On May 1, 2018, the Redmond Spirit Foundation had a major announcement at a downtown kickoff event at Centennial Park — the 501(c)3 nonprofit agency wanted to get at least 1,000 Redmond residents to commit to donating a minimum of $100 annually for three years. The money would go to designated Redmond-area agencies in large chunks, with the idea that the pooled donations would go further than individual contributions.
While agency officials considered the first month to be a success, devastating news came just over a month later. Co-founder David Foote, a community development consultant, died unexpectedly June 2, 2018.
“I partnered alongside him, but he was really the energy behind it to that point,” Angela Boothroyd, the spirit foundation’s board president, said last week. “We were all in a state of shock, but his family came to us and said it was important to continue it as a legacy.”
After a quiet year, the foundation recently reemerged to announce it was back seeking other 501(c)3 agencies to apply for donation requests. And it also brought on Redmond resident Jennifer Stephens as an unpaid volunteer executive director.
“We have a good board of directors, but they’re all super busy,” Boothroyd said. “None of us were expecting to run the day-to-day activities. We were all counting on David to do.”
Stephens said she’d been a supporter of the Redmond Spirit Foundation when it started, making an early donation to the organization. So she jumped at the chance to run it.
“I just believed in their mission and goals,” she said. “I felt like this was a way to bring some of my skills to a worthy cause, to dig in a little deeper.”
Stephens, a mother of three young boys, has a master of business administration degree and has worked in banking and local government affairs, she said.
The re-launch has been successful, so far, with at least a dozen agencies applying to get funding from the spirit foundation, as of Oct. 16, Stephens said. Her work has also included reengaging original donors to update them on what the organization has been doing.
The organization has about $20,000 remaining from its initial campaign and seeks to make its first donation by the end of the year, Boothroyd said. It hopes to make a large enough donation to be “fiscally changing” for an organization.
“By coming together as a community, by donating $100 per person at a time, we can make larger contributions,” Boothroyd said. “That can get that help to buy that building or pay off that long-term debt, that can change the way they operate.”
While the board has the final say in where the money goes, the Redmond Spirit Foundation also considers requests from donors. They are looking at groups that assist children, families, the elderly and veterans.
“This is something I feel I can see to fruition and help do good and make a greater impact,” Stephens said.
Boothroyd has appreciated the help.
“Her knowledge and enthusiasm takes a huge weight off my shoulders,” she said of Stephens. “I carry on David’s legacy, and this got me excited about why we first did it.”
Among the initial board members was former state Speaker of the House Bev Clarno, a Redmond resident. Though Clarno came out of retirement earlier this year, when she was appointed Oregon’s secretary of state, she said she will remain a board member with the Redmond Spirit Foundation.
“I’m very, very supportive and think it’s an excellent effort to try to help the people in our community,” Clarno said last week.
— Reporter: 541-548-2186, gfolsom@ redmondspokesman.com