Rainier Foothills Foundation announces move to Griffin Avenue

Three-quarters of a year after the initial announcement, the Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation is finally moving into a new space.

The local nonprofit, which has served Enumclaw, Buckley, and Black Diamond for the last four decades, has never had a space of its own. Most recently, its current office space on Cole Street is rented from Sound Publishing, which owns The Courier-Herald.

But with a $50,000 grant from T-Mobile, awarded to the RFWF last September as a part of the cellphone carrier’s Hometown Grant program, Executive Director Sara Stratton finally had enough funds to make the move.

Negotiations between RFWF and Mutual of Enumclaw finally concluded last week, and the nonprofit plans to occupy 1304 Griffin Avenue — formally a storage building for the local insurance company — by the end of this year. The lease signed with Mutual of Enumclaw is for 10 years.

With their limited space on Cole Street, RFWF had to rely on other buildings and organizations to cook hot meals for seniors, fill backpacks with food for local students, and serve its weekly Full Bellies meals.

But the new building, to be dubbed “The Foundation”, will be large enough to house all RFWF’s programs under one roof.

“We are so grateful for the community partners who have shared their spaces over the years. From Calvary Presbyterian Church to the Enumclaw Senior Center, our programs wouldn’t have been possible to this point without these partnerships,” said RFWF Program Coordinator Deanna Kuzaro in a press release. “Having our own space with unlimited use of a commercial kitchen, though, will not only improve our efficiency but actually double the number of neighbors in need who we can serve. We’ll be able to expand our service area to better reach neighboring communities and fill outstanding gaps in community solutions.”

Stratton said renovation work will begin straight away, and while the move is much cause for celebration, a piece of Enumclaw’s history will be lost.

Many who have walked past 1304 Griffin Avenue noticed the large mural depicting Enumclaw history. While RFWF and the Courier-Herald don’t know who originally painted the mural, local Linda Petchnik has been touching it up over the years. However, it has deteriorated to the point where the local artist cannot be brought back to life, and RFWF and Mutual of Enumclaw have agreed to remove it from the building.

Not all is lost, though, and a large photo of the mural will be displayed inside the Foundation.