A Day to Dig Deep

A Day to Dig Deep
Skagit Valley Herald staff | Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 6:00 am

MOUNT VERNON — Seven Skagit nonprofits will vie next week for matching funds totaling as much as $105,000.

During the Skagit Day of Giving, on May 9, each organization will try to raise as much money as possible, and any amount up to $15,000 will be matched by longtime Skagit residents Stedem, Leighton and Susan Wood.

The free event, sponsored by the Skagit Community Foundation, runs from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, at the St. Joseph Center in Mount Vernon. It features educational booths, food and beverages, and live art created by local artists. Skagit Symphony, one of the nonprofits benefiting from the event, will play live music.

The other organizations participating are the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County, Friendship House, the Museum of Northwest Art, North Cascades Institute, the Padilla Bay Foundation and Skagit Land Trust.

Donations to nonprofits suffered during the recession but are starting to pick up along with the economy. Many organizations depend on matching grants from foundations to bolster donations; for example, Friendship House’s new community kitchen is being built thanks to matching funds from the Jack and Shirley McIntyre Foundation.

The Skagit Day of Giving match is the first event of its kind in the county.

“We’ve been involved with the Skagit Community Foundation since its early days and are pleased to have an opportunity to support the Community Foundation and all of the participating organizations that have worked so hard to make the Skagit Day of Giving a success,” Stedem Wood said in a statement from his family. “Like so many generous people, we’ve found the Skagit Community Foundation is the best way to support the greater Skagit Community and hope you’ll join us by supporting one or more of the nonprofit partners for the Skagit Day of Giving.”

A group of Anacortes residents started the Skagit Community Foundation in 1993 with endowments from various families. It now distributes grants to various groups and interests across the nation that make a positive difference in their communities, many of them here in Skagit County.

“By combining our efforts and resources, we can enhance the distinctive and indispensable services that our nonprofit organizations meet,” wrote Skagit Community Foundation board member Joan Penney in a message to potential donors.

For more information, call 360-419-3181 or visit SkagitCF.org.

How it helps

Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County serves more than 1,000 youths and their families each year at clubs in Anacortes, La Conner, Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley. Donations pay to keep the clubs’ doors open and maintain after-school and summer programs that include homework help, tutoring, learning games, volunteer projects, health and wellness education and physical activities. A donation could buy children nutritious snacks or go toward supplies for a service project.

Friendship House operates two emergency shelters, two transitional homes and a community kitchen that serves 4,500 meals to the public each month. It is currently building a new community kitchen that can serve twice as many meals and train homeless adults to work in the food-service industry. A $100 donation, for example, gives seven children a warm bed for the night and three hot meals each.

The Museum of Northwest Art is the only museum of its kind in the region and curates eight to 10 exhibitions each year by Northwest artists. It partners with six school districts to teach visual arts and offer class visits to the museum. Donations could go toward such class field trips, as well as the day-to-day operations of the museum.

North Cascades Institute offers experiential learning programs that connect young people to nature and inspire them to protect it. The institute offers summer expeditions, overnight stays and all-day field trips that teach science, leadership, public speaking and other skills. Donations could go toward scholarships or tuition reduction to the institute’s programs.

Padilla Bay Foundation supports preservation efforts, public education, research and capital improvement programs at the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The preserve is home to many plants and animals whose habitat and ecosystem the foundation works to maintain. About 7,000 students visit each year, and donations help keep those visits free.

Skagit Land Trust works to preserve natural areas in this area, be it by buying them or by helping landowners protect their working farms, ranches and forests. In its 21 years, Skagit Land Trust has protected 6,500 acres of land and 28 miles of shoreline. Donations could help protect wildlife habitat, assist landowners, or build trails and viewing areas so people can enjoy these places.

Skagit Symphony brings classical music to the valley, particularly to young people, and gives local musicians a place to play. Its season is six concerts, two of which are performed for about 1,200 Skagit County fifth-graders. All the orchestra members are volunteers. Donations help fund the two annual school concerts — for example, a $200 donation would pay for one of the buses that bring students to McIntyre Hall — and keep the other concerts affordable.

— Reporter Gina Cole: 360-416-2148, gcole@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Gina_SVH, facebook.com/byGinaCole

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