3 Rivers breaks grant record thanks to endowments, donations

The 3 Rivers Community Foundation launched 2022 on a high note. In early February, it marshalled the resources of 20 funds to present $204,000 in grants to 36 local nonprofits, a record.

Abbey Cameron, executive director of the foundation, said growth in the endowment coupled with direct donations and support from the community allowed it to set a record for its grant-funded donations.

“We have some very cool donors in our world who have given some larger, direct grants to our grant cycle,” she said.

3 Rivers serves as a conduit for donors to support the causes they love during their lifetimes and beyond.

It operates its primary endowment, which helps fund grants to local nonprofits. Its territory covers Benton and Franklin counties.

It also manages endowments for individual entities, including Senior Life Resources (the Meals on Wheels people), Columbia Industries, the Reading Foundation and Women Helping Women. The list is constantly growing as area institutions see the value of turning over management of their own endowments to professionals.

Gesa Carousel of Dreams and Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership are the latest to establish endowments to support their respective programs.

For 3 Rivers, the community approach helps simplify the process for donors who want to help people in the community but are daunted by the need and the number of nonprofits.

By donating to the primary endowment of the grant fund, members of the community entrust professionals to determine where the need is greatest.

“We’re here to help people with long-term and even perpetual giving,” she said. “Donors have the opportunity to start up funds with their during their lifetime or planning for after. They can be assured their funds with us will do the good the donor wants it to do.”

The 2022 grants were awarded with the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in mind – organizations that combat domestic violence and sex trafficking, help the hungry, repair homes and support education, foster children and the arts.

Cameron was struck by the common theme among the requests from arts organizations. Forced to shut down because of the pandemic, they entered 2022 with a mission to resume their work.

“Full stop, their applications were about restarting,” she said.

It sent grants to Richland Players, Rude Mechanicals, Valley Theater, Mid-Columbia Mastersingers and others.

Cameron welcomes all prospective donors to reach out to 3 Rivers to see if it can help with their charitable needs.

“We love getting to know our donors, learning their stories and what led them to donate,” she said.

Go to: 3rcf.org.

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