Money gambled away at Seven Feathers Casino Resort will help support Umpqua Community College students with small children, as well as 57 other causes in Southwest Oregon.
The Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation on Thursday handed out checks totaling $413,636 to nonprofit organizations from seven Oregon counties, including Douglas, which received a total of $66,500 across nine groups.
Among them was UCC. The college received $5,000 for child care scholarships for full- and part-time students. Susan Taylor, UCC’s grant development coordinator, said the scholarships will be critical in allowing students a gateway to higher education and a chance out of the “cycle of poverty.”
“A lot of people are surprised to learn that our average student is 36 years old,” she said. “And one-half of our students support a dependent at home.”
Twice a year, in January and June, the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation selects nonprofit groups to receive up to $10,000 in grants. The total awarded annually represents about 6 percent of gambling revenue from the casino.
Since 1997, the foundation has given $12.95 million in grants to nearly 1,200 nonprofit groups.
Representatives from most of this funding round’s 58 recipients were on hand Thursday afternoon for the semiannual foundation awards at the casino’s conference center. They each briefly discussed their organization’s mission and described where the funds will go.
With so many presenters, foundation Executive Director Carma Mornarich joked at the outset that if one went long on speech, their group would never again receive money from the foundation.
In a short speech, Mornarich said the Roseburg-based tribe looks well beyond local boundaries when it gives, in the spirit of the Cow Creek people’s nomadic heritage.
“It’s good to remember that hundreds of years ago, when Cow Creek giving was equally generous, there were no counties,” she said. “There was Cow Creek ancestral homeland in the approximate location and size of the seven counties we give to today.”
Other Douglas County grantees include St. Francis Community Soup Kitchen, which got $7,500 for operating costs; the Battered Persons’ Advocacy Center in Roseburg, which received $7,500 to assist with domestic violence screening and resources; and $10,000 for new computers for Camas Valley Charter School.
The $7,500 received by the South Douglas County Food Bank will help the group serve 350 needy families a month, said board chairman Chuck Johnson. “It will go to a very, very good use.”
The $3,000 headed to the Roseburg Dream Center — a homeless advocacy center modeled on the Los Angeles Dream Center — will go toward office computers said Executive Director Sylvia Abbe.
“This came just in time because mine crashed this week,” Abbe said.
• You can reach reporter Garrett Andrews at 541-957-4218 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.