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Deschutes County United Way awards $310,000 to organizations helping communities.

A total of 26 Central Oregon nonprofits, some of which serve Jefferson County, have been collectively awarded $310,000 from United Way of Deschutes County as part of the organization's annual grantmaking process.

"Although our name is Deschutes County, we are region-wide and serve all of Central Oregon, including Jefferson and Crook counties," said Diana Fischetti, director of development and marketing for United Way.

Every year, the local United Way launches a community campaign to raise funds that are used to address the most pertinent, unmet needs of individuals and families in the community. Funds raised through the process stay local to help friends and neighbors and to address some of the biggest issues affecting the region, improving lives and creating lasting change.

"The vast majority of the programs that we fund through our grantmaking serve all three counties (with the exception of La Pine Community Kitchen), including the Meals on Wheels program. In addition, the TRACEs partnership, for which we are the backbone agency and on the steering committee, engages agencies and community members of all three counites, as well as the Warm Springs Indian Reservation," she said.

United Way supports local, direct-service nonprofits that focus on a wide range of human health and welfare issues, from basic needs to empowerment, through grantmaking that provides direct financial aid to these programs and services. Nonprofit organizations that receive grants from United Way through that process are called Community Impact Partners.

Grant recipients include organizations or programs that are focused on building resilience in Central Oregon. One such program is Central Oregon 211 Info. Similar to the 911 emergency phone number, 211 is a one-stop connection to local services, from utility assistance, food, housing, child care, after school programs, elder care, crisis intervention, and more.

When someone dials 211 from anywhere in Central Oregon, they are connected with a highly-trained call specialist who is skilled in needs assessment and can provide referrals to resources. Every day, call specialists help callers find assistance for complex issues such as financial problems, substance abuse, and suicide prevention, as well as for simpler issues such as finding volunteer opportunities and donation options.

Council on Aging of Central Oregon's Meals on Wheels program is another United Way grantee. Meals on Wheels enhances the quality of life of homebound individuals by providing home-delivered nutritious meals, personal contact, and related services. Many of those served by the program are seniors and many live in rural areas.

In recent months, the importance of resources for seniors facing depression has come into the spotlight. For years, the Council on Aging of Central Oregon has provided that vital service to many members of the community.

Other grant recipients include: Back Door Cafe, Bethlehem Inn, Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend, Camp Fire of Central Oregon, CASA, Cash Oregon, Central Oregon Veterans Ranch, Council on Aging Central Oregon, Family Resource Center of Central Oregon, Friends of the Children, Healing Reins Therapeutic Riding Center, Healthy Beginnings, Heart of Oregon Corps, J Bar J (Big Brothers Big Sisters), J Bar J (Cascade Youth & Family Center), J Bar J (Grandma's House), KIDS Center, LaPine Community Kitchen, Latino Community Association, MountainStar Family Relief Nursery, NeighborImpact Food, NeighborImpact Housing, Saving Grace, Oregon Children's Foundation – SMART, Thrive Central Oregon, and Central Oregon 211 Info.

United Way board member Melanie Grandjacques, who headed the Community Impact Committee, which was made up of 29 local community member volunteers, who reviewed the grant proposals and made funding award decisions, commented, "It was heartening to read proposals from so many wonderful community organizations that devote all their waking hours to improving the lives of members of our community. At the same time, it was disheartening to have insufficient resources to fully fund every worthy request. We focused the resources we had on programs that address the impacts of childhood trauma and focus on developing resilience."

United Way of Deschutes County is leading a communitywide social movement to build resilience in individuals, families, and the Central Oregon community, and to increase awareness and decrease impacts of childhood trauma.

For 67 years, the organization has focused on health, education, and financial stability as the foundation of wellbeing and opportunity, along with basic needs like food, shelter, and health care.

As the nonprofit continues to focus on those causes, it is also working upstream to tackle childhood trauma: the root cause of many problems currently faced by so many in Central Oregon. To learn more about United Way of Deschutes County, visit www.deschutesunitedway.org or call 541-389-6507.


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