REDMOND, OR -- Redmond’s Senior Center was nearly forced to close, 18 months ago, due to a lack of stable leadership and funding. Now, the nonprofit is working to solidify its programs.
Interim Director Ted Viramonte says an advisory committee, which he calls the "dream team," helped create a new strategic plan, with some big goals, "Bring in a permanent Executive Director that knows nonprofits, to help make sure that this is a viable senior center for years to come. We’re celebrating our 70th anniversary; we’d like to see it go on another 70 years." That advisory committee is comprised of some well-known names, including former Mayor and County Commissioner Alan Unger, current Mayor George Endicott, City Councilor Jon Bullock, Parks and Recreation Director Katie Hammer and former City Manager Jo Anne Sutherland. Viramonte says the group is committed to seeing the Redmond Senior Center thrive because they recognize its importance to the community.
He estimates they need $80,000 - $130,000 to achieve their goals. Redmond's City Council will consider a $13,428 Community Development Block Grant for the Senior Center at Tuesday's Council meeting. Viramonte says Mayor Endicott and Councilor Bullock did not join the advisory committee until after the grant application process began.
And, he's working on more funding opportunities. The Senior Center was turned down for an Oregon Community Foundation grant at the end of last year. But, Viramonte says that is again a possibility, "They came out and did a site visit, they listened to what our new strategies were, and they’ve re-invited to submit a grant by next week. And, we’re going to do that, and that will mitigate a lot of the gap funding that we have to have."
Viramonte doesn't want the permanent job. He tried to retire once, and says he'd like to hand things over to someone who can make a greater commitment. He hopes the new money and leadership will allow the nonprofit to develop additional public and private partnerships, and create new programs. But, he says, it's not about getting bigger. He tells KBND News, "We’re looking to solidify and to have professionals, rather than elderly board members, be the ones to ensure that happens, really [that] will put the Senior Center in a good position, we’re thinking."