Project Neighborly grants will support Villa Santa Fe residents and district families

The Whatcom Community Foundation (WCF) is an impactful organization, supporting a healthy community in Whatcom County. Their community vision states “everyone who lives here thrives” and when it comes to the funding support they give to all corners of the county, it couldn’t be more accurate.

In recent years, the WCF supported the completion of the Central Kitchen in Bellingham Public Schools with a $1 million investment, and funded salad bar installations in every school cafeteria. This support will have long-term benefits for every child in the district.

At their annual Celebration of Giving in April 2019, the Foundation announced their grants in the upcoming year, many which will again directly benefit the students and families of Bellingham Public Schools.

The activities and programs highlighted in the list below will be funded directly to the organizations or will flow through the Bellingham Public Schools Foundation. The projects listed are part of the WCF Project Neighborly  grants or of the Youth Philanthropy Project grants. The Youth Philanthropy awards are chosen by Whatcom County high school students who gain invaluable experience collaborating and being part of the decision-making process.

This year, the Youth Philanthropy Committee was comprised of 13 students from district high schools. From Sehome High School they are Gabe Hallett, grade 12; Campbell Lund, grade 12; Celia McDowall, grade 12; Owen Richey, grade 12; and Gus Ringo, grade 11.  From Squalicum High School they are Miles Bartlett, grade nine; Charlotte Bosche, grade 11; Jackson Boyle, grade 10; Rolando Gonzalez, grade 12; Sophia Korsmo, grade 10; Thanh Nguyen, grade 12; Pavanjeet Parmar, grade 11; and Grace Schumock-Cowan, grade 11.

We are grateful to the Whatcom Community Foundation for funding the following:

  • Alderwood Elementary School PTSA ($4,200) for the Alderwood Community Connection which will welcome and celebrate the diversity of students through inclusive gatherings and events;
  • Shuksan Middle School ($5,000) for building community by beautifying the Shuksan cafeteria with a collaborative work of art that celebrates their student diversity and promotes healthy eating;
  • Building community events at Villa Santa Fe ($4,850) through three dinners and activities that connect residents together and build positive relationships;
  • The World Peace Game in Bellingham ($3,000) to train high school students to teach children the work of peace through an interactive game;
  • Bilingual dance fitness in Birchwood neighborhood ($3,400) to strengthen school to community connections through multi-cultural, music-based, dance exercise;
  • Columbia Parent Association Inclusion Book Club ($460) to read and discuss books on diversity, equity and inclusion, and then pass the books on to other parent teacher organizations in the district;
  • The Whatcom Youth Pride parade and festival 2019 ($5,000) designed for LGBTQ youth and families across Whatcom County. The date of this year’s event is June 9;
  • Bioluminescence Paddles with Bellingham Bay Community Boating Center ($440) to introduce underserved youth to marine ecology and environmental issues (Youth Philanthropy Project);
  • Soil Stewards through Common Threads Farm ($2,500) to regenerate soil ecosystems at 21 school gardens (Youth Philanthropy Project);
  • Garden of the Salish Sea (Pacific Shellfish Institute) sixth grade ocean acidification pilot unit ($2,475) to share hands-on science to reduce carbon footprint, cultivate healthy watershed habits and foster stewardship of our natural resources (Youth Philanthropy Project);
  • Western Washington University Foundation ($2,500) to increase equity for teens preparing for careers that help the environment by helping low-income high school students to access environmentally-focused college-level courses (Youth Philanthropy Project); and
  • Wild Whatcom ($2,085) for Empower program at Sterling Meadows which addresses the nature deficit often present in underserved communities. Empower will also train Latinx high school students interested in environmental education (Youth Philanthropy Project).


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