposals are reviewed annually by the full CWCC Board and grants are made for services, activities, and items approved.

The CWCC has been in continuous operation since 1946.  Funds raised and dispersed on a fiscal basis have increased from about $6,000 in 1946 to over $75,000 in recent years.  Organizations supported with funds have increased from about 6 to more than 15 and the number of individuals served by the programs each year has increased from a few hundred to more than 14,000.

The Board monitors activities and expenditures by grantees to assure that funds are spent as approved.  The CWCC also maintains a lean, efficient, and effective organization and operation.  Over 95% of funds raised are used to fund grants.

The CWCC has established networks and resources to identify local trends and needs.  Data indicate that the CWCC needs to continually increase its budget to meet future needs.  The CWCC is dependent on the financial support and involvement of local citizens and businesses.  A planned giving program has been established to solicit gifts to strengthen the financial base of the CWCC.  Planned giving will provide an additional source of funds to assure that the CWCC can continue to assist local nonprofits now and in the future.


Planned giving can create a lasting legacy by planning for gifts usually larger than those given to the CWCC for its annual campaign.  It’s a way to help local people through nonprofit programs and to help assure this assistance can be continued.

Planned giving should also be a part of your long term financial and estate plans.  You should have an estate plan that includes a will or trust written to provide for those who mean the most to you and support the causes that are important to you.  In addition these instruments help to reduce estate expenses and taxes.  Gifts can be made during your lifetime or deferred.  There are benefits to both.


Planned giving during your lifetime can benefit you, the CWCC, and the programs and people served by the nonprofits in the Camas and Washougal areas.  Lifetime planned giving to the CWCC provides an immediate tax benefit to the donor, plus support to the CWCC and its programs.  It’s a WIN, WIN, WIN!  The CWCC accepts publicly traded stocks and bonds, real estate (that meets established guidelines and criteria), paid up life insurance, IRAs, and cash as lifetime gifts.

Appreciated stocks and bonds held for more than one year or that have been inherited can provide a double benefit to the donor; the donor can receive a tax benefit for the current market value and avoid paying capital gain taxes.  Appreciated real estate usually provides a similar double benefit.

A paid up life insurance policy can be transferred to the CWCC and provide tax benefits to the donor.  The insurance company usually computes the value of the policy for tax purposes.

Individuals over 70 1/2 with IRAs have to withdraw a minimum required distribution each year.  If you transfer that amount from your IRA directly to the CWCC by a Qualified Charitable Distribution form the transferred funds are not included in your taxable income.

Cash gifts are always welcome and provide the donor with an immediate tax benefit.


Estate planning is an important process and an opportunity to share assets you have accumulated over a lifetime with those for whom you care.  An estate plan can also provide a lasting legacy of your life and your commitment to causes and programs that are important to you.  Your estate plan is a way to help assure that the good work will continue in the future.  Your estate documents are an expression of your values.

Deferred gifts to the CWCC can be included in wills and trusts and as a beneficiary on life insurance policies and brokerage accounts. You can also have end of life instructions that designate the CWCC as one of your memorial choices in your obituary.

A properly drafted will or trust will provide specific instructions of how you want your assets distributed and honor your choices.  A will or trust frequently allows your estate to avoid some taxes and expenses.

If you do not have a will or trust you should meet with a legal advisor and get the document drafted.  If a person dies without a will or trust state laws make the decisions on how your estate will be divided. The choices you would make are frequently different.  Under Washington State law charitable organizations, such as the CWCC, are not included as a beneficiary.  However, you can make the CWCC a beneficiary.

If you have a will or trust, you should meet periodically with a legal advisor to review it and have it updated.  Many life events (marriage, divorce, births, deaths, a move from one state to another, changes in laws, etc.) can create a need to modify or change a will or trust.  It is relatively easy to modify a will or trust by use of an amendment such as a codicil.  The CWCC can usually be added to a will or trust by using a codicil.


Gifts to the CWCC can be designated for either or both funds.  The General Fund is used to support current programs and expenses.  The Endowment Fund is established to provide continuing income for the future by augmenting the General Fund when needed.


The CWCC established the Legacy Society to recognize people or businesses that are planning gifts today.  These gifts will provide significant benefits to the CWCC and programs and people in our communities in the future.  The Legacy Society provides a way to recognize and thank donors during their lifetimes, involve these donors in an advisory role to the CWCC, and continue recognition of the legacy of donors after death.