Opinion

Community Fund grants enrich all of us

Beth Cordova
Island Forum

As the saying goes, “many hands make light work.” With a historically active population, Mercer Island is blessed by tremendous communal interest and pride. We speak out, pitch in, take part and come together. The venues are vast considering our relatively petite geography. Summer Celebration, civic groups and citizen commissions, not to mention secular and faith-based volunteer efforts, all highlight the myriad ways Islanders support their hometown.

Fundamental to these activities is the Mercer Island Community Fund. The Fund originated in 1985 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the founding of Mercer Island. As a 501.c.3 charitable organization, the Fund accepts and pools donations, redistributing them as grants to Island community groups for projects involving the arts, environment and conservation, education, community development, recreation, social service or health.

The historic, continuing goal of the Mercer Island Community Fund is to promote a healthy, vibrant community. Grant recipients have included coordinators of annual community events, non-profits recovering from traumatic storm damage, numerous Island parks and programs for schools, youth, families and elders. Over the years, specific beneficiaries have included the Senior Foundation of Mercer Island, Mercer Island High School (Career Day, numerous Music Department programs, Chess Club, parent education programs), D.A.R.E. — drug education, Ellsworth House, Friends of the Library, Mercer Island Arts Council, Mercer Island Boys & Girls Club, Mercer Island Fire Department CPR Program, Mercer Island Special Olympics, Mercer Island Strivers, Mercer Island Emergency Management, Mercer Island Youth and Family Services, student enrichment and conservation projects at the elementary schools, Mary Wayte Pool, language enrichment programs at the middle school, summer music and theatre in the Parks, and Youth Theater Northwest.

Fifteen volunteer Island residents make up the Community Fund Board of Directors. The board in turn works with the Seattle Foundation, which oversees the investment of donated money. Board members share a passion about nurturing our great community and bring their diverse professional and volunteer expertise to the job of ensuring prudent and thoughtful oversight of fund distribution.

Are you a member of an Island group or non-profit that has a dream project in need of fiscal support? The Mercer Island Community Fund invites both past and potential new grant recipients to make inquiries about grants for special projects that would benefit the Island’s residents. It is fundamentally easy to start the process: contact Liz Callahan, MICS Grants Chair at (206) 236-5442 for guidelines, questions or information.

For everyone else: What are you doing today? Would you like to make a huge difference with little effort? Consider it a fundamental of Island living: donate to the MI Community Fund. By doing so, you enrich your community’s resources. The ripple effect of hundreds of households doing just like you will be profound. As the saying goes, “many hands make easy work.” Kudos and thank you for making the MI Community Fund truly from the people for the people!

Please send your tax-deductible donation to the Mercer Island Community fund, P.O. Box 751, Mercer Island, WA 98040. Many employers will match donations. Matching gift forms should be submitted with your check. United Way contributions may be designated to the Mercer Island Community Fund.

Beth Cordova is the vice president of the Mercer Island Community Fund.

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