REDMOND, OR -- REACH, which provides before- and after-school programs for Redmond-area students, is working toward becoming financially self-sufficient. The nonprofit was recently awarded two grants, and is in the running for a third. But, the organization is also trying to implement a unique funding model, using a for-profit buisness to pump money into the nonprofit.
Executive Director Jenny O’Keefe says the goal is to eventually become less dependent on community donations. "With the support of the Deschutes County Commissioners and their discretionary grant, we have purchased a small business that we will begin operating sometime in the next two to three months." The $2,500 grant from the county allowed REACH to purchase a local Stretch-N-Grow franchise, which focuses on fitness and wellness for kids, age 18-months to pre-K. O’Keefe tells KBND News proceeds from that business will go back into the nonprofit, while providing REACH employees an opportunity to work full time, "Our staff will be going in to preschools and daycares to teach fitness classes on site, for the little guys."
She says there's still a need for private donations and support, though. O'Keefe hopes the community will rally to help REACH win a $25,000 grant from Columbia Bank. The Redmond branch manager nominated REACH for a regional award, as part of the bank's 25th Anniversary celebration. O'Keefe says it's one of 12 finalists in the contest, "It will be an online voting competition, beginning October first. You can vote once a day; similar to the Trailblazers/Moda Health competition we were all so excited about several months ago, so I know we can do it. We have the community support." The money would go a long way to help close the $80,000 funding gap O'Keefe says they're facing this year, which is less than in recent years, but still a big hurdle. "In addition to that, St. Charles has chosen to award us with a $10,000 grant, through their 100 Year Anniversary celebration. And then, Dutch Bros has selected REACH as the recipient for their Buck For Kids, in Redmond, on the 29th of September. So, between all of these three things, that gap is basically going to get cut in half."
UPDATED Oct. 1 to include a link to the online voting site for Columbia Bank.