A group of Redmond heavy hitters want to see fellow residents step up to the plate in giving.
They recently announced Redmond’s Spirit Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit agency that seeks to get at least 1,000 residents to agree to contribute a minimum of $100 a year for three years. They hope to get the first $100,000 in donations by the end of May.
Among the project’s founding board members are real estate broker Angela Boothroyd, who has been named citizen of the year by both the Redmond Chamber of Commerce and the city, Mark Eberhard, president of his family’s dairy, former state Sen. Bev Clarno and community development consultant David Foote.
The program seeks to enhance Redmond’s giving culture by focusing on donations from individuals, Boothroyd said.
“Our cities, our businesses, our government already do a lot, and we really wanted to focus on how individual community members can be involved and have a large impact on giving in the greater Redmond area,” Boothroyd told an audience of about 20 people at a May 1 downtown kickoff event at Centennial Park.
The program is partially modeled after groups like 100 Men Who Care, where members each donate $100 each quarter to allow for a $10,000 community donation, Boothroyd said.
“The idea behind this is it’s a hand-up, not a hand out, so what we’re hoping these dollar amounts will do is make a big difference in the organizations that are going out and currently doing fundraising, some of it really successfully, some of it not so successfully,” she said. “But that they’ll keep doing what they’re successful at and we’ll be able to help them with larger dollar amounts that they can then leverage to go out to other organizations. We can turn $25,000 into $50,000 for an organization or $50,000 into $100,000.”
Board members reiterated that founding members will cover any administrative costs for the Spirit Foundation. That means 100 percent of donations will go toward its projects.
“I remember that a few people gave me a helping hand when I was young and very, very poor, and I’ve never forgotten it,” Clarno said. “I will always give back, and I hope you will too.”
Creating a city-sponsored foundation was one of the recommendations of a University of Oregon Sustainable Cities Initiative, where more than 400 students worked with 26 city departments on a project completed in 2015.
“Rather than the city government doing it, we’re doing it as citizens,” Foote said.
Redmond residents have shown they can give back before, according to a foundation brochure, which is shown by its investment in public art, the creation of the all-abilities Hope Playground at Sam Johnson Park and the recent win in an online Portland Trail Blazers vote to win funding for a new playground at Baker Park.
The agency has yet to determine which other nonprofits it could assist. Foote said after the event that donors will be involved in deciding where the money goes.
Possible ideas could be day-care programs for underprivileged families or a city-wide health initiative, Foote said.
“It’s up to the sponsors who contribute to this,” he said. “They’re going to have a voice in how the dollars are invested.”
— Reporter: 541-548-2186, firstname.lastname@example.org