Four Way Community Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports groups in Josephine and western Jackson counties of Oregon. Areas of interest are people with disabilities, education, the arts, animal welfare, historic sites, healthcare, social services and community projects.

FUNDING AREAS: People with disabilities, education, the arts, animal welfare, historic sites, healthcare, social services, community projects

IP TAKE: Four Way is a small, accessible foundation with a targeted local focus. Grants don’t usually exceed $10,000, but grantees can receive support for multiple years.

PROFILE: The Four Way Community Foundation is based in Grants Pass, Oregon, and has a history that dates back to the Grants Pass Rotary Club in the early 1970s. The foundation was incorporated in 1975 and made its first grant in 1983. The Portland-based firm of Ferguson Wellman manages and invests the foundation’s portfolio; the foundation hired an executive director in 2000. This home-grown foundation addresses community needs by supporting nonprofits and educational institutions. The name “Four Way” refers to the four tests Rotarians use to guide decisions: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Today, the foundation has over $5 million and focuses efforts on a range of causes, including disadvantaged people in need, education, the arts, animal welfare, historic sites, healthcare and other social services needs and community projects. Learn more how Ferguson Wellman invests its endowment and controls administrative costs here.

Grantees include Crossing Bridges Therapeutic, Rogue River Mural Society, St. Anne’s Catholic School, and Family Nurturing Center. Featured grantees include Siskiyou Smokejumper Museum and Joe’s Place. A full list of recent grantees is available by year here. Four Way also awards the Rose Douglas Grant to honor this career educator who had an intellectually disabled son. She left a trust to the foundation to support groups and programs that make life better for people with intellectual disabilities. This funder also awards scholarships to high school seniors.

There is one grant application process each year, and the grant cycle is open from February 1 to April 1. Only nonprofits in Josephine and western Jackson counties (Rogue River, Applegate/Ruch, and Gold Hill) are able to apply for grants. Applicants are typically notified about funding status in mid to late May. Four Way expects grant projects be completed by June 1 of the following year. Grant guidelines and applications are on the website.

As a general rule, this foundation does not support general operating expenses, emergency funding, or sectarian religious purposes. It does, however, provide matching-dollar grants, facility improvements grants, and community service consolidation projects grants.

The foundation gave around $2 million to local groups between 2000 and 2009, and between 2010 and 2016. Since the beginning, this funder has awarded over $4.6 million in grants to over 150 organizations. Most grants are between $2,500 and $6,000 each. The Grant Totals page contains information about current financial data.  

The foundation is managed by 12 volunteers who serve on the board of directors. There is one key staff member to know here, Walt Slater, who has been the executive director since August 2015. He has over 25 years of experience in planned giving, capital campaigns, grant writing, special events and non-profit volunteer and board development. General questions can be directed to at fourwaycommfdn@gmail.com or 541-474-9774.  

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