by Justin Aufdermauer
During the Tillamook Chamber Community Awards Banquet at the end of January, I had the pleasure of introducing the Tillamook Chamber Community Foundation, a new organization that I’m extremely excited to bring to Tillamook County. Now I want to recap what I shared at the banquet for those of you who couldn’t make it — or anyone who simply wants to learn more.
The purpose of the Tillamook Chamber Community Foundation is to build and coordinate leadership, fundraising and capacity for projects that enhance the vitality of communities in Tillamook. The 501(c)3 nonprofit strives to change lives by building strong communities throughout Tillamook County. At its heart, the Foundation is a community catalyst, convener and champion.
Let me explain each of those ideas a little bit more directly.
The Foundation acts as a catalyst for bringing to life great ideas that can enhance our community through its Community Investment Initiative. This Foundation program will provide financial and social capital investments to empower community members to make their plans a reality. The initial focus will be items such as beautification efforts and public art; community crisis response; and enhanced playgrounds, sport areas and pet amenities in public spaces. The long-term goal for this is to build an endowment to provide ongoing financial and social capital investments to empower community members to make their plans a reality.
The Foundation serves as a convener by bringing together local nonprofits, governments and businesses to build synergy and capacity in our communities. Many of our local agencies and businesses are working toward the same vision, but often they’re working independently of each other. We know are stronger when we act as a single community, so the Foundation’s Stable Table will unify all of those efforts. This program will include quarterly roundtables of community partners, equitable partnerships among organizations and assistance for program implementation.
The Foundation becomes a champion for Tillamook County young adults. We want to empower future community and civic leaders by championing meaningful relationships, personal growth and community engagement. The Young Pros Tillamook network aids us in this effort by establishing a group for likeminded young professionals to connect, grow and engage together and with their community (more on that program soon). The Foundation also looks to establish coaching and mentorship programs for young leaders.
You might notice that a lot of the work the Tillamook Chamber Community Foundation focuses on is similar to the existing work of the Chamber. Both organizations focus on building strong community. But there are two big differences that I think are worth highlighting.
The first is that the Foundation is a community organization that covers Tillamook County, while the Chamber is a business and nonprofit membership organization. That means the Foundation has a larger reach. You don’t have to be a member of the Tillamook Chamber to benefit from the programs offered through the Foundation (though we of course hope you’ll consider membership into the Chamber, because there are lots of other great benefits there, too). Where the Chamber builds strong community so businesses can thrive, the Foundation builds strong communities to change lives throughout the county.
The second difference is that the Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization, whereas the Chamber is a 501(c)6. Both of these tax codes indicate nonprofit status, but the Foundation’s status is classified as a public charity and specifically makes donations to the Foundation tax deductible.
A huge part of the Foundation’s upstart is thanks to generous donations from the Mario and Alma Pastega Family Foundation and the Tillamook County Creamery Association. Both organizations provided match money, which helped us double the first $8,000 worth of donations from the community. Their generosity and support gave the Foundation a strong financial basis from which to grow.
All of the Foundation’s work boils down to one focused goal: We strive to change the lives of those we reach for the better. Are you ready to change lives with us?
If you’re interested in learning more about the Foundation or how to make a donation to the program, I encourage you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Chamber office at 503-842-7525.