DONORS MAKING A DIFFERENCE…Cowlitz Tribal Foundation

The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation recently awarded the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools a $125,000 grant which will be used to provide direct support for students and families living in poverty as well as program support for early learning, mentoring, social and emotional health supports, enrichment and engagement activities.

The grant came from the Cowlitz Tribal Foundation Clark County Fund, which is an extension of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe.

“The Cowlitz Indian Tribe is honored to be in a position to support our community through the Cowlitz Tribal Foundation Clark County Fund. We are committed to education and look forward to learning how the grant was used in serving students. We honor your good work and are happy to work together in serving others,” said Timi Marie Russin, Cowlitz Tribal Foundation Manager.

VPS serves approximately 22,000 students in 37 schools and programs. Over 50 percent of students are from families with incomes that quality them for the free or reduced-price meal program (a federal poverty indicator). More than one-thousand VPS students have experienced homelessness this school year.

The tribe’s investment will play a critical role in providing students with basic needs such as housing and utility assistance, medical and vision referrals, clothing, food, and other supports. The Foundation for VPS will also continue its investment in engagement, enrichment, mentoring, and social and emotional Health programs which are also key elements that allow students to thrive. Another area of investment is Family and Community Engagement, including the VPS program, “The Plaza”, which offers English language classes, student homework assistance, and help navigating and accessing other community supports. The Plaza provides a space for new community members to integrate and stabilize while sharing aspects of their culture of origin with others.

In the past three years the Cowlitz Tribal Foundation Clark County Fund has contributed over $325,000 in support of the Foundation’s mission. Since 2017, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe has donated approximately $28 million within Clark County and the state of Washington as a whole.

“Building intentional relationships and community has become a cornerstone of the Foundation’s work. We want to be active collaborators and when we seek funding from partners, our hope is that their gift does not become merely transactional. Instead, we want it to be an invitation to invest in the youth of our community together, with one another,” says Jenny Thompson, Foundation for VPS Executive Director. “That is the beauty of the partnership we have been building with the Cowlitz Tribal Foundation. Their generosity and investment in the Foundation is more than a transaction; we are building community with them. As our relationship strengthens and grows it will be exciting to see where our collaborations will take us.”