Helping Local Nonprofits Thrive!

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

Announce 2024 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 34 grants totaling $134,000 to nonprofit organizations delivering programs and 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, water quality monitoring in the Lacamas Creek watershed, and staffing and equipment for three litter cleanups at Cottonwood Beach.

Since 1946 the Community Chest has been all about local people helping local people. Some of the nonprofit organizations being funded in 2024 include the Inter-Faith Treasure House, Akin at the East County Family Resource Center, Janus Youth Programs, Pink Lemonade Project, and Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership. First-time grantees include Enspire Arts, Washougal Songcraft Festival, and Watershed Alliance of SW Washington. For a complete listing of the 2024 grant awards, scroll down!

Thanks to the 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 2024 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.

2024-2025 CWCC Board
Dave Pinkernell, President
Andrew Gustely, President Elect
Mindy Schmidt, Past President/Secretary
Marianne Reiter, Co-Treasurer
Susan Bennett, Co-Treasurer
Richard Reiter, Campaign Chair
Joelle Scheldorf, ExecCom Chair
Cari Corbett
Mary Templeton
Stuart Bennett
David Scott
Ann Stevens
David Ripp
Doug Hood
Doug Quinn
AJ Bogue

2023-2024 CWRF Board
George Capacci, President
Ron Carlson, Vice-President/Secretary
Max Hall, Treasurer
Milt Dennison
Molly Coston
Larry Keister
Blaine Peterson
Kathy Bussman
Tom Crozier, Club Exec Secretary

Community Programs/Projects Funded in 2024

Akin (formerly Children’s Home Society of Washington)

The grant will fund general operations at the East County Family Resource Center in downtown Washougal. The Center allows clients to access parent education groups, youth support groups, emergency basic assistance, behavioral health services, and healthcare services provided directly by Akin or supported by Akin 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.

Boy and Girl Scout Troops

The funds help provide scholarships to boys and girls from low-income households so they can pay the scout’s membership fee or so they can attend summer camp. Three Boy Scout troops from the Camas and Washougal area can participate in the grant program. The funds will help one Girl Scout troop to visit the Smithsonian in Washington D. C. and the home of Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low in Savannah, Georgia.

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 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 Farmers Market booth for fresh fruits or vegetables. Some of the funds may also be used to help the market 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 local 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, communication, 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 students with financial need can participate in regional and worldwide robotics championship competitions.

Camas Washougal Historical Society

The grant funds will be used to commission artist Adam Mclsaac to create a fish carving display (12 ft by 4 ft) for the Gathering Place located at the Two Rivers Heritage Museum. The CWHS’s mission is to preserve and make available to the public, both present and future artifacts that tell the story of the history of the Camas and Washougal area.

Camas Washougal Parent Co-Op Preschool

The grant helps pay for the annual costs to operate the cooperative 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. This year’s operating budget will also pay for an automatic door locking system, part of a $37,387 plan to improve overall school building security and safety.

Dance Evolution

A portion of the grant provides free or subsidized dance classes to individuals who may not have access to such opportunities or a scholarship to individuals or families with financial constraints. A portion of the grant will be used to upgrade studio equipment over time to create a safe and inspiring environment, and to purchase adaptive equipment and resources to enhance the studio’s accessibility to individuals of all abilities.

Enspire Arts

The grant funds a bi-monthly Community Arts Night program, a free opportunity to experience the benefits of creativity and artistic expression. Community Arts Night events are suitable for all ages, novice or professional, to come together and explore the world of creativity and the arts. Enspire Arts uses music, poetry, visual art, theater games, writing, and more as a catalyst for conversation, community building, emotional expression, relaxation, and fun.

Family Promise of Clark County

Grant funds will be used to operate Family Promise’s Cares Prevention Program that proactively assists families with services that will prevent them from losing their homes 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 $1,000 per family for CPP services described above. Family Promise will continue to leverage these funds by partnering with other organizations in the community such as Partners in Careers, Salvation Army, Camas Lions Club, Council for the Homeless, and other human services agencies.

FVRL – Washougal Branch

Grant funds 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 2024 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 a Nature-Smart Library collection. This initiative focuses on education for all ages, from pre-K to adult learners, while also bringing about a lifelong love of natural resource conservation. The Outdoor Games program would buy multiple copies of such games as Badminton, Bocce Ball, Cornhole, Jenga, Pickleball, and six other games. The Picnic Baskets program would buy multiple copies of card games such as Go Fish, UNO, and regular decks of cards; along with “baskets” (aka backpacks) for transporting the games and blankets to provide a clean playing surface. Lastly, the grant pays a portion of a speaker’s fee to provide outdoor workshops on six subjects including astronomy, birdwatching, gardening, meditation, nature walks, and outdoor photography.

Friends of the Columbia Gorge

The Friend’s “Explore the Gorge” program exposes 250 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 Camas-Washougal

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 $40 of food and $50 worth of grocery gift cards per family. The grocery gift cards will be purchased from Camas and Washougal grocery stores, who have partnered with Impact C-W and St. Matthews Lutheran Church in the past, and as a way to support local businesses.

Inter-Faith Treasure House

Seventy percent of the funds will be used to purchase nutritional food for the school backpack program. Currently, there are 80 Camas School District students, and their siblings and parents, that receive food assistance through the backpack program. The Treasure House also distributes food out of its warehouse to 2,000 people per month. Thirty percent of the funds will be used to buy gas for two food delivery vans that pick up food from local grocers and the Clark County Food Bank and deliver that food to the schools for distribution to low-income families.

JD Currie Youth Camp

The funds will help upgrade Outhouse A to current health and safety standards. Two additional Outhouses (B and C) are scheduled for upgrades in the next two years. The three Outhouses are an integral part of the outdoor camp. Children and adult supervisors depend on having Outhouses for basic needs in order to occupy the property. When functioning properly, the property supports school field trips, nonprofit youth organizations, church youth groups, and several school clubs.

Janus Youth Program

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 specifically 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 plus a production crew of as many as 65 students between the ages of eight and 18. Journey Theater is planning a production of The Spongebob Squarepants Musical in March of 2024. 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. A portion of the funds will provide scholarships for theater classes and camps to students in financial need.

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.

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 that provides 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 for CSD fourth graders 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.

Pathways Clinic

The grant funds will help buy medical supplies so Pathways Clinic can offer no-cost limited obstetric ultrasound tests, no-cost pregnancy tests and test controls, and no-cost STI/STD testing and treatment to men and women.

Pink Lemonade Project

The Pink Lemonade Project’s Pink Practicalities program 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 need(s).

Principals’ Checkbook – Camas School District

The grant funds provided to the Camas Family Community Resource Center (a.k.a. the CSD Principals’ Checkbook) will help buy materials and services to assist directly in the furthering of a student’s education or their physical/emotional well-being, which might also affect their ability to do well in school. All of the items purchased with these funds ensure the stability of the students so they can receive the best education possible.

Principals’ Checkbook – Washougal School District

The grant provides all kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school principals in the Washougal School District 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, which provides food, clothes, shoes, and personal hygiene products to students. Lastly, the grant will help fund several activities to honor the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr., including an assembly implementation guide, a keynote speech, and access to James Layman throughout the process of putting the assembly together.

REACH Community Development

Gateway Gardens has 32 units of low-income housing with 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

The grant funds will be used to purchase water-proof sleeping bags to help clients stay dry when the severe weather shelter isn’t open. The funds will also buy sturdy clamshell containers, lidded bowls for soups and other liquids, and heavy-duty plastic forks and spoons for the to-go meal program. Refuel will also buy C-Tran bus passes for clients to use to get to Vancouver for access to services not available locally.

St. Anne’s Episcopal Church – Safe Stay Program

St. Anne’s has developed a Safe Stay program that allows an average of seven homeless families to sleep overnight in their personal vehicles 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 help pay for utilities and supplies associated with a laundry facility (washer and dryer) and an ADA bathroom and shower facility. The church arranges for 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 hotspot so their clients can access the internet.

Silver Star Search and Rescue

The grant funds will buy a single Terra Tamer titanium frame/fork/wheel to support a Stokes litter. The current wheel is worn out from repeated use in heavy-duty, difficult terrain.

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. Sources of Strength 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”. The Love Your Life campaign seeks to inform youth that they don’t have to use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs to fit in. Rather 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 Songcraft Festival

The grant helps fund artist participation in the Washougal Songcraft Festival. WSF promotes arts education, celebrates the craft of songwriting, and develops the performing arts creative community of Washougal, Washington, and surrounding areas. The funding obtained helps WSF hire local and regional songwriters in performances that are free to the public of all ages, brings customers to local businesses, develops the cultural economy of Washougal, and most importantly, enhances the quality of life for the community.

Watershed Alliance of Southwest Washington

Grant funds will be used to run three litter cleanups at Cottonwood Beach (beach and trail) in Washougal during the summer of 2024. Funds will cover staff time and event expenses to organize, run, and complete the cleanups. Funds would also cover expenses to organize and train volunteers to carry out the cleanups in a timely and safe manner.

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.