Coming to Whatcom County: 30 ways to get neighborly

Whatcom County residents got creative in response to the Whatcom Community Foundation’s Project Neighborly.

Thirty local organizations received grants ranging from $360 to $5,000 for projects designed to increase connections and build trust this year among residents, according to a news release from the organization. Project Neighborly funds projects that develop a sense of community and promote neighborliness among people who might not otherwise connect throughout the rural and urban areas of Whatcom County.

“We’re thrilled with the response,” said Community Foundation CEO Mauri Ingram. “We asked for people’s best ideas for building connections and working together and we got more than 60 of them.”

Projects include a pen pal program between children and elders on Lummi Island; a citywide treasure hunt in Ferndale; “YIMBY” (“Yes, in my backyard”) dialogues devoted to affordable housing choices in Bellingham’s Happy Valley neighborhood; the creation of a community quilt in Deming, and portable block parties in Bellingham.

Countywide projects include The Bellingham Herald’s “Outside the Bubble” dinners pairing people with different experiences for a shared meal and conversation which The Herald will share publicly; rural-urban salmon recovery conversations; a Lummi Peacemaking Circle, and a collaborative weaving project called Indra’s net based on Buddhist principles symbolizing interconnections of people and place.

The 30 ideas were submitted by Beach Elementary School, The Bellingham Herald, Bellingham Public Library, City of Bellingham, Birchwood Elementary School, Whatcom Family & Community Network for Birchwood Neighborhood, Christ Episcopal Church, DNR for Concerned Whatcom County Residents, Friends of the Deming Library, East Whatcom Community Council, City of Ferndale, Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County, Sustainable Connections for Happy Valley Neighborhood Association, Horizon Middle School, Kendall Elementary School PTA, The Interfaith Coalition for Kids Need Books, Kulshan Community Land Trust, South Whatcom Fire Authority for Lake Samish Association, Lighthouse Mission Ministries, Lummi Cedar Project, Lummi Island Foundation for Education, Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, PLLAY (Programs to Lighten the Lives of Adults and Youth), South Fork Valley Community Association, Huxley College of the Environment, WWU, Whatcom County Library System Foundation, Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center, Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, Wild Whatcom and Y Squalicum Water Association Inc.