Working together to improve our community

Dollars raised help support non-profit programs serving residents of Camas and Washougal

The Camas-Washougal Community Chest was established in 1946 when a group of concerned citizens formed to coordinate raising funds for local 501 c-3 nonprofit organizations involved with education, youth education, aiding those with special needs, natural resource conservation, health and welfare, crisis and emergency services, and other charitable and civic endeavors. All recipients of Community Chest funding must provide services within the Camas-Washougal area.

Camas-Washougal Community Chest Board of Directors

  • Joelle Scheldorf (Past-President)
  • Bolt Minister (Past-President)
  • Deanna Rusch (President-Elect)
  • Marianne Reiter (Treasurer)
  • Cari Corbett (Secretary)
  • Richard Reiter (Campaign Manager)
  • Susan Bennett
  • Mindy Schmidt


  • Dave Pinkernell (Governance Committee Chair)
  • Mary Templeton
  • David Scott
  • Matthew McBride
  • Stuart Bennett
  • Cassi Marshall
  • Rochelle Ramos (Webmaster)
Treasurer Marianne distributing 2013 grant to Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership

Treasurer Marianne distributing 2013 grant to Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership

What is a “Community Chest”?

What is a “Community Chest”? Members of the Camas-Washougal Community Chest board are often asked this question.  We frequently answer that we are “like a local United Way,” and this analogy is pretty accurate.

Community Chests are fundraising organizations that collect donations from local businesses, workers, and residents and distribute them to other local nonprofits.  The first Community Chest (named the “Community Fund”) was founded in 1913 in Cleveland, OH and the concept was so popular that by 1948, there were over 1,000 Community Chests in the U.S. and Canada.  The United Way was founded separately as the Charity Organization Society in Denver, Colorado in 1887.  The COS served a similar function to Community Chests by coordinating fundraising and services for 22 local agencies.

Over the years, many Community Chests and other local fundraising charities in the U.S. and Canada joined together, and many of them ended up joining the United Foundation, which later became the United Way.  United Way Worldwide is now a global organization, overseeing approximately 1,800 community-based “United Ways” in 45 countries and territories.  Like Community Chests, local chapters (called “United Ways”) support their communities by collecting charitable donations to relieve local nonprofits of fundraising duties.

The Camas-Washougal Community Chest was formed in 1946 to coordinate fundraising for local nonprofits and we are still going strong after 72 years!  The CWCC is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors and in recent years, we’ve been able to distribute over 97% of donations back to the community.  We require grant recipients to provide services within the Camas-Washougal area, submit reports on how grant funds were used, and be involved with education, youth education, health and welfare, natural resource conservation, aiding those with special needs, crisis and emergency services, or other charitable and civic endeavors.

This year’s grant recipients include the Inter-Faith Treasure House, Janus Youth Programs, Meals on Wheels, Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership, Children’s Home Society of Washington, Cascade Pacific Boy Scout Council, Friends and Foundation of the Camas Library, Friends of the Columbia River Gorge, Camas Farmers Market, Camas School District and Washougal School District Principals’ Funds, Camtown Youth Festival, Camas Washougal Historical Society, Evergreen Habitat for Humanity, Fort Vancouver Regional Library, General Federation of Women’s Clubs, JD Currie Youth Camp, Journey Theater Arts Group, Lifeline Connections, Opera Quest Northwest, Pathways Pregnancy Clinic, REACH Community Development, and TreeSong Nature Awareness & Retreat Center.

I’m looking for an organization in my community that I can trust to make good use of my donations.

Mrs. Jean Paulson, Camas, WA

At Camas-Washougal Community Chest more than

95percent of contributions received are given to local charities
within our community.

Community Chest Presentation:  2020 Public Meeting Slide Show

2021 Grant Summary: 2021 Grant Award Press Release

Executive Report: 2020 Executive Report

501c3 Designation Letter: 501c3 Designation Letter

990 Federal Tax Form: upon request to