Philanthropy – 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 2024, the Oregon Country Fair (OCF) Bill Wooten Endowment Fund has awarded a total of $20,000 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 reflecting the Fair’s commitment to the arts, education, cultural diversity, peace, community building and the environment.
- Culture Jam
Fern Ridge youth will receive scholarships to attend the eight-day arts-based Culture Jam empowerment camp for teenagers held each summer at the Fair site. The camp helps each youth discover their talents in a supportive environment.
- Elmira Elementary School
Their “Shake A Leg Dance Project” will allow all K-5 students to learn about and practice different types of dance from a professional dancer/teacher. Students will explore moving with intention and staying connected to their bodies, and will have the opportunity to take risks and try new things.
- Lane Arts Council
For a reading/arts collaboration with the Fern Ridge Public Library consisting of three free workshops focusing on the intersection of science and art. The program will engage students creativity in their learning, connect more families to the summer reading program, deepen participants’ understanding of ecology and conservation, and provide high-quality arts experiences to children.
- Rural Arts 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 for elementary students who have no art teacher at their school. Older students will develop playing skills and socialize at the Center’s Ukulele Club.
- SMART – Start Making A Reader Today
Community volunteers will be trained and supported in helping students at Elmira and Veneta Elementary Schools develop a love of reading, with books representing diverse identities. Teachers with participating students consistently report increased reading engagement, enjoyment and confidence, which are all closely linked to overall literacy success.
- Veneta Elementary School
For “Bend It, Build It, Be Creative with Wire Sculpture,” in which students will create an animal or human inspired sculpture. Children will learn about anatomy, 3D design, and basic color theory, as well as how to use proportions, construct a frame, and a build a body around the frame. Students will employ problem solving, fine motor skills, dexterity, and hand-eye coordination.
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.
The annual Leslie Scott Imagine Grant Award is given to the funded project that best represents former OCF General Manager Leslie Scott’s contributions to the Fair, which include providing opportunities for youth, reaching out to our neighbors, and nurturing creativity. This year’s awardee is Elmira Elementary School.
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.