Since its inception in 1952, the Woodard Family Foundation has made some 3,000 grants totaling nearly $10 million to a wide variety of non-profit organizations. Some of the awards were and continue to be simple donations. But as the Woodard Family Foundation — the eighth oldest in Oregon still in operation — has evolved, so too has its grant making. Today, the board practices strategic, effective, and rewarding philanthropy impacting Cottage Grove and far beyond.
The Woodard Family Foundation selected South Lane Mental Health for its first-ever multi-year financial commitment, and has since awarded the organization seven grants totaling $157,000. This included a critical $50,000 grant in 2008 for the purchase and remodel of a new community mental health services center. Woodard Family Foundation investments have been instrumental in helping South Lane Mental Health leverage and attract other resources; enter into public/private partnerships and collaborations; and increase capacity so it can better meet the community’s mental health needs.
The Woodard Family Foundation regards Cottage Theatre as a key player in enriching the cultural life of Cottage Grove and Lane County. Over the years the Woodard Family Foundation has awarded 42 grants totaling more than $322,000 to Cottage Theatre for everything from constructing the original building to play sponsorship to expansion of facilities and operations. Early Woodard Family Foundation grants were instrumental in leveraging additional funding for Cottage Theatre from outside of the immediate region. Cottage Theatre’s robust cultural offerings and state-of-the-art facility helped Cottage Grove win the National Civic League’s All-American City Award in 2004.
The Foundation strongly supports organizations that help families cope with the emotional and financial stresses of raising infants and children. One such organization, the Family Relief Nursery, has been the recipient of 22 Woodard Family Foundation grants totaling $200,000 since its inception in 1994 in Cottage Grove. Grants have provided seed money for the organization, multi-year capital construction, and general operating support.
The Woodards have been tireless boosters of Cottage Grove’s library dating as far back as the 1940s, when W.A. Woodard and his wife decided to construct the community’s very first dedicated library. Over the years, the Woodards have granted more than $140,000 to the Cottage Grove Library for general operations, technology updates, the purchase of books, and the relocation of the library in 1999/2000. Additionally, the W.A. Woodard Lumber Company and individual Woodard family members have collectively donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Library over the years.
Helping foster expert healthcare for residents of the Cottage Grove area has been one of the Woodard family’s primary interests beginning in the late 1940s, when Walter Woodard took a lead role in the establishment and construction of the city’s first proper hospital. Since then, the Woodard Family Foundation has awarded 47 grants totaling more than $260,000 to Cottage Grove Community Hospital for projects including new facility construction, digital mammography equipment, and furnishings for a compassionate care room.