Local service groups receive $400K in gifts

By Scott Swanson
Lebanon Local
Four Lebanon organizations have been granted a total of $400,000 from the Portland-based Heatherington Foundation for Innovation and Education in Health Care, and FamilyCare Health.
The recipients are the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Santiam, the Soup Kitchen, Be Undivided and the Lebanon School District.
The donation is part of a $2 million contribution to community-based organizations in Portland and Lebanon.
Jeff Heatherington, president of the Heatherington Foundation and FamilyCare, said the donations in Lebanon range from $10,000 to $300,000. His father, the late Dr. Scott Heatherington, was an osteopathic physician.
The money is intended to provide aid to children via programs such as childcare, the backpack meals program and internet access for local schools, Jeff Heatherington said.
“We’re super excited about it,” said Kris Latimer, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club, which received $300,000, the largest single donation it has ever gotten, she said. “We were dumbfounded. Super surprised.”
The Lebanon Soup Kitchen received $20,000, which will be used to purchase food for the organization’s regular service of three hot meals a week and sack lunches on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Mike Baker, chair of the Soup Kitchen’s Board of Directors, said in an April 30 letter acknowledging the gift that the money “is especially helpful at this time when our community and the entire human community around the world is having to adjust to the current pandemic.”
Be Undivided, an outreach program conducted by local churches and directed by Valley Life Church Family Ministry Pastor Tyler Grove, received $10,000, Grove said.
“$10,000 was way more than we expected,” he said. “I talked to someone and I was thinking maybe we’d get $500 or $1,000. I thought that would be awesome. It will be a big benefit.”
The school district received $70,000, which will be used for improving schools’ access to the internet.
Lebanon’s connection with osteopathic medicine through the presence of COMP-Northwest was a factor in the foundation’s decision to donate money locally, spokeswoman Marsia Gunter said.
Lebanon has a special place in our hearts,” said Dr. Rob Richardson, chair of the FamilyCare board. “This community opened its doors to help bring the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific to Lebanon. The college was founded in Lebanon in 2011, and thrives here today.”
Latimer noted that in each of the nine years the medical school has been in Lebanon, first-year medical students have participated with the Boys & Girls Club as volunteers.
“These students bring life experience, mentorship, education and friendship to the children that we serve,” Latimer said. “They are also a very willing volunteer workforce, coming out to support our fundraising activities such as Spring Auction and Brewfest.”
FamilyCare was a Portland-based coordinated care organization serving Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas and Marion counties, which shut down last year following a dispute with the Oregon Health Authority over reimbursement rates the medical company received from the OHA, according to news reports from that time.
Heatherington founded FamilyCare Health in 1984 as a nonprofit organization that coordinated health benefits for approximately 115,000 Medicaid and Medicare members in northern Oregon, and led it as president for more than 30 years. FamilyCare Health created the Heatherington Foundation for Innovation and Education in Health Care in 2014 to recognize his decades of service.
“For 35 years, FamilyCare Health served more than 1 million Oregonians on the Oregon Health Plan until January 2018,” Richardson said.
“Since that time we shifted our mission to ‘Building Healthy Communities’ through both FamilyCare and our foundation. To date we have donated over $10 million to organizations in the state to improve the health of Oregon’s communities,” Richardson said.
“The coronavirus epidemic has presented all of us with unique challenges that will continue for some time. Our recovery from this virus depends on the strength of the community organizations that are serving our most vulnerable population. It is important we provide help where we can.”
Latimer said the Boys & Girls Club will likely use the funds “to help us find financial stability.”
That’s also what Grove said Be Undivided will do with the money it received. During the coronavirus shutdown it has been concentrating on a backpack program for needy families, though its primary focus is mentoring and academic support. He said the funding will help the program work toward sustainability.
“We want to focus on sustainability,” Grove said. “If you spend that money every week, feeding that many kids, it’s a lot of money that can go quick and you’re back where you started.
“Like the saying goes, we want to teach them to fish rather than just giving them a fish.”