Whatcom Magazine

Whatcom foundation plays quiet role building community

Whatcom Community Foundation brought together donors, the city of Ferndale, and library supporters interested in building a new Ferndale Public Library building. The library’s grand opening was in November 2014.
Whatcom Community Foundation brought together donors, the city of Ferndale, and library supporters interested in building a new Ferndale Public Library building. The library’s grand opening was in November 2014. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Whether facilitating large projects, such as the new Ferndale Library, or giving scholarships to more than 100 local high school seniors every year, Whatcom Community Foundation helps individuals and organizations thrive.

“Our mission is to promote philanthropy in the community,” says Mauri Ingram, president and CEO. “We want everybody to see themselves as philanthropists.”

We’re successful if we walk away and everyone else feels like they did it.

Mauri Ingram, president and CEO, Whatcom Community Foundation

Major projects are but one part of the foundation’s work. To create the new Ferndale library, for example, the foundation helped bring together donors, the city of Ferndale, and library supporters.

“We’re successful if we walk away and everyone else feels like they did it,” Ingram says.

Throughout the foundation’s downtown office and in all of its materials, a simple phrase states their vision: “Giving here matters.” The foundation strives to carry out that vision by looking for creative ways to contribute to the community. The foundation’s services include grants to nonprofits, training for personnel at nonprofits, and investment management for endowments.

Community foundations are charitable organizations. Anyone can contribute to a foundation, which then uses the donations, or investment income from permanent funds, to make community grants.

Relationships are at the heart of all we do.

Pamela Jons, program director, Whatcom Community Foundation

Over the past two decades, Whatcom Community Foundation has distributed more than $20 million in grants and scholarships, making it one of the most active grant-makers among the more than 700 community foundations in the country.

“We’re trying to simplify giving and amplify the impact,” says Pamela Jons, program director. “Relationships are at the heart of all we do.”

Funders of the local foundation range from individual donors to major organizations, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Whatcom Community Foundation acts as a matchmaker between individual donors and organizations and projects, addressing both long-term challenges and crises of the moment. Contributions to the foundation cover many facets of community life, from the arts and the environment to education, health, and social needs.

And it’s not just community members who benefit from the foundation’s work.

“People walk out of here as donors ecstatic about what they’re able to give,” Ingram says.

Whatcom Community Foundation

Address: 1500 Cornwall St., Suite 202, Bellingham

Phone: 360-671-6463

Online: whatcomcf.org

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