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Local Nonprofit Organizations Recognized

Three Clallam County organizations – the Sequim Food Bank,  The Clallam County YMCA, and The Rainforest Players of Forks – received the first ever Nonprofit Excellence Awards to be made in our community.  The awards were presented May 20, 2016, at the 3rd biennial Alliance for Leadership Programs (ALP) Conference by Claire Bishop of the Benjamin N. Phillips Fund of the Seattle Foundation and Sue Ellen Riesau of Olympic View Community Foundation (OVCF) in Sequim.

The $750 cash awards were given to each of the three organizations for Excellence in Collaboration with other organizations, which allowed each agency to make a greater impact in their respective communities than could have been made if they’d attempted to go it alone.

Clallam County’s Shining Stars

In presenting the awards, Bishop, a consultant to grant making foundations said, “Every once in a while we come across shining stars in our work.  They are particularly evident in Clallam County.  These projects represent the combination of heart and soul and brain to produce important buildings, services or actions that benefit everyone in Clallam County.  Each of the awards for this year’s conference exemplify the very best of Clallam County.”

In 2015, with a $3,000 grant from OVCF, the Sequim Food Bank conducted a survey of client needs and use of its services. The survey revealed that many clients desired more fresh fruit and vegetable options.  That morsel of information led to the formation of the Sequim Dungeness Valley Healthy Communities Coalition, a community-wide effort to create a healthier place to live.  The Coalition recently launched its Ready, Set, Go! 5210 initiative to promote healthy lifestyle choices for children, youth, and families.  5210 encourages everyone to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, spend 2 hours or less of recreational screen time each day, participate in 1 hour or more of physical activity every day, and aim for 0 drinks with added sugar daily.

Coalition participants include the Clallam County Department of Health & Human Services, Olympic Medical Center, Molina Health Care, the City of Sequim, the Sequim School District, Boys and Girls Club of the Olympic Peninsula, Nourish Restaurant, the Shipley Center, and Dungeness Valley Health & Wellness Clinic.

Aquatic Recreation Center Rescued

Clallam County YMCA was recognized for its efforts to save the Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center (SARC) from permanent closure.  Len Borchers, Acting CEO, and YMCA staff and board members spent hundreds of hours meeting to establish how the YMCA business model could be used to reopen this facility.  The collaboration includes Clallam County Commissioners who approved a $731,705 agreement with Clallam County Parks and Recreation District 1, which will use the Opportunity Fund money to replace an air handling unit, a critical piece of equipment without which any plan would have been compromised.  And, Olympic Medical Center will lease 6000 square feet for their Cardiac Rehab program.

The SARC will reopen as the Sequim YMCA under the management of the Olympic Peninsula YMCA this fall.

Rainforest Players Get New Performing Center

Rainforest Players of Forks collaborated with The City of Forks to build the Rainforest Arts Center (RAC) after the original arts center housed in the former Odd Fellows Hall and the adjacent building were destroyed in an early morning fire Oct. 29, 2012.

City Attorney, Rod Fleck and Stephen Kriebel, Treasurer of Rainforest Players were the key players in establishing the path to build a state-of-the-art facility. They worked equally hard to create the opportunities, find the funding to secure the property, recruit the University of Washington Architecture Department for several design options and raise more than $300,000 in grants and donations. The new RAC is a beautiful facility and is an asset for the entire community.

“In a sector that’s often low on resources, collaboration can lead us to solve problems in new, more cost-effective ways,” said Riesau. “Today, foundations look for ways to increase the impact their grant dollars make in communities and reward collaboration among nonprofit organizations, public/private sector partnerships, and other creative alliances.”

A Growing Collaborative Partnership

ALP – Alliance for Leadership Programs – is a collaborative partnership between Clallam County nonprofit professionals and the Benjamin Phillips Fund of the Seattle Foundation, the primary funder.  The vision for ALP was that of Claire Bishop and the Advisory Committee to the Phillips Fund; the idea being that the folks who make up the Clallam County nonprofit sector work awfully hard and deserve recognition, as well as opportunities for nonprofit strengthening and best practices training,  which often just aren’t accessible given our geographic and economic barriers.

The ALP Conference is coordinated by Olympic View Community Foundation with supplemental funding from the Medina Foundation and the First Federal Community Foundation.  This year’s Conference held  May 20, 2016 at NatureBridge on Lake Crescent was a resounding success.  Eighty nonprofit professionals and volunteers representing 39 nonprofit organizations attended a day-long session of fundraising training from national nonprofit trainer and author, Andy Robinson.

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