Enumclaw Rotary helps Rainier Foothills finish new building renovations

A new home for the local nonprofit is hoped to be open and operational in March.

The Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation is nearing the start of a new chapter.

Moving into a new building has taken longer than the Enumclaw-based nonprofit’s pages originally hoped since Executive Director Sara Stratton announced they planned to move out of its Cole Street office into a former Mutual of Enumclaw building on Griffin Avenue in September 2022.

But, armed with a new $70,000 donation from the Enumclaw Rotary, RFWF has secured enough funds to complete renovations in the new building, which is to be called “The Foundation”. The total cost is about $525,000, which has been covered in part by other grants and a successful Holiday Fantasy gala fundraiser.

“I think each member and trustee of the Enumclaw Rotary Foundation has their own reason for choosing Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation as the recipient of our grant. I appreciate that RFWF serves local residents and provides benefits to many different groups: students, seniors, families and homeless, with basic needs like food, transportation and mental health counseling,” said Rotary President Wendy Walker. “RFWF has a long history of positive work in our community and is now on the brink of expanding to provide even more services in a more efficient manner.”

RFWF has wanted to move into a larger building in order to consolidate its programs.

At this time, the nonprofit uses kitchen space at the Enumclaw Senior Center for its student backpack and the senior hot meals programs, and has to utilize separate storage space.

But no longer — its new location (1304 Griffin Avenue) will have enough space to combine all of its services under one roof.

Just in time, too, because the RFWF did so well during its annual Holiday Fantasy Gala fundraising (a record $293,000) that the senior meal program can double the amount of people it can serve (from 35 to 70) and even start a Buckley route.

Additionally, the RFWF Care Van is pushing outs its services into Bonney Lake.

And finally, with a $60,000 grant from Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, the nonprofit will be expanding its mental health services so students and their families can receive services during school breaks.

The Enumclaw Rotary grant in itself has a backstory; back in 2017, former Rotary President Mike Nelson started “Project 2022”, where the Rotary set aside a chunk of money every year until they picked a grantee.

Executive Director Sara Stratton said that she hopes to move office operations into the new building in March.

“However, as with any major renovation, it’s a bit of a moving target,” she added.