Philanthrophy – Bill Wooten Endowment Fund
The Endowment Fund is named in memory of Bill Wooten, the Fair’s visionary, community-minded co-founder Bill Wooten. Endowment Fund grants tangibly represent the fair’s deep appreciation to our neighbors in the Fair’s home community. Endowment Fund grants reflect the spirit of the Fair by supporting youth-centered projects in the Fern Ridge community that:
• promote the arts, education, and cultural diversity;
• work toward creating a peaceful, just, and environmentally sustainable society;
• build community through collaborative efforts.
In 2020, The Oregon Country Fair (OCF) Bill Wooten Endowment Fund awarded a total of $16,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations serving youth in the Fair’s neighboring Fern Ridge communities. This funding tangibly represents the Fair’s deep appreciation of our home community. Endowment Fund supported projects reflect the Fair’s commitment to the arts, education, cultural diversity, peace, community building and the environment.
- Culture Jam
Fern Ridge area youth will receive scholarships to attend the eight-day arts-based Culture Jam empowerment camp for teenagers held each August at the Fair site. Together with a dynamic group of adult artists, performers, nature educators and cultural change-makers, fifty-five youth discover their power to live creative, engaged lives and change the world for the better.
- Elmira Elementary School
Students will design and create their own flags, after studying other cultures use of fiber arts to enhance their communities. The resulting class buntings combining individual student flags will be hung at the school — representing how each student contributes to the beauty of the community.
- Fern Ridge Middle School
Fern Ridge’s commitment to engaging students in their music program has paid off with 99 young musicians now in band classes; however, there are not enough instruments. Their grant will be used to purchase additional band instruments, and replace aging instruments that are often in need of repair.
- Lane Arts Council
Fern Ridge area children will be able to participate in a local “All About Art” immersive summer camp, which blends an exploration of ecology with exciting experiences in the visual and performance arts. Artwork produced by campers will be showcased during a community showcase and gallery walk.
- Rural Art Center
The Crow-Applegate-Lorane School District depends on the Center to provide after school, multi-cultural art instruction on shortened school days—which is especially valuable since there is no art teacher at the elementary school. Older students will develop playing skills and socialize at the Center’s Ukulele Club.
- Veneta Elementary School
An artist-in-residence will teach all students about the science and method behind tie-dying. They will take home the wearable works of art that they create and contribute to a “Strolling Art Gallery” that will take place during parent-teacher conferences.
This collaborative project with Elmira High School will provide an arts residency focusing on creative writing/spoken word performance. Teachers welcome Wordcrafters’ residencies for their ability to engage students and enlarge their writing experience and skills – skills that help build school success. This grantee was recognized with the annual Leslie Scott Imagine Grant Award.
The Fair also makes grants to social service agencies and nonprofit organizations in Oregon through both the Jill Heiman Vision Fund and the Board of Directors’ Donations Fund. To date, the Fair’s total philanthropic giving exceeds $1.5 million dollars.
Philanthropy was the catalyst that began the Oregon Country Fair, has been essential to developing its long-lived success, and will provide opportunities that further its mission into the future.