Blue Mountain Community Foundation has awarded two additional grants from the First Fruits Fund, a component fund of the Foundation.
Community Council, a citizen led group that brings people together to study regional issues and follow up with actions, was awarded $3,395.00 which helped them meet their $80K fundraising goal for the fiscal year and receive a Sherwood Trust matching grant. Community Council has completed three community studies in the four years since the organization was founded on the following topics:
- Enhancing the Educational Attainment of our Region’s Children
- Optimizing Resources; Value-added Agriculture
- Reducing Gang Membership Through Prevention
Links to the study reports can be found here. A new study on Effective Communication between Citizens and Government will begin this fall. Visit Community Council’s website at www.communitycouncil.org to learn more about the work Community Council is doing and the process used to study issues.
Walla Walla Public Schools’ Farm to School Program was awarded $6,200.00 to help establish a program that will bring more local farm fresh produce to school lunches and will expand the school garden programs and curriculum. This effort led by Beth Thiel has already been able to bring local farm fresh asparagus to Sharpstein and Blue Ridge this spring. Click this link to read an article in the Union Bulletin about the program.
The First Fruits Fund was established in 2008 with a generous grant from the Vista Hermosa Foundation. Since that time, the Fund has made 69 grants exceeding $567,000.
The stated goal of the First Fruits Fund is to “encourage collaborative and innovative approaches to building self-sufficiency for the most under-served in our communities, including improved access to such basic needs as housing, food, education and livable wages.” Founders believe that the most impactful way to achieve that goal is to support community-based initiatives that empower people themselves to identify their needs and collectively own the process of change.