White River Hometown Fund announces grantees

The Fund had a record amount of grand money to aid local nonprofits and organizations feed, educate, and care for their communities.

The White River Hometowns Fund recently announced which local organizations and individuals will be receiving a slice of grant money this year.

The Fund, which is overseen by the White River Families First Coalition, found itself with a record $102,000 to dole out to various nonprofits and community projects, and listed the grantees earlier this month on its website.

Many of the larger grants went to very familiar organizations that have received funding in the past — $24,000 to the White River Community Outreach, $10,000 to Plateau Outreach Ministries, $5,000 to the Bonney Lake Food Bank (now known as GoodRoots Northwest), $14,000 to the Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation, and $20,000 to the Community Presbyterian Church.

But there were some newer organizations and projects that received some funds this year as well.

Another $3,000 went to Kids Place Northwest, a nonprofit that aims to teach kids various kitchen skills, from baking with preschoolers to culinary arts with teenagers.

And Mother 2 Many received $2,500 to continue its services at the Buckley and Orting skate parks; the nonprofit visits the cities on summer Wednesdays from 3 to 4 p.m. to serve food as well as give out winter wear and supplies for homeless residents. The nonprofit also delivers items to the White River School District for its student weekend backpack food program.

“M2M has been feeding the youth in Buckley for eight years this summer, and we are excited to continue to do so for as long as they will have us,” said program outreach manager Joann Wittler.

Other programs that were funded include the Chief Seattle Council, the town of Wilkeson, the Buckley Senior Center, the Carbonado Historical School District, Building Beyond the Walls, Beautify Buckley, and Friendly Horse Acres.


The White River Hometown Fund, which is managed by the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation and facilitated locally by the White River Partnership, began in 2018 by long-time Buckley resident Marydale Brooks; when she died that year, the Hometown Fund was set up as an endowment for the Buckley, Carbonado, and Wilkeson communities to support local projects and good works in the community.

Before the Fund was created, Brooks was known around town for small gifts, financial or otherwise, to various organizations, like the newly-started Buckley Youth Center in 2008.

But Julie Bevaart, who was a Youth Center board member at the time, wanted to do more.

“I want something that can affect everybody in the community, not just parents in the school district,” Bevaart recalled telling Brooks. “I want to be able to help the senior citizen who can’t afford their prescription, or I want to be able to reach out and do things for somebody up in Carbonado… I want to do more.”

According to Bevaart, Brooks barely hesitated at a $10,000 ask — and, within a year, the White River Community Outreach program started.

When Brooks was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, she decided to continue her good works through the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, which as the steward of the White River Hometown Fund, continues to fund the White River Community Outreach program and other local organizations to this day.

“And here, the fund has grown to [be] this huge,” Bevaart said. “It’s 10 times what it was, or more. It’s a pretty impressive thing.”