Philanthropy – Bill Wooten Endowment Fund
After suspending our grantmaking for a year due to the pandemic, we’re pleased to announced that we are resuming the OCF Endowment Fund’s grants to organizations serving youth in the Fern Ridge area.
Please see the Endowment Fund’s 2023 GUIDELINES for more information.
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 2022, 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.
The aspirational goal of 90 x 30 is to reduce child abuse and neglect 90% by 2030 and create safe, healthy, and nurturing places for all families and children. Their “Roots of Empathy” program, conducted in Fern Ridge area classrooms with Endowment grant support, is proven to reduce aggression, and nurture empathy in elementary students.
- Culture Jam
Fern Ridge area youth received scholarships to attend the 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.
- Lane Arts Council
Fern Ridge area children participated in a local “All About Art” immersive summer camp, which blends an exploration of ecology with exciting experiences in the visual and performing arts. Artwork produced by campers was featured during community showcase and gallery walk.
- Reality Kitchen
This grant supported a project featuring an Elmira High School graduate and published author’s return to the school to conduct an 12-week short-story writing workshop, with a focus on diversity inclusion. The resulting stories were combined in a special edition publication.
This collaborative project with Elmira High School provides 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.
Also, three grantees from last winter’s special cycle supporting funding projects addressing the impact of COVID-19 on children in the Fern Ridge area received grant supplements. They are: Fern Ridge Middle School, Rural Art Center, and Veneta Elementary School.
The annual Leslie Scott Imagine Grant Award is given to the funded project that best represents former Fair General Manager Leslie Scott’s contributions to the Fair, which included providing opportunities for youth, reaching out to our neighbors, and nurturing creativity. This year’s awardee is 90 x 30.
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.