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Support from the Oregon Community Foundation funds language programs, small business revitalization and local artists

Four Jefferson County organizations received a combined $60,000 in funding from the Oregon Community Foundation.

The Jefferson County Cultural Coalition, The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Warm Springs Community Action Team, The Tananáwit Warm Springs artist community and the Columbia River Institute for Indigenous Development all received grants as part of OCF's Arts and Culture Recovery Fund, designed to support historically under-funded artists and communities in Oregon.

The Oregon Community Foundation funds hundreds of projects throughout the state every year. As a nonprofit, they distribute funds to other nonprofits, community organizations and programs. In 2020, they distributed over $227 million in funds across Oregon.

Warm Springs Community Action Team

The Warm Springs Community Action Team received two $25,000 grants from OCF. The October grant funds are going towards funding their ongoing youth mural project, where youth create, paint, and maintain the murals located throughout Warm Springs.

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs received another grant from OCF in early November, which is part of OCF's Thrive Entrepreneurs grants. These grant funds will be used to bolster local businesses, help them set up ecommerce, and have allowed the tribe to hire a small business development specialist. They are responsible for bolstering small businesses in Warm Springs through business support, ecommerce assistance and entrepreneurship trainings.

"We're excited to be working toward the development of our small local businesses. When our businesses thrive, as a community we thrive too. It's a win-win," said Chris Watson, executive director of the Warm Springs Community Action Team.

TananáwitCOURTESY TANANÁWIT - Tananáwit hosts a store and community co-op for Warm Springs artists to showcase both traditional and modern native art. Artist Ellen Taylor sells prints of her art on the website and in the store.

Another arm of the WSCAT, Tananáwit also received funding from OCF, $5,000 from their Arts and Culture Recovery Fund, designated to supporting artist that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tananáwit is an artist community based in Warm Springs that supports artists through educational and economic development opportunities and builds knowledge and understanding of traditional and contemporary art of the Native Columbia River Plateau. The program began in 2013, and has since opened a physical shop and an ecommerce site to support artists in selling their art. These funds are being used to increase their ecommerce capabilities and support the store, allowing them to include more artists, giving them a path to artistic success. You can find their shop online at https://shop.warmspringsartists.org/

"When COVID hit, we couldn't really keep the shop open for safety, so we had to switch everything to ecommerce." Said Leah Guliasi, the Artisan's co-op program manager. "These funds really make it possible for use to expand that, and make sure the artists can continue to thrive."

Columbia River Institute for Indigenous DevelopmentCOURTESY CRIID - Columbia River Institute for Indigenous Development aims to teach youth the native Ichishkin language, and preserve it for future generations through classes and documentation.

Another program funded by OCF is the Columbia River Institute for Indigenous Development. CRIID has been working on a program to document, preserve and teach their native language, Ichishkin. Today, only ten Ichishkin speakers remain in Warm Springs. CRIID originally developed the program as an in-person teaching class, led by elders to spread the language and culture to youth. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed that plan.

"Our original programming was not intended to be online," said Misty Grenne, Chief Financial Officer of CRIID, "but we've had to shift. Many elders don't have the skill set or technology for online classes."

The funds will go towards supporting elders working from home and supporting them with the technical skills to teach language classes in an online format. Even as the COVID pandemic restrictions ease, elders often remain cautious, but the program continues forward towards language preservation.

"We are really trying to go back to traditional roots, and work with youth in person directly, we've met with elders that feel safe, and we then get to share the knowledge in many ways." Said Jefferson Greene, Executive Director of CRIID.

Jefferson County Cultural Commission

The Jefferson County Cultural Commission also received funding through OCF, along with all 36 county cultural coalitions in Oregon. The Jefferson County Cultural Commission was created by the commissioners in 2013, and distributed grants to various local organizations to foster cultural activities, learning and understanding. In the past, they've given grants to local school districts, the Jefferson County historical society, the Jefferson County Library District, Madras High School Key Club, and the Madras Saturday Market. They're still in process of distributing grants for 2022.

OCF's grants has funded hundreds of organizations across the state, this year ranging from all 36 county cultural commissions and all nine federally recognized tribes to over 100 art and culture non-profits.


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