Helping Local Charities Thrive!

Camas-Washougal Community Chest, C-W Rotary Foundation, and Camas Lions Foundation

Announce 2023 Grant Awards

The Camas-Washougal Community Chest and its partners, the Camas-Washougal Rotary Foundation and the Camas Lions Foundation, are pleased to announce the award of 31 grants totaling $140,000 to non-profit organizations delivering services, exclusively, to children and families in Camas and Washougal. The grants will fund such diverse services as emergency food assistance, aid to families in crisis or needing emergency services, safe temporary shelter for at-risk youth, a Safe Stay overnight car park program at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, a homeless family day center located at Saint Thomas Aquinas in Camas, and water quality monitoring in the Lacamas Creek watershed. For a complete list of grant recipients and more grant details, scroll down!

Thanks to CWRF, CLF, and major donations from the GP Foundation, GP employees, Camas School District employees, City of Camas and Washougal employees, Port of Camas-Washougal employees, Windermere Foundation, and Watercare Industrial Services, CWCC is well on the way to funding these grants. To reach its 2023 fundraising goal, however, the CWCC needs additional donations from individuals and businesses in Camas and Washougal. If you have questions or would like to learn how you can be involved, contact us at info@camaswashougalcommunitychest.org. The C-W Community Chest is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization for federal charitable tax deduction purposes.

2023-2024 CWCC Board
Mindy Schmidt, President
Deanna Rusch, Past President
Marianne Reiter, Co-Treasurer
Susan Bennett, Co-Treasurer
Cari Corbett, Secretary
Richard Reiter, Campaign Chair
Dave Pinkernell, GovCom Chair
Joelle Scheldorf
Mary Templeton
Stuart Bennett
David Scott
Ann Stevens
John Spencer
Doug Hood
Doug Quinn

2023-2024 CWRF Board
Ron Carlson, President
Blaine Peterson, President Elect
Cindy Forslund, Treasurer
Barb Crozier, Secretary
Gayle Thieman
Diana Rutherford
Max Hall
Scott Berry
George Capacci
Molly Coston

Community Programs/Projects Funded in 2023

Boy Scouts of America – Cascade Pacific Council

The purpose of the grant is to provide scholarships to boys or girls from low-income households so they can pay the scout’s membership fee and/or so they can attend summer camp. It is estimated that three Boy or Girl Scout troops and one Cub Scout troop from the Camas and Washougal area can participate in the grant program.

Camas Farmers Market

The grant is used by Camas Farmers Market to implement a token program called “Produce Pals.” Produce Pals offers a weekly activity to educate and inspire children to grow, prepare and eat healthy foods. The weekly activity also educates children about where and how their food is produced. After each child has completed the week’s activity they receive a $2 token redeemable at any CFM booth for fresh fruits or vegetables. Some of the funds may also be used to meet safety guidelines and provide the safest shopping experience for customers and vendors, including increased sanitation and a portable restroom.

Camas Robotics Booster Club

The mission of the Robotics Team is to inspire students to become engaged in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, that inspire innovation and foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communicaion and leadership. A portion of the grant will be used to waive registration fees for students in financial need to be able to participate in Robotics Team activities. A portion of the funds will be used to cover transportation, housing and food costs so that student with financial need can participate in regional and wordwide robotics championship competitions.

Camas Washougal Parent Co-Op Preschool

The grant helps pay for the annual costs of operating the preschool. The curriculum is theme-based and developmentally appropriate, providing students with a solid foundation in letter/sound recognition, numbers/patterns/math games, beginning science concepts, and fine motor skills such as cutting, gluing, and name writing. The operating budget includes purchasing classroom supplies so the preschoolers can learn valuable skills that will prepare them for kindergarten and beyond. The operating budget will also help with maintaining and upkeeping the preschool in order to provide a safe place for the preschoolers to learn and play.

Cascadia Technical Academy Foundation

A portion of the grant helps families in need purchase the uniforms, tools and supplies required by each of CTA’s 16 programs. For example, Cosmetology students must purchase manikin heads and special textbooks. Construction Technology students must purchase steel-toed work boots suitable for a construction job site. A portion of the grant helps families in need respond to financial emergencies. Requests to the foundation can range from bus fare for a student to get to their after-school job because their bicycle was stolen or a gas card so parents can get to work. By helping families meet an immediate financial need, a major financial setback can be avoided.

Children’s Home Society of Washington

The grant will fund general operations at the ECFRC. The Center allows residents to access parent education groups, youth support groups, emergency basic assistance, behavioral health services and healthcare services directly by Children’s Home Society of Washington or supported by CHSW as the Center’s lead agency. Rather than just providing families with access to services, the Center focuses on building skills in families leaving them better prepared to function independently.

East County Citizens’ Alliance

Grant funds will be used to build new native pollinator habitat northeast of the Washougal River Road/SR-14 roundabout. Native wildflower seeds and native live plant plugs will be planted in a plot 200 feet long and 20 feet wide. Half the plot will be prepared using a “repeated shallow cultivation” technique that involves mowing down and scarifying the soil and then seeding the plot. The other half of the plot will be prepared using “solarization” that involves laying down greenhouse plastic for several months to heat the soil to kill existing vegetation. After several months, the greenhouse plastic is removed and wildflower seeds and live plant plugs are planted. WSDOT is serving as a project consultant.

Family Promise of Clark County

Grant funds will be used to expand Family Promise’s Cares Prevention Program that proactively assists families with services that will prevent them from losing their home and entering the shelter system. Services may include rental assistance, payment for rent in arrears, security deposits, landlord mediation, locating housing, Rent-Well, budget and financial literacy courses, connection to community resources and professional case management services. A portion of the grant will be used to pay for the CPP case manager’s position. The other portion of the grant will be used to pay up to $500 per family for CPP services described above. Family Promise will continue to leverage these funds by partnering with other organizations in the community such Camas School District, Salvation Army, Camas Lions Club, Council for the Homeless and other human services agencies.

Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation – Washougal Branch

Grant funds will be used to help cover the cost of the Summer Reading programs and incentive prizes awarded by Washougal Community Library. For many parents with limited household budgets, Washougal Community Library’s Summer Reading Program offers an opportunity for the entire family to attend entertaining and educational programs at no cost, earn prizes for hours spent reading, and strengthen their reading skills. The incentive prizes for 2023 include books, Barnes and Noble gift cards, gift certificates to area businesses that cater to school-age children and teens, and certificates of achievement for various levels of hours spent reading.

Friends and Foundation of the Camas Library

The grant funds a portion of the costs to create and implement special programs, activities, and exhibits to celebrate the Library’s centennial. Four special exhibits are planned for display in the Second Story Gallery covering headline news stories published by the local newspaper, covering a century in the books and covering prohibition through photos from the Library of Congress. Six speakers have been booked as part of a History Speaks! Speaker Series to inform citizens and illuminate our City’s illustrious past. Lastly, the Library will be collecting oral histories from community members and posting those stories to a hosted Website (Memria.org) for everyone to enjoy. The Website will allow people to record their stories from the comfort of their homes or they can come in and use the Library’s Memory booth.

Friends of the Columbia Gorge

The Friend’s “Explore the Gorge” program exposes 290 sixth graders from the Washougal School District to the wonders of the Columbia Gorge, its significance as a national treasure, and the unique story of its preservation through the Columbia River National Scenic Area Act. This two-day outdoor education program strives to build the student’s sense of place and to develop a land stewardship ethic. The outdoor educational experience includes lessons in geology, ecology, and habitat restoration, as well as an interpretive hike and scavenger hunt. The program also covers some history of the Columbia Gorge including the Lewis and Clark expedition and the ice age floods. The grant specifically funds a portion of the educators’ stipend, bus transportation expenses, and teaching supplies and materials.

General Federation of Women’s Clubs – Camas Washougal

Books inspire young readers and lay an important foundation for their success in education. The grant will be used to purchase books for all children in both Washougal and Camas School District Pre-K programs. Extended Learning Coordinators from both districts will be ordering and distributing the books throughout the year.

Impact CW – St. Matthew Lutheran Church

The grant funds will be used to purchase food and grocery gift cards for low income families in the Camas and Washougal School Districts. Each food box will provide $30 of food per box and $50 worth of grocery gift cards per family. The grocery gift cards will be purcchased from Camas and Washougal grocery stores, who have parnered with St. Matthews Lutheran Church in the past, and as a way to support local businesses who’ve helped in the past.

Inter-Faith Treasure House

The grant funds will be used to pay monthly utility bills, including natural gas, water, sewer, electricity and garbage. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, IFTH has had to modify its food bank programs. Each week IFTH sends food home to 70 families through its student backpack program. IFTH continues to hand out food boxes to all low-income families. Lastly, on the front porch, IFTH hands out bread, pastry, meat and dairy to anyone who is hungry.

Janus Youth Programs

Janus Youth Program operates SW Washington’s only crisis shelter for homeless, runaway and at-risk youth ages 9 to 17. The Oaks shelter has become the primary safety net for youth with severe mental health and/or addiction issues, youth who have been victims of sex trafficking and youth requiring protective custody due to open Child Protective Services’ investigations. The grant is used to provide crisis and emergency services, youth activities, education and health and welfare programs for at-risk youth from Camas and Washougal. The grant also supports case management services which are vital to achieve family reunification, service entry and referral, needs assessment and coordinated exit planning.

Journey Theater Arts Group

Journey Theater Arts Group puts on Broadway-style live theater performances involving casts and production crew of as many as 65 students between the ages of eight and 18. Journey is planning a two-week production of Junie B. Jones, The Musical in March of 2023. Grant funds will pay for a portion of the rental fee to use the Washburn Performing Arts Center in Washougal to locally present this musical production.

Kiwanis Camp Wa-Ri-Ki

The purpose of Camp Wa-Ri-Ki is to engage 9- to 15-year-olds in outdoor education and recreational experiences. The grant funds will be used to offer educational and outdoor activities that are physically challenging, involve problem-solving, and encourage human interactions in a fun and exciting camp community. A variety of programs such as NASA GLOBE Goes to Camp, Earth and Sky Nature School, Camas Days, Art in the Garden, Artist in Residence, Leave No Trace, and Nature Days Community Festival enable campers to have meaningful outdoor experiences. Activities are selected that fuel personal growth such as better physical and mental health, increased self-esteem, respect and kindness toward others, ability to lead, and participation in community to become passionate stewards of our natural resources.


The grant funds will provide emergency financial assistance to normally self-supporting people who are unable to work during cancer treatment. By providing emergency assistance, the program allows clients to retain food and shelter security until they can return to work, have time to arrange Social Security Disability Income, or identify other income sources. Lacking this emergency support, clients and their families often face the threat of eviction, utility cutoffs, nutritional insufficiency and/or property repossessions during a time when the focus should be on recovering health and self-sufficiency. Medical literature says that cancer patients who suffer undue hardships (termed financial toxicity) during treatment have poorer treatment outcomes, including increased mortality.

Lacamas Watershed Council

The grant funds will be used to provide initial and refresher water quality monitoring training to Lacamas Watershed Council volunteers and to purchase water quality monitoring equipment and supplies. In recent years toxic algae blooms have occurred in Lacamas, Round, and Fallen Leaf Lakes. LWC advocates for improved water quality based on best available science. Currently, LWC collects water quality data at three monitoring sites in Lacamas Lake and one monitoring site in Round Lake. Additional monitoring sites in the Lacamas watershed creeks and lakes are being evaluated.

Lifeline Connections

Lifeline Connections is a nonprofit agency providing treatment for low- and very low-income people with behavioral health disorders. The grant will help fund transportation costs for bringing kids who may not otherwise have the ability to attend camp, to the Camp Mariposa program (based at Kiwanis Camp WA-Ri-Ki). Most of the participants come from households living below the poverty line and cannot afford the costs of getting to and from camp. Funds may also be used to take kids on field trips to stimulate their senses and build teamwork and relationships, all critical in their treatment and the success of the program.

Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership

The LCEP education program includes three 60-minute classroom lessons that utilize an array of materials such as plant and animal specimens and watershed models. The lessons introduce students to the components of healthy watersheds, plant and animal populations and the interconnectedness of all living things. The outdoor component takes place at Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge and involves planting native trees or removing invasive plants along Gibbons Creek. Planting trees helps reduce water temperature, thereby enhancing native fish survival. The grant funds a portion of educators’ salaries, transportation expenses, and materials and supplies for the outdoor component.

Meals on Wheels People

Helps fund an expansion of the Medically Tailored Meals program to all seniors with one or more chronic diseases such as COPD, diabetes, chronic heart disease and renal disorders. Through the Medically Tailored Meals program, clients receive weekly meals made from scratch that includes fresh fruit, milk and whole wheat bread. In addition, the program includes higher quality meals, more diversity and variety of choices and an increased quantity of food per meal. Lastly, the meals are delivered by trained volunteers who provide wellness checks, nutrition education and social connections as part of this wholistic program.

Pink Lemonade Project

The Pink Lemonade Project’s Pink Practicalities offers financial aid and assistance to women who are facing breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. The program offers financial assistance for essential items not covered by health insurance, but that may be needed for important quality of life issues like groceries, transportation assistance, lymphedema sleeves, lost wages due to treatment and/or surgeries, rent/mortgage payments etc. Pink Practicalities has proven to be a valued community resource, both for patients going through treatment and especially for our healthcare partners who call on Pink Lemonade when a patient truly has an unmet needs.

REACH Community Development

Gateway Gardens, a 32 unit low-income housing development, has an average of 100 residents. Town Square Apartments has 40 units of low-income housing and some 70 residents. Funds will be used to advance essential services for food and other housing stability needs. Funds may be used for bulk purchasing of groceries, baby essentials, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, and similar basic household items. Funds may also be used for rent/utility assistance. Lastly, funds may be used for school supplies, holiday food baskets, and other socially distant engagement activities for youth.

ReFuel Washougal

Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, 60 % of ReFuel’s clients prefer to take meals to-go rather than dining-in. The other 40% prefer dining-in, along with the social interaction of having a group dinner. The grant funds will buy sturdy clamshell containers, lidded bowls for soups and other liquids and heavy duty plastic forks and spoons for the to-go program. Refuel will also purchased a limited number of heavy duty rain coats for those who need them.

St. Anne’s Safe Stay Program

St. Anne’s has developed a Safe Stay program that allows seven homeless families to sleep overnight in their vehicle in the church’s parking lot. The grant funds will be used to rent a port-a-potty, including twice weekly servicing. The funds will also be used to pay for utilities and supplies associated with a laundry facility (washer and dryer) and an ADA bathroom and shower facility. The church arranges volunteers to open the church for two hours in the early evening to let the campers use the bathroom and shower, the washer and dryer and the kitchen. The church also makes available a WIFI hot spot so their clients can access the internet.

TreeSong Nature Awareness and Retreat Center

The funds will be used to pay the costs of wiring and installing a ductless mini-split wall heating unit in a yurt constructed last year.To keep the yurt clean and dry, users of the yurt are required to remove wet clothes and boots before they enter the yurt. Adding the heating unit will expand the number of days that the yurt can host a variety of programs including adult nature education classes, overnight retreats and partnership activities with the Washougal Community Library.

Unite! Washougal Community Coalition

A portion of the grant will be used to fund a Sources of Strength suicide prevention program at Washougal High School. SoS is a suicide prevention and resiliency building youth-led and adult-supported peer-to-peer program that encourages youth to seek help and mental support, when needed, and removes barriers and stigma around healthy help-seeking behavior. SoS also encourages youth to grow resources in their own lives such as healthy activities, positive friends, generosity, and family support. A portion of the grant will fund an Our Positive Community Norms Campaign – “Love Your Life! Washougal”. This campaign seeks to inform youth that they don’t have to use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs to fit in. It seeks to recognize the positives in our community and seeks to grow those positive behaviors by reinforcing and rewarding them in our youth and community. A portion of the grant will fund Guiding Good Choices, a training program that gives parents the skills needed to reduce their children’s risk for using alcohol and other drugs.

Washougal School District – Principal’s Checkbook

The grant provides all kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school principals in the WSD with funds to help any student in financial need to have access to activities, services or materials necessary for a quality education. The grant will also support the Panther Den, a program to provide on-the-job training to students with disabilities, and provides food, clothes, shoes and personal hygiene products to low-income students. Lastly the grant will help fund a mobile laptop cart for use by students and families who cannot afford, or do not have access to, personal computers to access technology and internet services.

West Columbia Gorge Humane Society

WCGHS is a socially conscious animal shelter working to create the best and most appropriate outcomes for pets and people in our community. WCGHS believes pets are family and no one should ever have to give up a pet because of temporary constraining circumstances. It is proven that time spent with an animal reduces anxiety and depression, which reduces hopelessness and despair. The grant funds will be used to sustain the following programs and services during times of hardship, crisis or emergency: pet food pantry, temporary pet boarding, impound/owner surrender fee and veterinary assistance.

YWCA Clark County

YWCA Clark County’s Independent Living Skills Program dedicates its efforts to supporting and empowering young adults who are transitioning out of the Foster Care System. ILS helps youth obtain the fundamental building blocks for a safe and healthy future. Grant funds will be used as Transitional Living funds which support ILS participants as they forge a path toward self-sufficiency and adulthood. In addition to the educational and training components that help prepare participants for their launch into independence, TL funds address the physical needs of youth such as clothing for job interviews, rental assistance, essential furniture, and basic needs for a new living space. Every young adult in our program works with a dedicated advocate who identifies and recommends access to TL funds.