Each winner selects a local nonprofit in Marion or Polk counties to receive a $1,000 grant. Winners also receive a basket of locally produced items that celebrate our region and support area businesses.
Please see the stories below to learn about the individuals who received Maps Community Awards in 2021!
2021 Maps Community Award Winners
Give-Back Story: “Kim is the Executive Director of St. Francis Shelter, an amazing organization that provides transitional housing to families. I am inspired not just by the work she does, but the compassion she shows to her clients. Never judging them but showing them every day that they have someone fighting for them and their children.”
What motivates you to help your community? Honestly? My mom. She raised my siblings and I to have an awareness that the world is so much more than our small part of it, and that not everyone has the same advantages and resources. Through the community service projects I experienced while growing up, I cultivated a heart for helping others and for service to the community in which I belong.
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: St. Francis Family Housing
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? I truly believe in our work. Each day, I am privileged to witness the resilience and the strength of the hardworking families we serve, as they work to secure safe, permanent housing for themselves and their children.
Give-Back Story: “Dean organized an effort to start the Dallas Youth Garden in 2013. Dean met with community leaders and received donations, worked long hours to prepare the soil, build fencing and a shed, and hired students to work May-September. It’s many hours of work, but a labor of love for Dean. Dean inspires us all through his hard work and obvious enjoyment.”
What motivates you to help your community? I am inspired by the interns who work at the Dallas Youth Garden. For many, it is their first job and their first time spent in a garden. I learn a lot from them.
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Dallas Youth Garden
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? The Dallas Youth Garden provides paid summer jobs to Dallas High School students who receive job training and learn about sustainable gardening methods. In its nine years, the program has hired over 85 students and donated over 27,000 pounds of produce.
Give-Back Story: “Serenity has a huge heart for people on the margins, especially the hungry. Serenity and her husband started Jubilee Food Pantry in the garage of their neighborhood home in Hubbard. Jubilee Pantry has become a trusted place in the community to find food, but also to learn about needed resources and to receive hospitality.”
What motivates you to help your community? We love to know our neighbors and offer what we can to help those in need. Our hope is in our faith which has shown us how to live and love others no matter who they are or where they come from. We are inspired by so many who have come along beside us and partnered with us in the efforts to make this world a better place!
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: North Marion Services Team
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? North Marion Services Team has become a wonderful place for many of us who are trying to help our communities to collaborate, help one another and meet the needs faster and more efficiently.
Give-Back Story: “Kate lives and breathes community, entrepreneurship and civic engagement. She is involved in everything good that is happening in Independence: helping individuals and businesses thrive, creating shared community through her coworking business, Indy Commons, and ensuring that downtown Independence remains healthy and vibrant in her leadership of the Independence Downtown Association. Kate and her 3-legged dog Winston are icons of the community and can often be found checking in on businesses on Main St. asking how they are and what they need to be successful.”
What motivates you to help your community? At my heart, I am a community builder. From my earliest days growing up in a tiny timber town to my career as a landscape architect and planner, I have seen how empowering it can be when we feel a sense of connection to our towns and to one another. It can change lives and help us grow – for the better.
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Indy Idea Hub
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? I selected Indy Idea Hub because they provide business development services to create quality local jobs, build sustainable communities, create a culture of entrepreneurship in the community, and inspire the next generation of business owners through mentoring and investing.
Give-Back Story: “Kaileigh is inspiring because of her strong desire to make our community better. Even though she already works full-time as an environmental educator, when she saw how many people in our community struggle to afford basic services like diapers, she jumped into action. In July 2020 Kaileigh started the nonprofit Salem Cloth Project to provide free cloth diapers to those in need. In this year alone Salem Cloth project has given out over 1,000 diapers to 50 families."
What motivates you to help your community? I've always felt a strong desire to take care of people and the planet. I believe when we focus on building a strong, resilient community, we can all thrive and that is what is constantly driving me to contribute to our community.
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Salem Cloth Project
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? As a new non-profit that was started just before the pandemic, we have received an unexpected number of requests for cloth diapers, mainly from families who have lost their jobs during COVID and are struggling to afford the expense of diapers. This money could provide 10 families with a free cloth diaper kit, saving them each over $2,000 in disposable diaper expenses and giving them a small amount of financial relief.
Give-Back Story: “The community of Aumsville had no local pantry for a few years until Rocky approached Marion-Polk Food Share in 2016 with the hopes of opening a pantry and filling a need. Rocky works tirelessly to keep her food pantry a warm, welcoming place full of food. She strives to meet people where they are at. She is full of life and is always happy to share a smile or hug."
What motivates you to help your community? I am compelled to be a liaison for healthy living in our community because I come from a background of food insecurities myself. Being able to provide basic needs like food and other items/services is, in fact, the greatest honor of my life. There is no other single calling which speaks to my heart or which I could ever imagine being more of a perfect fit than being able to serve my neighbors in this capacity.
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Mama's Community Market
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? Mama’s Community Market (a no pay shopping experience) provides food for more than 1,600 families each month. Through the devastating wildfires, ice storms and Covid-19 related economic challenges, our numbers are increasing dramatically. Being able to offer healthy, safe food choices for community members is a dream come true.
Give-Back Story: “Pastor Frank moved to Monmouth 30 years ago. He makes sure those who need counseling can be seen and heard, spends time with a homebound man, drives people to support meetings, volunteers with child services, arranges free dinners once a month, and delivered food during the pandemic. He is a model citizen; helpful, caring, and involved.”
What motivates you to help your community? I have lived among people that are not loved, have little opportunity to survive, while often they are referred to as 'those people' and simply pushed aside in society and our minds. We are responsible for each other and though I cannot change the world, I can change my neighborhood and my community, but most importantly I can change the way I serve and love others.
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Western Oregon University Food Pantry
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? We have an overlooked population of foster children that are in our community and going to college. Our serving and assisting them and their needs may very well be the cause and reason why the next generation succeeds.
Give-Back Story: “Lindsay serves people who are homeless by cooking, delivering, and serving food and volunteering at the Arches shower truck where she also makes sure to have free clothing and food available. She is one huge part of the Kindness Closet. She does this work based on her values of serving and treating fellow human beings with kindness, respect, and dignity, regardless of income level, housing status or any other metric.”
What motivates you to help your community? I began volunteering with the Kindness Closet a few years ago and really got to know some of our neighbors who were struggling. Learning their stories are not so different from my own really impacted me and inspired me to keep looking for ways to make a difference for this often forgotten population in our community.
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Kindness Closet of Salem
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? The Kindness Closet provides meals, clothing, and hygiene items to the homeless in our community, but even more importantly they strive to connect and build relationships with those who are struggling, which is where I’ve seen the biggest impact be made.
Give-Back Story: “Colman is the United Way’s Good360 Program Manager. During Covid, Colman worked tirelessly on food box coordination, pick up and delivery—serving 650 homebound seniors per week for 41 weeks. When the wildfires hit our area, Colman was again the point of contact, picking up and delivering supplies to the Canyon to support the survivors. He also served the most vulnerable during the ice storm with heaters, blankets, and food.”
What motivates you to help your community? What inspires me is the passion I see from my family and my team at United Way to meet any immediate needs, as well as the consistent effort from volunteers who selflessly give their time to reduce waste and benefit others.
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: United Way Good360 Program
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? Our aim is to make each program within United Way self-sustained, and with so much of my time being spent at the warehouse keeping goods moving into the community through the chaos of the last year, there has been little time for fundraising. We are on pace to distribute more goods than ever this year—keeping new products out of the landfill and getting them into the hands of the most vulnerable populations.
Give-Back Story: “Rebecca moved to the Monmouth/Independence area recently and dove right into volunteering at the Ash Creek Arts Center as a board member. Her resourcefulness and creativity especially shone during the pandemic. This past April she singlehandedly prepared over 300 packets of arts activities for Polk County’s FamJam kindergarten round-up. Rebecca is always positive and optimistic and is always there to step up.”
What motivates you to help your community? I like working as part of a team to create positive change. We are better together.
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Ash Creek Arts Center
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? I selected this nonprofit to receive the grant because the ACAC Board believes that access to the arts is an essential cornerstone of a healthy community. The Board is dedicated to ensuring that Polk County area children and adults can participate in quality arts activities regardless of their ability to pay.
Give-Back Story: “Troy is actively involved with his ministry in Mehama, participates in the Santiam Service Integration team and is a leader in the Santiam Canyon wildfire recovery efforts, including the Santiam Shed project. Troy steps up when the community needs him. He has set the example for how faith-based organizations and public agencies can work together to meet the needs of the community.”
What motivates you to help your community? We are called to help those in need, and I find that there is rich blessing in serving my neighbor.
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Joseph’s Storehouse of Hope - Santiam Shed Project
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? I chose this non-profit because the sheds provide for the Canyon Fire Survivors a safe, dry place to store tools and other things as they rebuild their homes and lives. Currently, the Shed Project has set up 50 sheds and more are being requested.
Give-Back Story: “As a small business owner in Keizer, Oregon (All-Staff Graphics), Thomas goes above and beyond on a daily basis for his community and customers. When the devastating fires hit Oregon in 2020, he put together an incredible fundraiser, printing t-shirts and decals that said, “Detroit Strong” and “Oregon Strong” and donated 100% of the profits to support fire victims. His dedication to his community makes a difference, and Keizer is lucky to have him.”
What motivates you to help your community? Keizer's moto pride, spirit, and volunteerism. I take that to heart, and I'm a small business owner that this community took a chance on and supported, and our business and I want to give back as much as I can.
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: McNary Youth Baseball
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? I chose this organization because baseball holds a special place in my heart. I used to coach, umpire, and help as much as I could when my son was growing up. There are a lot of kids that cannot afford to play, and I know that this program tries to give out as many scholarships as possible.
Give-Back Story: “Summer has always been so helpful to our unsheltered, but when Covid and the fires hit, she was always making sure they were safe and fed. She started a nonprofit, Free Fridge Salem, and stocks refrigerators and helps set up small food/clothing pantries with a focus on neighbors helping neighbors.”
What motivates you to help your community? I am inspired to help my community because we are all neighbors, and we could all use help sometimes.
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Latinos Unidos Siempre (LUS)
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? I am choosing LUS because they are courageous leaders in this community and a positive force for the future of Salem and Keizer.
Give-Back Story: “Audri spends just about every waking moment as both a full-time elementary school teacher and as Executive Director of the Miss Marion-Polk Scholarship Program. One of her many jobs in this role is to mentor young women and help them earn college scholarships. The difference that she has made in the lives of the young women that come through the program is amazing.”
What motivates you to help your community? As an educator and lifelong Salem resident, I believe that encouraging our local youth to invest in themselves and their education benefits everyone within our community.
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Miss Marion-Polk County Scholarship Program
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? The Miss Marion-Polk County Scholarship Program not only awards thousands of dollars in scholarships every year, but it offers opportunities for interview practice, public speaking engagements, and community service to young women in Marion and Polk Counties.
Give-Back Story: “Lisa is a phenomenal individual who is so passionate about her community, colleagues and students. In her role with Cascade School District, Lisa has developed CTE programs, advocates with the Santiam Service Integration team, and started a program called Outside Cascade that give students an opportunity to do things they might not have had the chance to do like trips to the beach, skiing, paddle boarding, etc. Her vision is just out of this world.”
What motivates you to help your community? I am inspired by the idea that kids need to be exposed and empowered through education and experiences to learn the tools to create a life on their own terms. We throw around the idea of changing the world...let's start with the kid in front of us who needs a role model and mentor. Action in our local schools and community really can impact a life.
Nonprofit selected to receive $1,000: Cascade Adventure Bike Park, the CAB
Why did you pick this nonprofit organization? The park is 100% built by volunteers who exemplify the true spirit of community.